It all started there. It was around 15 days after my c-section. A relative who had come to visit us, on seeing my baby exclaimed ”Oh! why is your baby so thin?”. Being a first time mom, I was taken aback and dumbstruck. With all my sleepless nights and surge in hormones, I just wanted to scream “Don’t you dare comment on my baby”. But, I just smiled uncomfortably.
When my son was around one year old, I met one of my friends. The moment she saw him, she remarked “Your son doesn’t eat anything or what, why is he so thin?”. I started explaining her that he is taller than other kids of his age and has healthy weight despite his thin looks, etc, etc.
Again, when he was around 1.5 years old, we met with a fellow mother at the play area. After chatting for a while, there came again “He is so thin and he needs to put on weight?”. Again here, I started explaining her that we had consulted our paediatrician and the weight gain is good and growth chart is perfect as well, etc, etc.
It went on and on.. Every now and then, I was bombarded with these questions followed by random tips and suggestions. “He is so weak!”, “You should show your son to your doctor”, “He is so tiny”. I was infuriated by these constant questions about my child’s growth and which was none of their business. I was tired of being made to feel as though I was not feeding my child properly.
I took a step back, gave it a deep thought and here are my realisations.
- These people who offer unsolicited advice and comments are neither nutrition experts nor dieticians.. The only person who can ‘sensibly’ talk and discuss about my son’s weight and health is our doctor and not just random people whom I seldom meet in my life.
- There is no point in explaining them about my son’s growth and physique. Such questions from these naysayers will be never ending. And, the best response is to ignore.
- People who are genuinely interested in my son’s well being will not make such ’unkind’ comments on his appearance. Especially in front of him, who would be innocently smiling at them while he is being commented on.
- There is no necessity that I should discuss my son’s medical history, weight gain, growth etc. with someone who doesn’t even know his name.
- It is better to stay away from people who make appearance based comments and fail to focus on character and accomplishments.
- Rather than explaining the world, I would educate my son to accept and embrace himself for what he is and IGNORE others comment.
To all the mommies whose kids are being labelled either ‘thin’ or ‘fat’ - these naysayers and commenters are not worth your thought, time and energy. But, if they cross their limits, be straightforward. Look into their eyes and say “My son is perfect and healthy.. I would appreciate if you stop commenting. Thanks!”. Do not waste your time thinking about clever comebacks.
The responsibility of a mother is to help the child build healthy habits - eat, play and sleep. And, The most precious gift to our next generation of children is to teach them not to hurt or bully others.
“Lean is not weak and fat is not obese”. As long as the baby is happy, alert, and active he is a healthy baby. Ignore the rest.