My gorgeous daughter, Diva G, my second child, weighed 9lb 5oz when she was born 10 days after her due date. She arrived healthy and that was all that mattered. Although that’s not what people commented on, they commented on her size, almost without exception. I didn’t like it then but in the newborn fog of hormones I rolled with it.
Today I’ve seen tweeted the story of a baby girl born weighing 14lb 4oz “possibly Britains heaviest baby girl” well won’t she just love that article in her memory box? I then observed a “congratulatory” Facebook status about a new arrival declaring the newborn as “weighing a WHOPPING 8lb 13oz”.
Two and a bit years on from Diva G’s birth and I realise just how hurt and angry comments like these about baby weight made, and still do, make me. As a mother to a baby of above average weight they are hurtful. Inside they upset me and yes I cried. It feels like you’re under attack, people having a dig at your precious newborn baby and that’s not right. As a population are we condemning people to a life of dieting, calorie counting and angst? The newborns of today are still being charted on out of date growth charts created in the 1950’s and managed by the incompetent health visitors of the UK? The majority of babies by their second birthday have settled around the average mark anyway and as long as they are healthy and thriving a newborn babies weight really is of no commentary consequence. Certainly no business of anyones other than the baby’s parents.
A healthy newborn baby is all that matters. Newborn babies are tiny and helpless. No one would dream of commenting on the sex of a newborn or the colour of its skin, sexism and racism in the maternity arena remain as unacceptable as they are in the rest of society. But sizeism, that it appears is an open playing field. Newborn babies are beautiful, precious, gorgeous, cute, delightful, yummy, scrummy and delicious. They should never be referred to as massive, whopping, huge, giant, über, chunky, super-sized, “packing some ounces”, “like a 3 month old” – because they’re not.
I think it can be incredibly hurtful to say such things. They hurt my feelings. They really upset me at the time and when I stop to think about it they still do. I think such things are really very insensitive things to say. What say you?