I didn’t know it would feel this way

Sitting with other moms, listening to the births of their children. Discussing how long and lean their kids are. How they are looking more like one parent or the other- growing like one parent or the other. Laughing and fantasizing about if they will be tall like daddy, or short like mommy. Commenting on how chubby their babies are getting.

I didn’t know it would feel like this.

I didn’t know I would revert inside myself. I didn’t know I would want to cry. I didn’t know that I would try to compare the length of their limbs with Addie and notice a 3 inch difference in leg length with a child 3 weeks younger.

I didn’t know the fear that this would bring up in me.

I love my baby girl, and she is perfect just the way she is- but I have to admit, I felt a pang of hurt. I didn’t want to be a part of the conversation. I wish that I could have gotten up and left the park, but I wasn’t angry. Just a little sad. The same sad I feel when someone asks me if she’s 10 or 11 weeks. Sad for the days ahead that will be difficult for her with her peers.

I was going to make a post similar to this, but I didn’t feel brave enough. Now I do. It’s an admission I have to make. Be it raw and unreasonable. This is not something I think about often, just passes through my mind when the topic comes up. It’s a conversation that I could join, I suppose, but I don’t know what to say. She won’t be tall like me, or short like Dave. She will be her own. I am incredibly proud, in a way. She will be Addie, and only Addie. She won’t have my lean (read: not skinny) or Dave’s athletic build. She will be short. Short like Addie. Beautiful like Addie- with a touch of mom and dad.

And so, I present:
Below is a post I wrote a few weeks ago that I feel comfortable sharing now.
Showing you my soul.

I don’t want to think they way I do, and although I’m sure it conveys as disappointment, it’s not. I’m full of awe of my beautiful baby girl. The way her eyes sparkle, her creamy, smooth skin and her amazing hair color- that I matched when getting my highlights done. Her little fingers and feet. Her smile is infectious and the dimples above her lips brings tears to my eyes. The way she turns her head to-and-fro, sticks out her tongue and squints her eyes- I’m sure the laugh is coming any day now!

But, I still wonder.
What would my daughter look like if she were of average height?

How many people just gasped? ‘X’ed out the window and vowed to never read my writing again?

I write of how people should not offend anyone, and here  I am, offending myself.
I’m so ashamed to be wondering this… but hasn’t anyone else felt this way? As an average height parent, baring my soul in each post to the readers following, is it OK to wonder? I feel no need to dwell, but I promised myself I would be honest when writing. I would give people something to read that may not always make them smile, or agree, or want to know- but it’s the truth. My truth.

Addie will hold her head high, no matter who she is more like. She will have passion, drive, creativity, sass and the power of debate that runs though both her father and myself- and she is and always will be our beautiful girl. She will get a bit of each of us, I hope- my fire and Dave’s calm to the storm- as well as my nose, pinkies and ears, and Dave’s lips and dark blue eyes.

There are people of all races, nations, religions, orientations and statures that are beautiful and not, so please do not read this as a fear of her looks. It’s just a wandering thought, not a lingering concern, about who she would take after more.

And with so many concerns, is a little imaginative thought so bad?

…imagine if she got Dave’s nose- now that would be a concern!

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  1. kelli hunter says

    i think its only normal to wonder what she would look like. there is nothing wrong with that and you have no reason to feel ashamed of the thought, or guilt for it, and yes, she will be addie and she will be loved <3 loved by friends and family, and loved by the most amazing parents. she will grow to be the best of both of you, and she will count her blessings every day because of it :)

  2. says

    Chelley, this is beautiful – in a way that all vulnerable truth must be. I can’t speak from experience, of course, but I do whole-heartedly believe there’s no shame in any of what you’re feeling or thinking. And I truly believe people will be grateful to you for this honesty. Sometimes it’s more valuable to others to read about the “tough stuff” than what’s easy. It helps us all feel less alone.

    And what I also want to say (and hope is not offensive) is that when I was telling my mom about the wonderful, amazing Addie, I told her that it somehow felt fitting that you and Dave would have a child who was different. Not different in any negative connotation, but just extra-ordinary. Both because you are extraordinary and because I know you (and suspect Dave) to be such strong, independent, fearless people. Addie is so lucky to have parents who will fight for her, and be there for her, and love her for exactly who she is.

    It’s going to be tough. I’ve watched plenty of parents struggle with their children when they’re a little different (be it behavioral or physical), but what matters is that you are also tough. You’re a remarkable person, and mother, and writer. I don’t have to wonder, not even for a second, that Addie is so incredibly lucky.

    Lots of love to you. xoxoxoxo

  3. John Y says

    Beautiful, raw, but most importantly, SO HONEST. Even though I am an LP parent of an LP son, I’ve had many of the same thoughts at times. More so, because I remember being an LP child watching others grow faster. Just continue to LOVE her and tell her WHAT MAKES HER, HER, is MOST IMPORTANT. Don’t define her only by her size. She is so beautiful. If you get a chance, listen to the song, “The things we’ve handed down”. by Mark Cohn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9KvlZWQzRA&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CkZXbE5uYBHPii1ipYbEGR&index=9&feature=plcp

  4. says

    I think it is absolutely OK to have those thoughts and questions! I am 100% certain that you are not the first, or last parent to wonder. She will be Addie, that is certain. And she will be awesome!

