Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I distinctly remember the day we left my small, south Texas hometown and headed to the big city of Houston, TX.  I was heading off to college at the mere age of 17.  My mom and I drove up with a dear friend from high school, Timmy, with his truck loaded to the top with supplies my mom thought I would need over the next year.  I was overstocked with things I don't even recall using at home as a teen, much less now that I was in college.  After my mom and Timmy left and headed back to Mathis, my mom began calling daily to check on me.  This was before cell phones and before I ever felt the need to own a pager, so I often came back to my dorm room with random messages on my answering machine.  I think she may have been suffering from a bit of empty nest syndrome, but I also think she was genuinely worried about her daughter being so far away from home.  However, her worry always seemed to revolve around food which I never quite understood.  When we did speak, she always asked the question, "What did you eat for lunch/dinner today."  She wanted full details too.  My simple answers never sufficed and I just didn't understand why this was so important to her.  I mean, I was old enough to know when and what I needed to eat, after all.  This question has haunted me since I was 17 years old.  In fact, she still asks me the same dreaded question even though I am 35 years old, married, and with a child of my own, "What are you eating for dinner."  Awhile back, she told me she often woke up in the middle of the night worried about whether or not she fed us enough as kids, were we fulfilled nutritionally throughout our childhood, and had we eaten well that day.  I rolled my eyes (yes, unfortunately a teenage habit I haven't been able to break) and thought she was insane.  Don't we all usually think our moms are at some point or another?

Fast forward to my current life as a mother of a 15 month old.  Here I sit at the dining room table, watching my son eat his dinner - I should probably rephrase that statement to, the dinner he usually refuses to eat - it suddenly hit me!  I, too, am obsessed with Merrick's food intake.  How had I turned into my mom?  I realized when I pick him up from daycare, it is the first thing I look at on his daily chart.  I immediately want to know,  "How much did he eat today?"  "How much milk did he drink?"  I, then, proceed to ask the teachers how much of his lunch did he actually eat and how much was thrown across the table.  At dinner time, when Merrick decides he does not like what has been placed in front of him and he begins pushing his bowl away as if it were plagued with "cooties," I feel the worry and concern bubble inside me.  The anxiety of whether or not he is getting enough nutrition begins to overwhelm me.  I'm obsessed in making sure he only consumes what I have deemed 'appropriate' foods, fresh fruits, no preservative based foods, tons of water rather than juice, and the list can go on and on.  Next week, he is moving up to the big boy, toddler room and they will begin providing his snacks for him instead of us hauling them back and forth each day.   I don't think I've become "THAT" parent yet, but probably well on my way after my list of questions regarding this snack time food intake!  

Now, fast forward to my second pregnancy with Landon.  I've been told that the problems we are experiencing with this pregnancy are due to a placenta dysfunction.  We won't have a specific diagnosis until after Landon is born and they are able to perform a biopsy on the placenta.  It is clear, though, it is not functioning properly in order to provide Landon with the proper nutrition he needs for growth.  For those that don't understand the role of the placenta, it's purpose and function is to act like the lifeline between mother and baby.  The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus.

So, as I sit here on a daily basis waiting for what is to come, I am again overwhelmed with the thought that I am unable to nourish the child that lays inside me.  My one and only purpose right now is to provide him with plenty of nourishment to grow and prepare for the life outside the womb and I'm failing.  This is a situation that is out of my control and I'm unable to fix it.  As a mother, this is probably one of the hardest things to face.  Feeding Merrick is something I can obsess about and usually fix it by making him some macaroni and cheese.  In this situation, it's not that easy of a fix.  I have decided the only real thing I can do is eat and drink as much as I can, in hopes that I will be able to give him just a little bit more nutrition the placenta may not be able to provide.  I'm going to have a ton of work to do to remove the extra weight I will have gained, but if it gives Landon a little more of a fighting chance, so be it.   

After talking to other moms over the past 15 months, it amazes me how it seems natural for us to become obsessed with what goes into the mouths and bellies of our little ones.  It begins from day one.... breastfeeding alone causes so much anxiety among some women, they are unable to produce milk.  We question everything from what to feed them, when to feed them, how to feed them, and on and on and on.  No wonder my mom still asks to this day.  

I can't help but wonder how much more obsessed I will become with making sure my boys are well fed as they grow up.  Knowing I was unable to provide the appropriate nourishment for the first 10 months of Landon's developing life, I may be a slight bit harder on myself.  Who knows, maybe I'll relax and not take it so seriously.  In any case, I get it now more than I ever did before.

I have often thought about Merrick and Landon in college and throughout their adult years, picking up the phone, rolling their eyes because they know I'm calling to find out what they had for dinner, but that's OK - I'm their mom and it's my job!



  1. LOL Marlo, i think every mom can relate to this post!! Well written dear, well written.

    on a side note, don't worry about your placenta, you cant control what is happening and that is when God will step in for you!

  2. Greetings from Boston. Hope you are doing well. You and your family are in my prayers. AWWWWW. I remember that day. I was so tired on the way home your mom offered to drive the rest of the way. She took over the steering wheel in Victoria and replayed the John Michael Montgomery cassette "Lifes a dance you learn as you go" over and over until we got to Mathis. Those were good times. Wishing you all the best dear friend.

    Tim (formerly known as Timmy, Timbo, The Man, The Champ, The Living Legend, Cutie, J/K)!!!!

  3. Stop with the Virgo guilt! You are a LEO now! Repeat after me: Rawr! RAWR!

    Seriously, you are not failing -- it is biology. Failure implies that you have some control; as you said, you do not. This is a systemic malfunction, that is all.

    I am messaging you on Facebook. Check soon!

    Your Doppelganger (except in looks)