My little girl measured in the 50th percentile or higher for most of my pregnancy. At our 36 week appointment, my doctor said she measured almost seven pounds. That's big for that age, and big for my size, too. He said we could be looking at a nine-pound baby by the time 40 weeks rolled around. To avoid that, we scheduled an induction at 39 weeks.
So imagine my surprise when I went through that induction just to throw my plan out the window because my birth canal is too narrow to deliver a baby on my own. I was eventually handed a seven-pound, five-ounce bundle of joy after my unplanned C-section. She wasn't as big as we thought she'd be, but she was the perfect size. The same holds true today.
Yet I can't tell you the number of comments we've received while grocery shopping or taking care of errands. People are surprised to see my "tiny" baby waving and happily interacting with them because they always assume she's much younger than she is. When they ask me her age and I say, "She's 10 months old," they're shocked. A lot of times, negative comments will follow. For example, last month I traded size two diapers for size threes at Walmart. The woman at customer service frowned and asked, "Nine months old and only in size three? Mmmm..." It's as if she was saying, "What a shame," or "That's too bad." I told her that my baby weighed almost 18 pounds, but she didn't care. She just told me her granddaughter was a month younger and four pounds heavier. Needless to say, I couldn't wait for that conversation to end.
Please stop making mothers feel bad when their babies don't look like yours, or another baby you love dearly. You might mean no harm with your words- but please consider, and then reconsider, what you're about to say. You could plant seeds of doubt in that mother's mind. You could make her worry unnecessarily. We all know moms are especially good at doing that anyway; we don't need any help in that department.
I should add that some people get this- or are at least mindful of it, and I don't walk around ready to be offended by everyone's comments. Last weekend, I talked to a woman who couldn't have been any nicer. She was the first person to use the word "petite" in a way that didn't feel condescending. Thinking about our conversation and the genuine smile on her face still makes me smile. Thank you, HomeGoods friend!
My best friend is a nurse who told me that, if she were me, she would be more focused on my girl's milestones and less on people's comments about her length. I'll never forget that. As far as milestones go, this baby started playing Patty-Cake at four months old. She's been waving to say hi since she was five months old. At nine months, she began yelling "kit-tah" whenever our cat walked into the room. She's smart and picks up on things quickly. However, you'll seldom hear me brag about her abilities unless I'm chatting with someone about things our kids do. I don't want to worry other moms whose babies aren't doing the same things. Their kids are simply learning and growing at their own pace.
Mom shaming is a very real thing- but I'm curious if most people realize how their comments on a baby's small size can be hurtful to the mom. All I'm asking is that you pause and think about those words before they leave your lips. Are they helpful? Are they going to encourage that mom? If not, keep them to yourself and find something else to say- or just don't say anything at all. No mother needs such negative words floating around in her brain.