Sunday, April 24, 2011

Are We There Yet?

My daughter was born 7 weeks early.  Right from the start I worried incessantly about her development.  Granted, I am a worrier by nature, but after spending my first 15 days as a mother in the NICU,  my anxiety reached a whole new level.  Due to her small birth weight, we were  included in a Neonatal follow-up clinic to track her progress.  In some ways this was a positive experience, but it was also feeding into my paranoia.  The checklists, the questions, the pressure. I understand the reasoning behind tracking a child's milestones, however, I feel like there can be too much emphasis placed on the timing in which they are achieved.  Also, quite frankly, some of them don't hold much merit.  I never crawled, and yet somehow am a functioning member of society.  My daughter was "late" to crawl, according to experts, both medical and self-appointed.  I tried not to worry about it, but it was all anyone asked about once she was about 8 months old.  As the months wore on and my response was still "not yet", the looks of pity I received would stir up a panic inside.  Why was she not crawling?  Was there something wrong with her?  Was I doing something wrong?  Then low and behold, at 11 months she was on the move.  After that I was able to breathe a brief sigh of relief before the next onslaught of pressure and questioning.  Is she pulling herself to stand?  Is she walking?  Many times, these questions were coming from people who weren't parents themselves, just in-the-know about gross motor development.  She began walking, finally, at 14 months and hasn't stopped moving since.  

I remember sitting with my mother in the NICU a few days after Jane was born and her telling me about a dream she had of Jane as a toddler, running around in the kitchen.  I just started to cry when she said this because I felt like it was a dream that I would never see.  This sounds very dramatic, I know this and admit that can over-dramatize, but it can be hard to have perspective when you are clouded with fear.  I wish I could have known then how quickly she would grow, how strong she would become (and perhaps always was), how fast she would run and how high she would jump.  We took our own time and a few extra miles to get there, but we are here now and I wouldn't change a thing.

You'd think that after having this experience I would be a little less stressed about milestones with my second child, born 4 weeks early, and I was....a little.  I still find the anxiety creep in when I am asked about what he's doing or when I compare him to others.  My husband is always telling me that I shouldn't worry about what others are doing, but the comparison is unavoidable with things like Facebook.  Isn't that what Facebook is - a place to show how much better you are doing than your friends?  Regardless, the pressure to compete is there and once again we are not leading the pack.  My son has been slightly ahead of Jane with rolling, sitting up and just started crawling a week shy of being 11 months old.  I must admit, part of me is thrilled that he is crawling, because it is all anyone has been asking me about.  Another part, the wiser, more rational side of myself, is a little bit sad because I know that he is on the fast track to growing up on me.  Being a mother, for me, is a constant struggle between wanting my children to move forward, but also wanting to hold on to them just as they are.  I am trying to be more present with them and celebrate what they are doing and who they are today and not worry so much about pushing them towards tomorrow.  I know that tomorrow will always come and that I will be wishing for yesterday.


  1. Hi sweetie. I'm a new follower sent over by Leah. I read your post. NEVER compare. Your children are just fine!!

    Evey month I write about milestones, and there is SUCH a variation, that there isn't really a normal, except when you aren't walking by say 20 something months old, like my friend's daughter, who JUST started walking on her 2nd birthday. She's still fine now, but needed some physical therapy, and is on the move.

    I walked at like 14.4-15 brother at only 9. TRUST ME, it has zero to do with intelligence, as I can easily prove, lol, and I was in a tutu at only 18 months of age. A few months after learning to walk, I was dancing, with bigger kids, since they didn't have a program for such a young child, and they thought I was so good, which I can't imagine, but I was born in '75, and have certificates from dance school from 1976, so that proves it, lol. I was just lazy, and took my time.

    I was actually thinking twins would move slower, as I have 13 mo. old twin girls. I was praying they would, for dear mom's sake. One was 9 mo & the other 11, when they started. The twin that walked at 11 months, which is still early, didn't bear any weight on her legs for a LONG time. I was worried.

    I forgot the exact age, but it was so easy to compate her to her sister and see things just were not right. She sat up later, and slumped over at the Dr. office at nearly 7 months, and he was concerned, and was sending her for physical therapy for poor muscle tone. Before the apoointment date came for it, she was sitting up and finally bearing weight, just in her own time, is all. She's smart and wonderful now. Nothing wrong with her.

    Children are all very different. Not only should we not compare them to eachother, but to other people's kids in the world. Online or off. It'll make you crazy, and it's not warranted. After all, one day they can not even be standing like my Allie, and the next...stand AND walk in the same day. Some babies never crawl at all either, so no worries.

    I'm glad everybody is thriving. I only had to visit the NICU for 1.5 days. That was enough. It was SO sad to see the babies there:( Mine was just getting her sugars under check, but it's definitely a sad place to be, and I could never work in there, as much as I love babies. I don't have the stomach for it.

    You are a strong lady! Oh and yeah...I'm to feeling the sadness and disbelief that my once little babies are growing up too fast. I look at my 5 year old like..'How did this happen?' It's crazy!


  2. Great to hear from you, Shelly! Thanks so much for your supportive words and encouragement. I know that milestones are varied and have become MUCH better at ignoring the progress of others as a benchmark for my children. When I stop and acknowledge how my daughter has grown, I am reminded that we are doing just fine.

  3. New follower from social moms. I had a 39 wk, 40 wk, and a 34 wk baby. My 34 wk spent 8 days in NICU and it was such a scary , emotional , hard time for me. He is healthy and wonderful, but I find myself comparing him to his older two siblings who seemed to do everything early, and comparing him to others also and worring myself to death . Then I go to the Dr. and she says every child is different and he is FINE. It's hard not to compare. Do stop by and visit my blog Living at the Whitehead's Zoo sometime.