My mother has complained bitterly all my life about her own mother's obsession with what the neighbours would think of any given situation. (The answer is usually "They don't. They have their own lives to worry about.") Instead of enabling me to become a devil-may-care type, however, her complaints seem to have installed this same attitude in me. I am my own worst critic. (But we've known this for a long time.)
Clara is still tiny for her age. As of last Friday (at 13 and a half weeks) she was nine pounds, 1.5 ounces. This is off the bottom of the growth curve that the paediatrician uses (and I'm pretty sure she's using the new one that's calibrated for breastfed babies, who tend to be much leaner than formula-fed ones). Even so, Dr. D is very happy with Clara's development, which is right on schedule: she's grabbing at things, she smiles and coos at people, she controls her head better every day, she rolls from her back to her side at will, and so on.
Yesterday I went back to FitMom after the holiday break (which I had confused with the Movies for Mommies holiday break, and assumed was one week longer than it actually was). Two things depressed me a lot.
(a) I've lost a huge amount of ground with my fitness again -- it's like being back in high school gym class and being the biggest sluggard there. I know from so much past experience that it's just a matter of buckling down and exercising three times a week and eating more protein before I'm getting stronger and feeling better again, but sleep deprivation plus shorter days plus having nine pounds of raw need right. there. all. the time. are making it harder for me to convince myself that this really is something I have to do. And all the pep talks in the world from other people don't help.
(b) I'm to the point where I'm embarrassed to tell people how old Clara is, because she's so small and mothering seems to be such a competitive sport. I talked to one woman yesterday whose ten-week-old's slow weight gain had prompted her paediatrician to recommend supplementing with formula. The mother did, and the baby gained more than a pound in a week. Clara gained 13.5oz in the past month.
There are lots of reasons I really don't want to supplement: reduction of my milk supply, changes to Clara's intestines (PDF), messing with the incredibly fine-tuned system that is a nursing mother and child. Plus, she's obviously healthy and developing appropriately; Dr. D. even said that if she stays on the curve she's on now, even if it's below the "official" one, there's no need to worry. (I like Dr. D.)
But good ol' Lizard Brain is shouting at me that People are going to think that I'm a bad mother because my baby is so tiny. I know this is stupid, but I feel this way anyway. Telling myself not to doesn't shut it up.
I've read that parenthood is a whole lot of being faced with things you can't fix and learning how to deal with them anyway. I've spent most of my life fighting my weight and feeling rotten about the bigness of my body; who'd have thought that my first big challenge would be trying to accept my daughter's smallness?