Currently, according to the vegetable scale someone fashioned, my baby is corn-sized. In truth, I think that this baby-veggie-measuring system is slightly silly (1. Who wants to compare their child to a vegetable? 2. We pump so many GMOs into our crops- is there even an average size any more?), but it’s a useful comparison when trying to fathom how much of the belly is the corn baby, and how much is the massive bowl of Corn Flakes I ate for lunch.
As far as my corn baby goes, I was able to see him last week at an ultrasound. I’ve seen him before- the usual mess of shadows and flailing limbs- and each time my heart melts. This time, the baby graced us by looking into the “camera”, allowing my technician to capture a photo of his face for me. She took a couple shadowy pictures, and then switched to the 3D ultrasound to take some. The result was incredible- we could actually see the baby’s face and how it was forming! Yes, its features were not yet tuned up, but we could already notice some of the details.
So now, is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
I received a printout of my 3D picture and showed it to my working mother later in the day, who showed it to a passing coworker. The coworker took a quick glance and informed me, “That baby is fat. I mean, no offense, but that’s one big baby!”
Thank you, lady. I know we all love fat babies, but I wasn’t aware we could make the fat call in the womb.
She probably meant nothing harmful, but that evening, when I showed the picture to my husband, he studied it for a few seconds and said, “Um, our baby kind of looks like Voldemort.”
I snatched the picture away with a Hmmpph. Maternal instincts kicking in, I was offended. I thought my baby was cute! His ultrasound picture…. okay, it’s a little terrifying. But he’s only 5 months old, cut him some slack! It really bothered me that people were already making comments about how my baby looked- as if he wouldn’t be scrutinized for the rest of his life by the “Beauty Culture” our society embraces.
Despite my annoyance, body image is something I spend a lot of time wrestling with myself with, and I often wonder how this will translate to my children. Would I feel differently about my baby if I knew exactly what he would look like? Would I be disappointed in his traits, or proud of them? How does this attitude affect how I treat my baby when he comes out, or how he treats himself?
Right now, I am excited for him no matter what he will look like, and even a creepy-looking picture of him couldn’t extinguish my enthusiasm. He doesn’t have to be photogenic all the time!