In comments on the Fat People are Big Fat Liars post, an interesting side discussion has cropped up about how parents deal with advocating for their fat (or thin) kids. I wanted to move it up here, because I know there are a lot of Shapelings who are parents, or aspire to be parents, or stand by in all their nulliparous glory and secretly judge parents — yep, I think that covers everybody (oh wait! I forgot Shapelings who have or have had parents at some point!) — so I imagine we all have a lot to say about it.
As I said on that thread, one of the many reasons why I’m terrified of having kids is the knowledge that I will almost certainly have fat kids. I’m not terrified of the fat kids themselves — I’m terrified of having to advocate for them with doctors and schools, and of trying to bring up kids who don’t despise themselves in a world that despises fat. I’m terrified of having to say everything I say here in situations where the stakes — an innocent kid’s health and self-esteem — are much higher, and the resistance to what I’m saying is much greater. (Hell, I’m already terrified of what the non-existent kids on the non-existent playground will say when they find out my non-existent kid’s mom writes about how there’s nothing wrong with being fat!)
I’m also, as I mentioned there, terrified of having one thin kid and one fat kid. I’ve always naturally been the thinnest of the four Harding kids, and since we sorta came in two sets of two (with 10 years in between), I was “the thin one” while growing up with my sister M. I can hardly remember a time in my childhood that wasn’t dominated by concerns about my own weight, but I definitely can’t remember a time that wasn’t dominated by a whole lot of arm-flapping and tut-tutting and what-are-we-gonna-dooooooing about M.’s weight. I’m not even the one who had to live with that shit directed at me (sorry, M.), and the thought of having two kids constantly compared to each other like that, and a naturally fatter kid who’s told every time she turns around that she and/or her parents are obviously doing something very wrong, makes my goddamned blood run cold.
So, Shapelings who are parents of fat kids, how do you deal with it? What sort of obstacles have you faced? How have you overcome them — or have you?
Shapelings who were fat kids — what did your parents do right and wrong in terms of dealing with your fatness?
How do you stay sane and keep your kids sane in a world that’s constantly insisting fat children are some sort of preventable tragedy, not normal kids with bodies that are normal for them?