Caryn Is My Muse

6 Aug

I am stealing another post topic from Caryn.  This morning I read her post about body image, which is something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

I am always thinking about my body image in one way or another, since I have been on some sort of health plan nearly non-stop for years now.  I’ve carried a lot of really negative thoughts and feelings about my body…  my tummy, my thighs, my arms… and even though good eating and exercise have at times helped me to improve my feelings about my insecurities, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs.

Pregnancy changed some things for me.  I know that a lot of women hate the body changes that go along with pregnancy and birth, but for me there was just something about my body’s ability to create and sustain life that made it easy for me to overlook some of the less desirable changes.  Yes, my boobs are droopier, my tummy bigger and flabbier, my thighs and butt heavier.  Yes, my shape has changed completely despite being only about ten pounds over my prepregnancy weight.  Honestly though, for now I am alright with that.  My shape is new, and I haven’t quite figured out how to dress this new shape yet, but I feel good about myself and what my body can do.

Of course this doesn’t mean I am free from body insecurities and negative thoughts.  In fact, I frequently make snide comments about myself and my body, often making things sound like a joke when really they are quite hurtful and the sort of thing that would break my heart if someone else said them, even in jest.

Now I find myself raising a daughter in an image obsessed, media saturated world.  There is almost nothing I can do to help her navigate the jungle of messages she will be bombarded with about how she “should” look.  What I can do, however, is try to give her the best possible home environment when it comes to these things.  I can teach her to love fresh fruits and vegetables, to enjoy spending time outside and getting physical, and I can help her love to cook healthy foods.

All of those things are great, and so important, but not the most powerful thing I can do.  The best thing I can do for my daughter is learn to love myself more.  I’ve started trying to reign in the negative comments, to call myself on them every time I make one, or even think one.  If I can raise her without her having to hear me degrade my own body, she will not learn to think of herself that way… at least not from me.

I want my daughter to grow up marveling in the magic of her own body.  I want her to be proud of her strength, amazed at her capabilities, and happy with her own unique beauty.  I want Evi to think of herself in terms of her positives, her intelligence, her capacity for love.  I want her to love her body regardless of its proportions.  I want to give this to my  daughter, the ability to embrace her own body without reservation in a way that I haven’t yet mastered.

I would give Evi the world if I could.  I will start with giving her the chance to love herself unconditionally.

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5 Responses to “Caryn Is My Muse”

  1. Caryn August 6, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    Wonderful! I love how, even though our topics are the same, the content of our posts are very different.

    I love your goals for your little girl. It’s easier to love your body from the start rather than having to unlearn bad habits later.

    *lots of hugs*

  2. Service is joy August 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m working on the same thing with mine. There are so many messages out there bent on tearing down our daughters, making them question themselves, their beauty, their worth. I hope we are both successful. They deserve to love themselves and feel worthy of love.

  3. elizabethsheryl August 6, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    Growing up with family who harped on my weight, and made comments constantly was very hard. I thought I was fat when I was 5 years old. FIVE. My nephew is five, and one of my nieces 6 and I cannot imagine them begin on a diet, or being told to stop eating something that they have had enough. It is something that has shaped me as a person and good and bad ways, so I’m so happy to read this post to see that people are thinking about what they say about themselves and others so that we can help to stop the body-hatred as much as possible!

  4. deepdreamer August 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Oh Heather, what I wouldn’t give to have you as my mother…My morher is the cause of my warped body-image ( obsession i guess!) Evi is one lucky girl to have you as her mommy!
    Emma S 🙂

  5. Barbara (burble) August 12, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Ah you’re such a cool mom.

    (and keep her away from the “beauty” magazines for as long as possible)

    xxx

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