My best friend decided to adopt a newborn baby. When her daughter was about a month old, she was walking through the supermarket and was stopped by two women (at two different times) who wanted to tell her she looked really good for someone who had just had a baby. She didn’t have the nerve to tell them she didn’t give birth to this child and she was adopted. But let’s face it, it wasn’t any of their business anyway.
She called me and was furious.
This is one reason why we need to stop saying things like “You look good for just having a baby.”
I mean, we never know the circumstances. Maybe that child was a rainbow baby. Perhaps that child was adopted, like my friend’s. And maybe the mum was so sick the entire pregnancy and came into an inch of her life, like another friend of mine who was on bedrest for 6 months and hooked up to an IV because she couldn’t keep anything down.
Even if you are saying it to someone you know, it’s kind of a backhanded insult anyway. I realise that’s not the intention here. Most people really mean it as a compliment but if you really think about what they are saying it’s kind of like, you look really good for having your organs moved around, growing another human, and getting zero sleep. It kind of hints that if your life was status quo, you just look okay.
I recently turned 45 and I have a friend who turned 47 a few days after me. We both were talking about how people word the way you look as you get older. “Wow, you look good for being in your 40s!”
Which basically means, you look good for being old. Or it is rare for people to think you are going to look good for aging. At least that’s what is heard by the receiver of the so-called compliment.
I say we drop the “for just having a baby.” And the “for being your age.” Better yet, let’s stop pointing out people’s appearances after a big life event, period. How about simply saying you look good and end it right there?
I realise people are feeling like everyone is so sensitive these days you can’t say anything, but is that really a bad thing? Is it that hard to listen to the effect these messages can have on others and alter our dialogue around them a little bit?
It literally takes no money or time, just a different way of thinking.
I have a teenage daughter. I remember being her age and hearing things like “You look good for having four kids” and “You look good for your age” being said to my own mother.
It always puts the belief in my head that there is a bar that is set for women and how they look. If you dip below that, you must have an excuse like how many birthday’s you’ve had and how many kids you’ve birthed. I don’t want my daughter feeling that wrath.
Some of us look the best we ever have as we age, or after we become a mother. And for some it takes a toll on our outsides and insides.
Why are our looks the first things people comment on? We give our physical appearance so much attention.
No one ever asks, ‘How do you feel inside for just having a baby?” Or, “Do you feel better as you are getting older?”
We all want to look and feel our best. There’s nothing like feeling good about ourselves. But many women I know, and the younger generations, have a heavy focus on the way they look to others.
And when people come up to someone they don’t know and say. “You look great for just having a baby,” when they, in fact, have not just had a baby, it’s not okay.
Especially when there are so many other things you can say. Like, “How are you feeling?” or “Can I bag those apples for you, it looks like you have your hands full.”
Let’s rethink the compliments we pay other people and make sure that they are in fact, compliments.