Babies with Alien Heads

Back in the days when my now-14-year-old son was an infant, I was at a holiday gathering for families in a mother’s group I loved.  One of the mothers made a joke about her daughter’s big, giant alien-looking head.  And we laughed — everyone in the group.  The baby’s head did seem unusually big.  (I’m happy to report, 13 years later, her body and her head are now very well matched.)

Perhaps an hour later that same evening, one of the dads made a joking reference about the baby’s alien head.  The mother of the baby didn’t laugh, and as a result, the laughter this time within the group was more subdued.

I think we all (except for the jokster dad) intuited that it was okay for the mom to make fun of her own baby, but it wasn’t okay for anyone else to do that.  And I think we also knew, at some level, that the mom worried about her daughter’s head size and felt some level of vulnerability and shame about it.  Her joke was likely an attempt to get the subject out in the open and then let it disappear quietly so that she didn’t have to address it again.

I think the same is true for references to weight and our bodies:  WE can reference (and even joke about) our excess weight, but if anyone else does, it’s offensive and extremely painful.

That’s why it’s best, if you’re concerned about someone else’s weight, that you hold back any input until they themselves bring up the topic.

That’s your doorway.  And you gotta wait for it.

Even when you have a doorway, it’s cracked.  It’s never wide open.  So proceed with caution.

Even though I have no doubt that you have a strong opinion here and that you have the best of intentions (usually about your loved one’s health), you’re dealing with someone who’s very vulnerable so proceed with EXTREME caution.  Their precious soul is in your hands and they are [thinking about] trusting you.


A yummy blend of story, politics, and personal philosophy.

This blog is not currently active, but it's got some extraordinary content so I keep it going with a very occasional post. It's a series of stories from people who have successfully let go of 40 or more pounds using lots of different approaches. The stories are all here along with my editorials about the threads that run between them (click on the Stories and Tapestry tabs). Enjoy!

Margaret Graham, NCC, CPCC

Photo of Maggie Graham

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