Monday, February 9, 2015

3 Things People Should Stop Saying to Small-Framed Women After Childbirth

For the most part, I have pretty thick skin and don't get offended very easily.  But over the last 10 months, I had so many people comment on my body that it made me think about what is being said to small-framed women.  Apparently when you're thin, petite, and short, many folks assume that you are open to discussing your weight.  I understand that most people are trying to offer a compliment but maybe it's time we start choosing our words more carefully.  If these statements bother me, I wonder how much it bothers someone who isn't thick-skinned.

1.  "You're SO tiny!"
First of all, when did "SO tiny" become a compliment?  Maybe you're just confused because I was SO big when I was 9 months pregnant, but this is not complimentary.  Yes, I am 5'0" so that already makes me small, but "tiny"?  The very definition of tiny is "very small or diminutive (extremely or unusually small)".  Tiny is not a positive remark.  While your intentions are good, try finding another word or phrase...a generic "wow, you look great" would suffice.

2.  "Have you already lost all of your baby weight?"
This is probably the phrase I've heard the most.  Maybe it's because of my #losebabyweight on my Facebook posts, but before I got pregnant and it was #goalweight no one was asking me how much weight I had lost....
A friend of mine (who is of a larger frame) and also recently had a baby, witnessed someone asking me this one day...and she was shocked!  Once the person left, my friend and I began discussing the situation and I realized, she had never been asked this question...but why not?  Because it would be rude to ask a heavier-set woman if she had lost her baby weight?  Why is it rude to ask her, but not rude to ask me?
Which leads me to the next comment....

3.  "It must've been easy for you to lose your baby weight!"
Oh I see, because I got back down to my pre-baby size quickly you assume it was easy.  This statement is typically followed by "well, you ate really healthy during your pregnancy, so I'm sure you didn't have much to lose."  First of all, yes I did eat healthy during my pregnancy which does help when it comes to losing baby weight; however, I still gained 45 pounds and left the hospital only 5 pounds lighter.  I had 40 pounds to lose so in response to the statement, "No, it wasn't easy to lose my baby weight but I was dedicated." I counted calories, I worked out, I cut out the soft drinks, sweet snacks, and fast food.  It was hard work.  Just because it came off quickly, doesn't mean it came off easily!

I'm not shy and typically don't even shy away from these statements, but I do think about the women who internalize these comments (or the women who overhear the comments and haven't "lost all your baby weight" and aren't "so tiny").  There is so much pressure on women to "lose the baby weight" quickly after childbirth because our culture is fixated on being thin.  I just ask, that you think about what you're saying and how you're saying it before approaching a new mom.  Everyone's body is different and our bodies go through so much during and after pregnancy.  Some moms are working really hard to lose that baby weight but it just isn't coming off.  Have a little grace :)