I was about 15 years old when I started weighing myself on a regular basis. That was also when I began calling myself that overly-used, ugly word.
Outgrowing the body hatred I had was a long process, but I was finally able to start to love my body again. Overcoming this struggle was difficult. The biggest reason for the difficulty, I feel, was that almost every female peer and role model in my life vocally called herself this word at some point. I was constantly hearing this word being spoken in casual face-to-face conversations. Weight was always a voiced topic. It was one thing to hear it in the media, but to hear it from women I loved and looked up to was something different entirely.
After I was married and started thinking about children, I had strong desires to quit my self-body bashing for good. My first child came. It was a girl.
This became my mission, one of so many: To instill a love for one’s body within this pink bundle.
I made a mental pact with this sweet girl. A pact that I would be the one for her. I would be that one person. The one woman in her life whom she could look up to in setting the example of a healthy self-body image. The one person who would not bash herself naming every physical flaw she felt she had. But to be that person who saw only the good staring back in the mirror. To set the example of having a love and respect for one’s own body. To teach her that bodies are beautiful, regardless of their shape or size, because they house a soul. A precious human spirit.
She will not learn from me to check that scale, to starve, to diet, to calorie count… Because I, am consciously choosing to have no part of it. I will go on walks for solitude. I will play sports for fun. I will do yoga to prevent muscle strains. I will eat salads for energy and I will eat cake because it’s yummy. I will have gratitude for this body because it can and has done wondrous things. Including birthing miracles. Them.
That we, their mother, can find beauty in us. So they, our daughters, can see the beauty in themselves.
Personally, I feel that it is up to my generation to break the cycle for our girls. The cycle where weight and size determine happiness. Where weight and size are paraded so prevalently in our conversations and thoughts. To break the cycle by showing them that we, their mother, loves her body. That we, their mother, can find beauty in us. So they, our daughters, can see the beauty in themselves.
This may seem such a daunting pact to make for so many. And perhaps it is. But perhaps, it is also one of the most important pacts we need to make with them.
Our daughters deserve better than what has been taught from generation to generation. Our daughters deserve the best chance possible to find that love and respect for their body. There is no better way to encourage this than by setting the example ourselves.
Will you make the pact?
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.