‘WEAK’ is a haunted word to me. It’s been overused by people around, to the point of losing its original meaning. Let’s not confuse it with slim. This interchanging of words has become ingrained enough in our psyche as to become a cliché.
I was a lean but active child- fond of butter and paneer. Despite my love for milk products, I did not ever have ‘body fat’ which made me look skinny. My overly lean body was always a matter of discussion among people around. They effortlessly used to question my mother “Kuch khilate nahi kya isko?” (Don’t you feed her anything?) But I never noticed a frown on my mother’s face when someone pointed it out. She welcomed all criticism with a smile and replied politely.
But that was not the case with me. I decided to deal with it not live with it.
For me, it started when I became a mother. Actually, before it. The day I had my last ultrasound just few days before my due date, I was shattered. The baby’s growth progress was a little less in the last 1 month. The doctor who was taking the ultrasound did not even think of the after-effects before using that dreaded word ‘weak’ for our to be child.
My whole world collapsed in the blink of an eye. I cursed myself for not taking proper care of myself. I did not know what to do now. A single word changed the atmosphere and filled our world with the blues. I still remember that day when I cried in the hospital itself and my husband tried to console me. Finally, talking to my sister in law calmed me down, her positive words bringing me back to life. Everything went well and we had our little one in our arms.
This wasn’t the end but the beginning.
He is 19 months old and strong enough to do all activities according to his age, and also has an appropriate appetite. Wherever I go, be it parks or public functions, I have to face it – My mind is now pre-programmed to listen to it often. Even a complete stranger doesn’t demur from saying it. It irks me and makes me wonder – How can one give free advice when it’s not welcomed? Some people try commenting on you or your baby’s weight because they have nothing better to say. A neighbour of mine had this habit of repeating this to me each time she encountered me. I decided not to take her ‘advice’ anymore. When the expected comment came from her, I replied in good humour, but cheekily – “He is not weak but slim.”
I guess she got the message as thankfully, no special observations came from her after that day. I cannot even imagine myself saying anything about one’s child which can dishearten them. After all, who wants to hear a bad word about their loved ones and that too from just an acquaintance?
The moment we meet a stranger, we are ready to give unsolicited advice. Why do we have this habit to show that we know better? You will find lots of elders around always carrying a helpful tip or two. They never hesitate to comment on your mothering style and your kid’s health.
Can’t we say something positive rather than finding the negatives and pointing them out at first glance? I am learning each day and apply my learning wherever necessary because it’s pointless to argue with old-timers. But yes, I never fail to correct the ones whose advice is dripping with sarcasm. I have a choice to be quiet when the other person is a stranger, with the thought that we will not meet again but I don’t want some other mother to get hurt just like me. I’m just making the world a better place for parents by spreading positivity and nipping negativity in the bud.
Upasna is a working Mother who strive to spend as much time as she could with her toddler. A music lover who loves to share her experiences and beliefs which boosted her to start a blog. She is living her dream to settle down in the same city in which she was born and loves to greet people with handmade Greeting Cards. Upasna blogs at Life Through my Bioscope.