Dear Savvy Auntie,

I am an Auntie-by-Choice and the Godmother of my best friends baby, whom I call Tater Tot. Tater Tot was born with a large port-wine stain on her face. People make nasty comments and express how terrible her face is, including her family. She is only five months old and everyone is telling my friend that she needs to take her to a surgeon. I find myself getting very defensive and angry. I find her beautiful and see nothing wrong with her and so do her mother and father. These people are not my family but hers, so I feel I don't have room to say anything to them. How do I express my feelings without showing how angry I am at the situation?

Tater Tot's Auntie-by-Choice

Dear Tater Tot's Auntie-by-Choice,

Lucky, lucky Tater Tot to have you for a Godmother! Although at five months she doesn’t understand the words people are saying she does sense their attitude by their tone and facial expression. So, although it may not be your “place” to say something to the people who are critical or making surgery suggestions, you could shepherd them away from her and her family. It has always puzzled me that people, even strangers feel entitled to comment on a baby’s appearance. “Oh no, she is bald! What a fatty! He has his grandfather’s long nose!” are just a few comments I have heard from friends and family. Since for most parents and loving ABCs the baby is loved and considered perfect. The only thing you might say is that her doctor is fully aware of the choices.

Comforting and consoling her parents is helpful as they trust you.

Best of Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Published April 18, 2011

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