Dear Annie: The holidays are coming, and I’m feeling anxious already. Most of the events with my family will include buffets — which will also include criticism about what I eat, how much I eat and how much I weigh. I am 5 feet 3 inches tall, and I weigh 115 pounds. My husband’s family members, with the exception of him, are, by medical definition, morbidly obese.
I am careful about what I eat. I exercise and take care of myself. I have never and would never comment on what his family members eat or their weight. Why is it acceptable for them to comment on me? All comments are said loud enough for all to hear and with a snide tone.
Do I continue to smile and be silent? Is there something I should say in return? This has been going on for 29 years. — Sad About the Holidays
Dear Sad: If one of your in-laws had a genuine worry about your weight and health, there would be a time and a place to talk to you about it, and it definitely wouldn’t be at the family holiday buffet, after a few glasses of wine, in front of every cousin, niece and nephew. It sounds as if they’re speaking more from a place of insecurity than concern.
That said, I doubt they have any idea that their comments are rude. Because thinness is idealized in our society, many people mistakenly think it’s OK to pick on a person for being skinny, even if they would never pick on someone for being heavy.
Talk to your husband about how these comments bother you. Perhaps he can persuade them to cut it out. What matters is that you’re healthy, and that’s something only you and your doctor can determine.
Dear Annie: I totally recognized my daughter’s experience after she gave birth to my grandson in your recent column about postpartum depression. It was heartbreaking. Your identification of it and your recommendations were spot on, but it concerns me that you did not include medication as an option, as well. Perhaps you quite correctly assumed the therapist would prescribe an appropriate medication, but you missed an opportunity to inform the public that additional help in the form of medication is out there for many.
In my daughter’s case, the proper medication was what finally enabled her to break free and begin the path to regaining her old self and enjoying her son. It took her eight months to realize medication was what she needed. She looks back now and wishes she did not wait so long.
Thank you for bringing attention to the all-too-common issue of postpartum depression. Too many people write it off as baby blues and don’t seek out help. I’m happy to say my daughter is back to her old self, while still on medication, and my grandson is now 8 years old, the joy of our lives.