My pregnancy was an absolute breeze until my 28 week appointment when my OB stopped our typical chit-chat mid sentence with a puzzled look on his face and grabbed my chart. I knew instantly that something wasn’t right. The drive home was a blur. Phrases like “too small,” “not measuring right,” and “less than 10 percent” all danced around in my head.
Shortly after many more tests, Baby C was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which refers to a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because the growth is occurring slower than a normal rate- typically less than 90 percent of other babies at the same gestational point in life. Already, my baby was being compared to everyone else in society.
Over the next few weeks, I walked around feeling guilty that I did something to cause this. I lied when people asked how everything was going. I ate foods that people thought might help, stopped working out, and overall just didn’t trust my body to take care of my baby.
At thirty six weeks and six days, I gave birth a 4 pound, 3 ounce baby boy, and I realized just how much society has to say about anything less than the right way.
My baby was early.
Society said I was too active.
I exclusively pumped because it was just better for us.
Society said I should just relax and he would latch.
My baby needed to eat every 2.5 hours for the first six weeks.
Society said don’t wake him up if he’s sleeping.
My baby was more susceptible to germs than others.
Society said don’t leave the house ever.
The list goes on….
In the nine months since becoming a mom, I’ve learned that society doesn’t know everything, especially when it comes to your body, your pregnancy, and your child. I just wish I knew that when I was pregnant and felt like it was all my fault. Today, my baby is healthy, happy, and hitting all his milestones – on his own time.
Three months after he was born, a blood clot was discovered in my placenta. None of it had been my fault and it’s not yours either. Don’t forget it.