I was recently talking with a friend who has a very chubby baby. She was telling me about how all the comments are starting to hurt her feelings. As a mom of 3 chunkers, I tried to comfort her and tell her that her beautiful daughter would grow out of it, and that people really have no idea that they are hurting your feelings. For whatever reason, people think they can say anything about a baby and it is ok.
It is not ok. That baby may not be able to understand what you are saying. But she has a mother who understands, and it hurts. Moms do not want to hear that their baby is fat, even if you follow it with "I think fat babies are so cute." In fact, moms also do want want to hear about how skinny their baby is either. I have also had many friends tell me how hurtful it is to hear people talk about how small your child is and then ask you if you are feeding him or her. Either way comments on fat or thin babies usually translate like this to the mom, "You're kid is ugly, and you are responsible for making him or her that way."
You should seriously never say anything about anyone else's baby except "she is beautiful" or "He is so handsome". Feel free to substitute cute, precious, adorable, there too.
Trust me, I am well aware of the chunkiness of my baby and so is every other mom out there. For the most part, I have learned to let it go and not worry about it, but there are times when one too many comments have me googling "my baby is overweight" and "my baby eats too much". Sad, but true.
This whole conversation got me thinking about my life here and the fact that I get called fat almost everyday by the PNG people. Again, most days I let it go and realize that to most of them I am very fat. But there are those days when I want to answer them with a "Fine! I will go back to America where they have lettuce and 24 gyms, and you can stay here and go to hell. Literally."
But then I calm down and realize that I am not here to be told I am beautiful or wonderful or any of those things that dangerously feed the sins of pride and vanity. I am here to help bring the Good News to people who people who only know bad news and worse news, and at best mediocre news.
And, if I am being honest with myself this is probably one of the things the Lord uses to keep missionaries humble. Most of the time in our home countries we are showered with an array of compliments and are frequently told how awesome we are for what we are doing. So, I think it is good that when we are here in this unfamiliar culture that we feel awkward, out of place, incompetent, ignorant, and maybe even fat.
God wants us to remember that we are not as awesome as we think we are. He wants us to remember that we are not awesome at all apart from Him. We recently taught our kids this memory verse, and I think it is has probably helped me more than them:
"Don't be selfish. Don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." Philipians 2:3
I have to say this verse to myself on a daily basis...frequently followed by "even when they call you fat."