I wish I remember where I first saw the phrase “falling into the pit of comparison” but I love it, for many reasons.
Truthfully, it’s almost more of a swirling vortex of quicksand, doom, and depression rather than simply a “pit”, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, nor does it flow off the tongue as easily.
The Pit of Comparison doesn’t only apply to our babies, or our view of ourselves as mothers, but for this blog I’m going to focus on those two genres/topics because this is supposed to be a mommy blog after all.
I am well acquainted with the deep, dark, scary pit and I’ve lived in or around it for most of my life. It came as no surprise when I started slipping further and further into said pit once my son was born; especially since he was born 11 weeks early.
When you are pregnant, it’s so easy to compare your pregnancy to other pregnant women.
I don’t mean simply “I have had awful morning sickness! Have you? What have you done to help it because I can’t even make it to work without pulling over to get sick!?”
Seeing advice isn’t the same as comparing.
I mean moreso the internal comparisons where you’re not looking for advice, you’re just comparing for comparison’s sake. That’s where the Pit tends to swirl the worst.
I’ve been eating well but I’ve already gained 15 pounds but she hasn’t gained anything. Is my baby going to be healthy? Is there something wrong with me? I don’t even look pregnant I just look fat. She’s not even as far along as I am but she has the perfect baby bump. What’s wrong with me?
That is where you call into the Pit. Those thoughts are what pull you down and suck you in.
It’s easier said than done, but remember that every woman’s body is different, so every woman’s pregnancy will look different. Heck, even your pregnancies won’t be the same! You can get pregnant 4 times and have 4 completely different experiences, and that’s totally normal!
If you ever feel like something is truly wrong, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor, but don’t stew in the Pit and drown yourself in wonder and comparison.
Seek answers, seek advice. Don’t stew.
Keep in mind that different doesn’t mean wrong.
Pregnancies, birthing experiences, babies, life…it’s all different for everyone, and there’s no right or wrong answer (for the most part).
Kaden has a cousin two months older, and a cousin two months younger. Developmentally, he’s closer to the younger cousin because their due dates were literally 4 days apart.
Still, his younger cousin has hit come milestones that he still hasn’t.
Enter the Pit of Comparison opening up to swallow me whole.
Kaden is not taking to solids very well. Several of his teachers at daycare have asked about when he will start eating solids, because they usually start solids at 6 months old, and Kaden is now 7 months.
His younger cousin has a tooth, and while Kaden has been acting like he’s teething for the last couple of months, I can’t feel a single tooth in his little mouth. It makes me feel like I’m going crazy or projecting my desire for him to be “on par” with his cousin, that I’m just tricking myself into seeing the signs of teething when he’s really just gassy or tired.
So that’s what, two things that he’s “behind” on?
I say “behind” with quotes because is he really behind or am I just comparing him to one other baby? (Hint: it’s the latter)
Kaden’s actual age is a little over 7 months, but his adjusted age is just shy of 5 months. Solids are considered a complementary food; secondary to breast milk or formula. Babies get their nutrients primarily from breast milk and/or formula, so the solids are really more just to introduce the concept to the baby for when they’re old enough to start getting their nutrients from solid food.
He is still growing, still gaining weight, still doing well. Some full term babies don’t take to solid foods until later on, and that’s okay. Kaden was almost 3 months premature, so of course he’s going to be “behind”.
It’s still a good idea to bring it up with your pediatrician just to make sure there’s not an underlying problem, but preemie’s run on a different schedule than term babies do. Also, like I said, even some term babies don’t like solids very well! It’s a different texture, a different taste, a different way of eating than from a bottle or breast.
Regarding teething, the average is between 4 and 6 months, with some babies starting earlier and some later. That information is for term babies. For preemie babies, you can’t always follow their actual age, and have to go by their adjusted age. Even then, they may seem “behind”, but it’s okay!
I’ve had friends tell me their babies didn’t start actually cutting teeth until they were 11 months, whereas my niece was 4 months when her first tooth started popping through.
Celebrate the milestones and differences, don’t compare them.
It’s so easy to focus on the differences in a negative way, but really we should be celebrating those differences and rejoicing with every milestone achieved.
No, Kaden isn’t eating baby food successfully yet and no, he doesn’t have any teeth yet.
However, he is almost able to sit up unsupported, he can roll across the living room, he babbles at me, he has discovered his feet, he can support his weight on his legs and loves holding my hands so he can stand up, and he will be crawling any day now.
He has checked off so many milestones, but I tend to forget about them and focus on what he can’t do yet as opposed to what he can. Why?
Why do we focus on the deficits and overlook the accomplishments?
When you feel the pull of the dreaded Pit of Comparison, remember that different is not bad. Remember that you and your baby work at your own pace, and if your pediatrician isn’t’ concerned, you shouldn’t be either.
Don’t rush your baby, because before you know it, you’ll miss these days.
It sounds crazy, even to me. I can’t imagine missing the days where he screams and cries for a hour, then passes out and sleeps for three hours. As my son is eating me out of house and home, I will look back and will miss the days where I have to try and sneak in a couple of bites of mushy green beans between bottles. When I’m paying for braces and cavity fillings, I’ll miss when he was all gums.
Enjoy the moment, embrace your differences, and love the journey.