While not everyone can agree that babies are beautiful, most of us can agree that it would be messed up to fat-shame a baby.
Unfortunately, people still do it, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, and sometimes it’s by their own parents.
Redditor haianwisbebsh decided enough was enough when his wife kept giving their baby “endearing” nicknames that centered around her size and weight.
But when his wife didn’t take the feedback well, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he overreacted.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my plus-sized wife she is fat-phobic and to stop calling our baby fat?”
The OP was worried about how his wife looked at their baby daughter.
“My wife and I had our daughter 10 months ago.”
“To be honest our daughter is pretty large for her age. She’s a very big and healthy baby and we love her very much.”
“But I feel like my wife is already obsessed with her weight.”
“She keeps calling our daughter ‘chunky girl’ or ‘Ms. Piggy.’ She says they’re ‘endearing’ nicknames, and all her side of the family also calls her this.”
The OP’s feelings became more conflicted over time.
“It honestly confuses me why she points out our daughter’s weight so much because she is also plus-size.”
“When we met my wife, she was what people call mid-size and very curvy, but she gained a lot of ‘relationship weight’ when we got together which I didn’t mind.”
“But recently I’ve been reading some parenting books about how much children absorb at this age and the names have started to bother me.”
The OP confronted his wife.
“Last night I finally got the courage after my wife called our daughter ‘fatty patty’ for the first time.”
“I told her to stop calling her fat because it’s going to hurt her self-esteem when she’s older.”
“My wife looked shocked and told me there is nothing wrong with being fat.”
“I agreed but completely disagree that calling our daughter fat, even in an ‘endearing’ way, will not teach her it’s ok to be fat.”
“We argued about it until we got loud enough to upset our daughter who then began crying.”
“She took the baby in another room and came back to tell me I was ridiculous.”
“I then told her that her actions are fat-phobic and her obsession with our daughter’s weight is unhealthy for her and our baby.”
“This upset her immensely and she went to bed.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP that nicknames were incredibly powerful.
“My sister called me fatty all the time since I could remember. I have had anorexia since I was 18.”
“There are more factors to developing an eating disorder but bad body image is one of them. For the record, I was tall and lanky.” – Natfreerider
“Dude, I dealt with the ‘it’s just joking’ s**t since I was fucking BORN. it completely destroyed my self-esteem before I had a chance to even develop any.”
“Growing up I let everyone walk all over me in every aspect of life because my feelings were constantly invalidated if I ever dared get the slightest bit upset. These days anyone tries to pull that s**t, I go OFF.” – Venjy
“I was a stick as a child and was called ‘Skinny Minnie’ regularly, amongst other names.”
“Naturally, your weight changes as you get older, so being called weight-specific names really f**ks with your body image, especially when you don’t have the same physique as you did when you were a child.”
“OP is absolutely right to nip it in the bud. NTA .” – The5am1am
Others suggested how the OP might talk about this in a new way.
“Questioning her might illustrate the OP’s point:”
“How would it make you feel if I called you that?”
“How would a stranger feel if you called them that?”
“How would you feel if a stranger called you that?”
“NTA. She’s already started a lifetime cycle of abuse, but it’s not too late to stop it.” – Bulls**t_Conduit
“Kids are mean. And they are mean to not only to others but also themselves.”
“I love healthy babies and bodies!”
“I just wish I did not look at myself in the mirror and hate myself so for so long when I was a child.”
“I wish today, I didn’t question whether or not I have a headache because I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch because I am so used to policing my eating.”
“This isn’t about how the parents/grandparents feel about the words they say. It’s about realizing how awful it feels to be bullied and the life long-lasting effects of childhood bullying that can be caused by words that are lovable/innocuous to them that can be eviscerating, life long wounds in their offspring.” – anna-bannanas
“It doesn’t seem that he’s upset his baby is fat. Like it’s been stated a fat baby is a healthy baby. It’s that the baby’s being called derogatory nicknames pointing out her weight.”
“My niece is only 9 and has started showing anorexic behaviors because her parents have given her ‘cute and endearing’ nicknames surrounding her weight her whole life. There are better ways of showing body/fat positivity without constantly pointing out the child’s weight.”
“A good example of showing positivity around larger body types would be the husband complimenting the wife’s in front of the child (not in a gross way though).”
“The more you point out someone’s body the more they get conscious about it.” – ShamelessStatue
While the OP was conflicted about how he handled the situation with his wife and daughter, the subReddit agreed that it was a good thing for him to bring up and discuss.
His wife and extended family may genuinely mean what they’re saying in an endearing way, but that does not mean that is what is being communicated.
The couple should absolutely discuss what message they want to give their daughter and decide how best to deliver it in the future.