    While our story is different, I have lots of thoughts about Avery’s appearance. I’m adopted and always wanted to have someone who looked like me, since I look NOTHING like my mom and dad. Avery was my first blood relative and I prayed to have a miniature version of me. Well, every day I am told how much she looks “exactly like her daddy” and nothing like me (clearly they are missing her pug nose, crooked, baby carrot fingers, and pale skin…)

    Addie has many of your characteristics, and they will shine through in her personality as well, you’re a great mom, and an honest one. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. says

    Just finished catching up with all your recent posts! I loved the post where you talk about our conversation! I am glad I was able to put your mind at ease! And so I will put your mind at ease again after reading this post.
    First off, all of your feelings are completely normal. Nobody wants to hear that their child will be different or will face some difficulty in their lives. However, with that being said you will learn very quickly that your Addy will be just like every other kid and yes even the kids at the park! Trust me Lyla is 22 months and she does everything other toddlers do! She is amazing!!!!!
    You do not have to be sad…… Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL and I want you to embrace her everyday and take each moment one day at a time.
    Don’t worry about the other moms at the park. You can engage in any conversation and feel proud that you have a beautiful daughter. If you feel like answering questions then answer them if you don’t then don’t. When people ask me how old Lyla is I say she is one! I don’t do months! People everyday are so drawn to her because she is so freakin adorable walking around and I swear to you I only get positive comments! People always stop and stare at her and say how adorable and how beautiful she is! They are always smiling when she walks by them and so far I haven’t had anyone ask me about her in a negative way! And god help them if they did! Lol
    Addy is going to make you a better person
    A stronger woman! You will not sweat the things that really don’t matter and you will never judge anyone. A year from now you will be writing about how you can’t believe you ever felt sad.
    And if you ever need to vent or be sad or even cry you just email me and I will call you and I will listen to your concerns and ease your mind because Lyla is awesome, my life is awesome and everything over here is Amazing!!!!

  6. Laurie says

    every parent has the same fears and thoughts, some differences are physical but some differences in some children are not that apparent, so many parents, so many times feel, if i had just done something differently, if i could change one thing, if i had done one more thing. i remember wishing my sick child could be walking to school, like the other kids, not laying in bed, having to leave her to work, driving by the school, watching the happy children. we all have our moments and addie is beautiful and stong and perfect and she will have her own milestones in her own time as it is with every child and you will feel joy and be proud and everything will be ok. she is stunningly beautiful and that she gets from you.

  7. Veronica Aguirre-Hernandez says

    Your a person, it is completely normal to feel that way. I don’t know how you feel exactly but I CAN tell you that those same thoughts and feelings brewed deep inside me when we found out that there was a possibility that Rozlyn could have dwarfism. Honestly the first thought in my mind was will she be normal? I love her no matter what, but will she be normal? Will she get picked on? Will she ever date? It might sound selfish or irrelevant to some but those are the thoughts I had. I’m not ashamed to say and neither shall you, we are human beings with feelings and want the best for our children! It took a little time to “swallow” the actual truth that my daughter will be different, that there was nothing I could’ve done to prevent it and to stop blaming myself that “IF” only I would’ve done this or that different through the pregnancy. Chelley I don’t know you in person but I see how amazing you speak of Addie and are with her through pictures. 1 in 25,000 Chelley :) EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON :) I live by that because I truly believe it. We were chosen for a reason, I have yet to find out my reason but until I figure that out I will continue loving my baby girl and raise her with the motto that “She can do whatever she wants to do no matter what anybody says” :) :) hugs to all of you from California :)

  8. travel isabella says

    Chel….as always perfectly moving and well written. No one can fault you for feeling or wondering….and have to deal with me and countless others if they try. There is always a what if….you are human….always a what if. I love all my kids….but there are what ifs….when Shayna was sick….what ifs….when,she died…..oh LORD the 18 months of what if insanity that followed. Changing my love and awe of her or her brother or sisters not one bit. What if I was blond?……what if anything hon. the fact remains that she is perfectly uniquely Addie and perfectly and uniquely yours and you have a profound love right there. No guilt…..what if you don’t beat yourself for being human? I like that…..and I love you :)

  9. sara says

    Sweet lady, I can’t say anything that these wonderful, supportive folks who’ve commented before me haven’t already said. Someday we will talk about my sister Stacy in further depth, as after her multiple facial surgeries, my mom had these same feelings. And she felt just the way you do now. You have a lot in common with my mom, and I can say wholeheartedly, that Addie got super lucky to get you guys as parents. I’m glad you bare your soul here, I’m glad for the support you’ve found. xoxo

  10. says

    I love your post Chelley, I remember myself from the time Amelia was Addie’s age and younger. I used to look at other girls and stuff my head with “what if?” questions. Then I realized that the average height does not guarantee even average happiness and success in life. Love, joy, peace of mind. I started taking inventory of my thinking, my mind because I knew that Amelia will take some of it with her. In this crazy world there are no guarantees and no power in assuring that. Amelia’s soul had chosen her body for a reason and I honor and respect that. It is a reminder for me that it is impossible to imagine how our kids will look like, who they are going to be, even with Oliver I don’t do that anymore. We can only hope and pray for a peaceful and safe future and that our kids are wise, have good hearts, and love life. Yesterday at the swimming pool my 5 year old Oliver learned an important lesson. His differently abled friend, smaller in size, already knew how to swim which Ollie struggles with a bit. Now it’s not jus me saying – that being bigger does not mean being better, faster, prettier, etc. He saw it, he lived it.

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