Tell friend’s husband outright about his weight gain comments

The last thing pregnant women need is for bystanders’ scrutiny.

  • Saturday, June 15, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I had a baby six months ago. Because of luck, general good health and diet/exercise, I gained a fairly small amount of weight during pregnancy and shed it pretty quickly afterward.

My friend “Mia” is 18 weeks pregnant with her first baby and has gained substantially more weight than I did, but looks great and apparently is in good health. Our families get together often, and her husband has taken to casually interviewing me about how I stayed in shape through pregnancy.

He is totally transparent — he only asks when Mia is in the room, presumably either to help motivate her or to outright shame her for gaining weight.

I don’t want to be complicit in this. What should I say to Mia’s husband, and do I say it in front of her or privately? I don’t just want him to stop asking ME for advice, I want him to stop shaming her altogether.

— Complicit in Mommy Shaming

O. M. G.

Women have a hard enough time with everyone’s opinion of their pregnancy — or their non-pregnancies, since even the ones who don’t get pregnant are fodder for public judgment — that the last thing they need is for any bystanders to scrutinize their choices.

Especially when choices are only part of it: Everyone’s body is different, responds differently, recovers differently.

So, to husband: “You want my advice? OK: Love Mia for who Mia is. Inside and out.”

And make sure Mia knows you have her back.

And no, he is not being totally transparent. “To help motivate her”? To do what, to resent him eternally? Totally transparent would be: “I’m annoyed that Mia looks fat when I moronically take you as evidence that she doesn’t have to.”

Re: Complicit:

Not a piece of advice, but a slightly different perspective. When I was pregnant, I was spending a lot of time with Europeans. To a person, they complimented me on my weight gain — they all told me how wonderfully large and healthy I looked. The German guys especially.

I finally had to take a couple of them aside and explain gently that while I understood what they were saying and took it as a compliment, it was different in the U.S. and American women rarely like to hear about how large they are, even if it is accompanied by the word “healthy.” It’s better in general, under any circumstances, not to comment on people’s body size.

— “Healthy”

Under any circumstances. Yes, thank you.

Re: Mommy Shaming:

“What worked for me might not work for someone else. I’m sure Mia’s doctor will let her know if she needs to do anything differently.” This doesn’t slap Mr. Insensitive in the face quite as harshly as it’s otherwise tempting to do, and reminds him this is about health and not about beauty standards.

— Reminder

Re: Mommy Shaming:

What’s almost worse, to me, is that my friend’s husband has been noticing and is commenting on MY body.

— Ew!

Yes, ew. See, “under any circumstances,” above.

— Washington Post Writers Group

Talk to us

More in Life

Jeff Barnett, owner of Salish Sea-Boathouse during the soft opening in Edmonds on November 24, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Salish Sea sets sail at second location in Edmonds

In honor of the nearby waterfront, The Boathouse has a decidedly nautical feel — and it’s more of a taproom and brewhouse than its sibling brewpub up the street.

Jacob Akers in his replica Dude sweater from The Big Leboswki on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dude, you’re knitting some bodacious ‘Big Lebowski’ sweaters

Jacob Akers, 29, a Costco shelf stocker, knits cardigans made famous by the 1998 cult classic guy flick.

Bill Howell, a plant pathologist from Prosser, created the Lucy Rose apple variety as a cross between the Honeycrisp and an Airlie Red variety. They are notable for their red centers.(Jennifer Bardsley)
Sweet treats for the holiday season direct from Washington growers

Washington State farmers survived a difficult year. The fruits of their labor deserve admiration.

Roger Fisher pauses while jamming in the garden at his Monroe home.
Monroe resident Roger Fisher reflects on his time with Heart

He was a co-founder of the Seattle group that rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s. He left the band when his romance with Nancy Wilson went south.

This Jewish chef puts a Mexican twist on her latkes

Patti Jinich serves them with a crunchy, citrusy Mexican crema made with fresh squeezed lime juice and zest and finely diced fennel.

The Pacific Ice rink under construction at Port of Everett on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett unveils seasonal ice rink on the waterfront

The outdoor rink will be open through the end of January. The port plans for it to return annually.

The 2022 Mini Cooper is available in two-door or four-door hardtop models. A two-door soft-top convertible model is also offered. (Manufacturer photo)
2022 Mini Cooper reinforces the brand’s reputation for fun

An exterior freshening, new 8.8-inch touchscreen and value-driven Oxford Edition model are highlights.

Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 in Leavenworth, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Jan. 26, 2019, in Leavenworth. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

Baden-Baden: Getting naked with strangers

Relaxing at the spa resort of Baden-Baden in southern Germany’s Black Forest,… Continue reading

Most Read