This text comes from the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s family newsletter, which is sent out every Friday evening. You can subscribe here.
Anyone who has their first child constantly does things that would have seemed at least strange before: they rave about wool and silk bodies, know the difference between molleton and cheesecloth – and suddenly find themselves writing a birth card. With the latter, I wondered why so many of them said how big and heavy the newborn was. I always have to think a bit about my old quartet of cars: year of manufacture, performance, speed.
Sure, weight plays a big role, especially in the first few months – for doctors and midwives (and therefore of course also for parents). But for everyone else? Now many will say: just do it like that. But I would have found it strange if one of the first things friends found out about my daughter was how much she weighed.
Maybe the issue of weight concerns me because I never thought it would take up so much space now, even though she’s less than four months old. It’s surprisingly often commented on, even by strangers: He really likes it! Such a bundle of joy! And you know it yourself: a saying like that slips out quickly, even if a baby supposedly looks too small or thin.
Of course, this reflects the fact that we live in a “weight-fixated society”. This is how psychotherapist Anja Hilbert put it in this interview, which is worth reading – including tips on how parents can talk about it with their children. This in turn also depends on how you feel about your own body. My colleague Barbara Vorsamer spoke to three mothers about this.
As with all social ideals, in the end it always comes down to expectations: your own and those of others. What does that mean in extreme cases? Our Turkey correspondent Raphael Geiger accompanied men who want to surpass themselves in the truest sense of the word. In return, they endure horrendous pain. One had his legs broken and now turns the screw in his thigh four times a day. I had to stop and read some sentences two or three times during the story because what was described sounded so unbelievable. I can only recommend reading this special text.
I hope that my wife and I will be able to instill healthy self-esteem in our daughter. And that we can talk openly about things like weight and size. Do you have any tips for this? I would be happy if you wrote to me.
Wish you a nice weekend