by MARY GELLATLY
I have a fat baby. Go back a generation and this fact would be a reason for celebration. A fat baby was considered a healthy baby, a baby who had a bit of padding “to fall back on” in the event of sickness. A fat baby would give his/her mummy cause to breathe a sigh of relief that her little boy/girl was not likely to be sickly or a struggler. Today? Not so much.
My baby is “obese” in the words of one. “A monster!” proclaimed another. “He likes his tucker” comments the 3563rd complete stranger in the supermarket, whilst critically eyeing his older brother and sister to assess whether I have a propensity to overfeed my children.
I have read articles about our society’s obsession with cookie-cutter body shapes and our photoshop-skewed notions of beauty. As a person whose BMI has been grazing the upper limits of normal for most of my adult life, I can relate. I will never look like Kate Moss. Or Miranda Kerr. I’m not even curvy in the voluptuous, retro-50’s kinda way. Just big.
In fact, I vaguely suspect that Trinny and Susannah would describe my body shape as a “Brick”. Noice. Even they couldn’t come up with something a little more flattering than that.
Anyway, I digress. This article isn’t about me – I’m a big girl (pun intended) and I can live with that, so back to babies. Last week, pottering about on Mamamia, I read a post about the birth of not-so-little American baby Asher Stewardson who came out of his mother and hit the scales at 14 pounds (6.5kg). My heart went out to his mummy straight away. Not because of the birth itself (well also that – he was born vaginally and without an epidural – ouch), but because of what is yet to come.
Babies on the whole seem to be viewed as common property. Once you have children, you find that the world is a much more talkative, friendly place and that can be very nice. You have conversations with complete strangers that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy and like part of a big community group hug. It’s nice. Or it can be. Suddenly though, when the baby isn’t quite your cut-out gingerbread baby, all this community can turn a little… intrusive.