Caroline Stanley has struggled with weight and body image issues throughout her life and the New York mom doesn’t want the same thoughts to plague her daughter.
In the post, written for Refinery29, Stanley speaks candidly about her feelings about her 9-month-old daughter’s body and the comments she’s received from everyone from fellow subway riders to grandmotherly women in the park.
“My daughter has been called mushy, huge, enormous, gigantic, and a chunky monkey, among other things,” Stanley says in the post.
“Some of the people who approach us seem to think that calling her fat is a compliment, like we’re living back in medieval times and our chubby baby is a symbol of our wealth and abundance. More disturbing are the ones who are trying to console me. I can't tell you how many variations I've heard of 'Don't worry. That weight will all fall off of her once she's able to walk.' I even had a woman go as far as to explain that her daughter was once a big baby, but grew up to weigh only 98 pounds. She said it like she was trying to give me hope.”
Stanley writes that she’s often laughed these comments off, but that internally, she’s felt heartbroken.
“How would my daughter feel if she could understand what all of these people were saying? At what point do our body image issues begin?” she writes.
Stanley says she wrote the essay primarily to start a conversation about body-shaming all women. The editor says friends, colleagues, and Refinery29 readers, have reached out to thank her for writing it, confirming that she is not alone in her frustrations.
“Above all, I wanted to get the message across that it's never OK to comment on another person's size — no matter how old they are. It's funny to me that some people find this idea so upsetting. Why do they feel the need to call a stranger's baby chubby?” Stanley told TODAY Parents.
“We live in a society that is so focused on the way women look. If the comments about her body are inevitable, I think she should be completely off-limits as a child. I wrote this because I believe everyone deserves a chance to figure out how they feel about their body without outside commentary. Period.”