At the 32 week growth scan, the girls are weighing in at 4.1 and 4.2 lbs and ounces. The ultrasound technicians figure this out by doing a growth scan ultrasound, which means I lay on my back like a bloated wood tick for an hour and watch them sonically measure a plethora of arms, legs, heads, and stomachs. It’s amazing, and also slightly confusing that there’s that much going on just centimeters beneath the surface of my skin.
After she got the reports, my doctor literally gave me a high five, and I celebrated with a Dairy Queen chocolate malt. (After all, it only makes sense to commemorate weight gain with more weight gain.)
I never thought I’d be so excited to hear that my girls were basically the same combined weight that I carried at almost 42 weeks during my first pregnancy. But the whole goal of this pregnancy has been to grow healthy babies. Babies with fully developed lungs. Babies that won’t have to spend any time in the NICU, Lord willing. Babies that can come home with us as soon as they possibly can.
For better or for worse, I have not spent any time dreaming about what these girls will accomplish in their lives just yet. I haven’t lived out scenarios of them graduating from Harvard or climbing Kilimanjaro. Instead, I’ve prayed for them to be chubby, and pink, and healthy.
This is probably not what most mothers dream for their daughters.
But then I start to wonder, why not? With all the social pressures that my daughters will face regarding their appearance, I ought to be unloading dump trucks full of prayers for them to be healthy. Live healthy. Understand healthy.
I’m not talking about being fitness obsessed, or so diet-focused that they have a meltdown if they decide to eat a funnel cake.
I’m talking about teaching them to love the amazing varieties of good food we’re so blessed to have access to. About having energy to play and dance to the whimsical songs in their heads. About knowing that no matter what they look like, what they are wearing, how many mosquito bites or pimples or wrinkles they have, they will always be solidly, deeply LOVED.
This morning I listened to a radio blurb on how parents who talk about health instead of appearance tend to raise children who focus on the same thing. This sparked my memory to a really great blog post I read a few years back, titled “How to talk to little girls” by Lisa Bloom. It’s short, and if you ever plan to interact with little girls, please take a minute and read it.
(PS – Anyone coming to our house for dinner is more than welcome to try this with Ellis – as long as you’re ready to read the book Yummy Yucky at least twice.)
Sometimes, the actual work of parenting seems a long way off, and I’m a big believer in being present. So I’m choosing not to worry about it. But I’m no fool – raising three girls is going to be a challenge. It will be one of the most fulfilling things Jason and I do with our lives, and one of the hardest.
But I’m starting to think what might make a sustainable, lasting impact is keeping up with my goal to raise my girls to be healthy.
To be individuals who do not focus solely on themselves, so that they have the time and energy to focus instead on the people and the world around them.
To eat ice cream and kale with equal gusto, because health is a fine balance between enjoyment and good choices, self love and self care.