When I was first working on the goose girl, the publisher Del Rey had an online workshop. You could post the first chapter of your book and people would read it and give you feedback, and you'd read other people's chapters to return the favor. It was a pretty cool site. I posted my first chapter and along with other feedback, more than one person reacted to the aunt calling newborn baby Ani "my little fat one." They thought it sounded rude that a person would use the word "fat" on a baby. I didn't understand why, but just in case I was missing something I changed the word to "chubby." When I reposted the chapter a few months later, three new people read it and reacted negatively to "chubby." Feeling self-conscious, I cut that line altogether.
Several drafts later, I went, wait a minute. What's wrong with those people? Why can't a baby be fat? Why shouldn't that be a good thing? I love fat babies. Babies should be fat. They're healthy. They're putting on layers of fat to get them through the most amazing growth spurt in human history. Those people are crazy! I put the fat line back in.
Since then I've noticed some mothers reacting defensively if I compliment them on their "fat baby." "What a gorgeously chubby baby!" I exclaim. "Her doctor says she's healthy" or "He's thinning out some" might be the response. I've learned and tried to temper my exclamations. Reluctantly. I'm ashamed of us if we're so paranoid about weight gain that we can't praise fat babies. Thigh rolls and elbow dimples are poetry. Round bellies and padded bums are glorious. Fat babies rock!
I was thinking about this today after posting on twitter/facebook "3rd week in a row the babes have gained half pound each but my weight remains unchanged. PARASITES! LEECHES!" Several people responded with confusion. Was I implying that I actually wanted to gain weight? Um...yes. Of course. I mean, I'm pregnant. With twins. If my babies are gaining weight but my overall weight remains unchanged, then they're leeching the pounds off my fat stores, or possibly muscle and organs. There's a reason women gain weight when we're pregnant. We NEED it. Fat stores are pretty important if you're going to nurse. Muscles and organs, in my experience, are also good. Generally speaking.
Hey, we have issues with weight. Of course obesity isn't a good thing, and the goal as adults should be to maintain a healthy weight (whatever that might be). But we go to such extremes. One day in the supermarket I spotted three separate magazines all offering the same cover story "Jessica Simpson gains ten pounds!" True. The cover story. Journalism! I read recently (rumor, may not be true) that Megan Fox is losing her hair, due to poor nutrition and extreme dieting. Because we expect our celebrities to be crazy thin. Which, like obesity, is not healthy.
I want to stand up for those of us who should be fat. Babies! Preggos! Unite and embrace your size!