I have been struggling lately, more than usual. The transition from daughter, sister, wife and friend to daughter, sister, wife, friend and MOM has not been easy. It seemed to go alright with the dramatic beginning and I gained confidence in myself as a mom in the NICU. As Xander is growing and having less complicating issues to focus on I have had time to think about other things and lost some of that self-confidence. We aren’t in complete survival mode anymore and things are catching up with me now.
The biggest indicator was my weight. I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight just a couple of weeks after Xander was born. Towards the end of the three months in the NICU after living at the hospital, less than adequate sleep due to pumping around the clock and other reasonable stress from having a baby 3 months early I was up 30 lbs. No biggie, I’ve done the weight loss thing before right? I couldn’t start right away obviously because I was still pumping and I couldn’t deny the little man any nutrients he needed. I did watch what I ate so I wasn’t gaining more at least. For over a year I lost and gained the same 10 lbs I don’t know how many times. And then I couldn’t help myself; food became my comfort and the weight continued to rise. I went to a nutritionist for help and ideas. That was just confirmation that I know all of the things to do to eat healthy and lose weight but there is something else prohibiting that from happening. Now I am going to counseling to figure it out. (Yay for progress and self-care)
One thing that came as a shock is when my therapist mentioned it seemed to her that I feel like I’m a bad mom when I can’t get Xander to eat. In my mind I went into denial over that comment, he eats, but it started me thinking. His weight has been such an issue from the beginning with the IUGR and it’s hard not to obsess over. I get so stressed out on days that he won’t eat anything because I feel big pressure to get him to eat so he can grow. Maybe I am overeating to compensate for his under-eating. I don’t know what influence his prematurity or IUGR play into his slow growth. Perhaps his body is programmed differently from his slow growth in the womb and he doesn’t need as many calories as the average person to grow. When he was little he never ate over 4 oz at a time and usually only about 3 plus he had reflux and puked a lot but he still grew on that seemingly small amount. Within an IUGR board I am on, his growth seems normal for an IUGR kid. But in real life I don’t know of any IUGR kids and only have normal kids and growth charts to compare to.
At 2 years old Xander is still in mostly 12 month clothing and gradually moving up to 18 months lately, mostly for length. Some days I like using that as a “wow” factor, but most days I am just wondering why I can’t get him to eat and grow like a normal kid? How long are we going to be in this clothing size? Are his clothes too babyish for his age now? What size is he going to be next year for this season so I can get some good deals off the clearance racks? Where do we find 12 month size underwear if he starts potty training? Would his pants even stay up without a diaper? What is wrong with me?
The answer is: Nothing. I am doing my best, and Xander is growing despite his lack of eating some days. He doesn’t have to be like other kids, he has forged his own path from the beginning. He is perfect the way he is. His pediatrician has been happy with his weight lately but I still haven’t been able to breath that big sigh of relief.
I need to work on removing that invisible pressure and remind myself that he is ok and to let it go. I have been able to let go of the anxiety over some other issues related to his premature birth such as lungs/breathing and his eyes, but the weight and growth is a challenge.
Issues from a premature birth aren’t anyone’s fault. Taking on a burden of blame can lead you astray of the parent you want to be and less able to enjoy just watching your child grow and develop as themselves.
I will be posting more about my personal struggles in dealing with raising an IUGR Micropreemie rather than just updates on Xander. This blog was meant to be an outlet for me to deal and heal 🙂 Parenting is different for everyone and this is my story.
I have a lot of pesky mosquitos distracting me from watching my beautiful butterfly right now but will shoo them away and squash them down one by one so I can once again enjoy watching my butterfly fly.