Did You Seriously Comment on My Baby’s Body at 6 Weeks Old?

Well, loyal readers – if there are any of you left after my lengthy silence – I’m back on the blogging bandwagon as much as I can be with a baby in my lap. I took a break at the end of my pregnancy because I was working full time plus doing a copywriting job for some extra cash, and I just didn’t have the energy or focus to keep this up. Now, as a new parent, I find I have so many things to say about my experience parenting so far that I might as well come back here and talk about it. I realized that I tried to dispel many rumors about the “happily ever after” of marriage when Tim and I tied the knot four years ago, and that was fun, so why not do the same with parenting? I hope you’ll all stay along for the ride.

Already, I have posts planned about natural childbirth (I didn’t have one), breastfeeding (I’m not doing it), co-sleeping (I’m not doing that, either), everyone else’s parenting advice (that I’m not taking), working parenthood (I go back on February 2), and a whole host of posts about being a feminist and raising a girl. I’m sure that last bit will provide endless fodder for this blog for at least the next 20 years. This might seem like a teaser, but I’m mostly writing these things here to hold myself accountable.

Oh! And I want to tell you about how and why we came up with her name. It’s a beautiful story, and I have to wait until I stop crying every time I talk about it to type it out. It might be a while.

Today’s post is about raising a girl and body image. It starts early if you leave it up to the rest of the world, apparently.

But first, an introduction. As you can see from the picture above, I have the sweetest, most beautiful baby girl in the world. I’m not biased; this is objectively true. I mean, just look at her! She arrived 10 days late; after 38 hours of induced labor, she was wrenched from my insides via a c-section. I may be speaking too soon, but we pretty much hit the baby jackpot here. She’s totally chill and cuddly and she seems happy, though that might be impossible to tell at this point since she only JUST started smiling and I’m not entirely sure the smiling is associated with any kind of emotion just yet.

She may be perfect, but that’s not to say that the beginnings of motherhood weren’t incredibly trying. From the start, she has been a bad eater. As in, she doesn’t eat much. She also didn’t cry when she was hungry for the first few weeks of her life. This, among other feeding issues left us with a situation where she wasn’t gaining nearly enough weight. She was tiny and remaining that way. After a lot of work and a few changes, she started eating and gaining weight like a pro. We were so happy.

Over the holidays, we saw some people who hadn’t seen her since the first week or two of her life. At six weeks old, she was significantly bigger than she was at two weeks old (which, you might imagine, is completely NORMAL for a baby, and is a fact we were incredibly happy about considering the previous issues we were having). One of these people – I won’t mention names or specific relationships – told me we’d have to get her on Jenny Craig formula if her weight gain kept going the way it did.

Um. No. Just… No. I don’t care if she can’t understand what you’re saying right now. I don’t care if you’re only joking. I don’t care if you hold archaic beliefs about how women should look and act in regards to food. I. Do. Not. Care. You don’t get to joke about my daughter’s weight. Ever. She’s going to have enough trouble navigating her body image in this world without hearing it from the people in her life, too.

And can we just say that, if she were a boy, this particular person would have most definitely been talking about how much of a “bruiser” he was and how big and strong he was becoming? I am 100% positive this is true.

I told him this was a completely inappropriate thing to say and asked him to leave the room – he had come in while I was changing her diaper in private just to tell me this. I’m already thinking of better retorts for next time.

This is when she was six weeks old. SIX. WEEKS. OLD.

Clearly, I have my work cut out for me.

6 thoughts on “Did You Seriously Comment on My Baby’s Body at 6 Weeks Old?

  1. Yup…goes with the territory. I think your response was perfect. State that it is inappropriate. I warned my family early on and have had to repeat it a few times that we do NOT comment on Ella’s body in terms of weight. She is strong, not fat/skinny. Good luck! And welcome back.

    • Ashley on

      Tim and I are hoping that, as long as we counter it immediately, vocally, and in front of her, the words will have less impact. I don’t think we can stop it entirely, unfortunately.

  2. Becky on

    It is very hard to raise a girl and handle the issue of body weight. After my second child, my husband lost his job, and we went through a hard period of life, and I didn’t lose all of my baby weight for a long time. So, I was working this last year on losing the rest of it. As I was dieting and trying to lose weight to be healthy and feel better about myself, my 5 year old daughter watched it all. She already thinks skinny is “good” and fat is “bad”…which is expounded by my responses when my kids say someone is fat and I correct them and ask them not to say that because it isn’t “nice” (basically because I don’t want my kids walking around calling people fat!). And all of this was caused by ME…not someone making ridiculous comments at a party. I am interested in reading more about your experiences because I have definitely not got this one figured out yet!!!

    • Ashley on

      Ugh- that is another battle I don’t look forward to facing. I want to frame my activities like what food I choose to eat and my workouts as healthy rather than weight-loss/control motivated, but that is most definitely going to be HARD!