Loving My Body (This one’s for my girls)

A couple days ago, my precious one looked deep into my eyes, placed her chubby little hand on my cheek and said, “Mom, you don’t have a young face, because you have those lines on it.” That came only a week after she’d watched me get out of the shower and lovingly mentioned my “chubby butt”. I giggled a little, but said, “Moms probably don’t want to be told their bottoms are chubby.”

“But Mom,” she said her brown eyes wide with wonder, “It’s so big and round and you know…wobbles like this,” she said, as she flailed her hands dramatically.

Oh my dear soul…just what I needed. Sign me up for botox. We can use my butt to help my face, it’s a worthy cause…and my butt is happy to donate. Particularly today.

A part of me wanted to revert back to a younger me, smothered by eating disorders and body dysmorphia. But a much bigger part wanted to succumb to hysterical laughter. And that is what I chose, because friends…I’m not a slave anymore.

When I was twelve, my Aunt passed away from a terrible monster of an eating disorder. It was a deep time of grief for my family. She was young, and it was a great loss. Only a couple years later after cross state moves, my own overwhelming battle with perfectionism and unworthiness began to manifest. I succumbed to my own monsters in the form of eating disorders and depression for about a year and a half.

With the help of family, doctors, nutritionists, and a counselor I was able to recover.

Thank God.

I still wrestle with demons sometimes. And it was a particular struggle for me during pregnancies and weight gain.

But you know now, as I think about my perfect daughter?

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It is enough.

And I am not a slave.

I am beautiful, and I am wonderful.

You know what kids are good at? Making me stop taking things so damn seriously. And for that I am so very grateful. Because you know…let’s by honest…my butt wobbles. But the thing is no matter what size or shape I am today, believing that I’m beautiful is an inside job, not an outside one.

So yesterday, we went for a little jog on the way to her ballet class. She was riding on pure delight. “Hey,” I asked, “Is your butt jiggling? Because mine is.” She laughed hysterically…”Yes! Yes mom it is!”

A perfect moment…

And then she looked at my legs. “You know what else wiggles? Your legs! Sometimes I like to hit them and watch them shake!” Her gusto was like that of someone who enjoys playing basketball or eating large chocolate sundaes.

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And you know what? It was pretty damn contagious! I think I like to watch my legs jiggle too now. Partially because it turns out it’s one of my daughter’s favorite pastimes, but mostly because my daughter…she is perfect. I hope and pray that her body never instructs her on her joy–that she knows forever that beauty is something that comes from deep within and that her looks are SPECTACULAR no matter her size or shape.

I pray that she can giggle about cellulite and leg fat forever.

Dear Daughter,

You are strong. You are smart. You are beautiful. 

May you forever rest in your immeasurable worth.

I love you dear heart.

Mama

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So today I’m embracing all that I don’t think I care for about my body. And I’m letting go of any left over hate. Because this ones for the next generation of girls.

Because they’re worth it, and I am worth it.

Hey Mama,

Jiggle some of that and embrace the wrinkles for me today, you’re beautiful and you are worthy.

This one’s for the girls.

***

Also, I am embracing her observations while also gently guiding her towards wisdom. Hopefully I will have her “guided” before she compliments you on the bags under your eyes.

One can hope.

***

You guys, my friend Marianne at Marianne Wiest Photography is a true artist. I’m so grateful for these captured moments. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram!

For more reading like this you can follow me here on wordpress or like my page on Facebook at Wonderoak Blog.

 

58 thoughts on “Loving My Body (This one’s for my girls)

  1. piccologifts

    A lovely sentiment and beautiful photos – it’s a struggle to make sure our insecurities and history don’t become our children’s…. Sounds like you’re doing great! 😀

  2. Kesha

    Beautifully stated Jess! A particular truth as I age and occasionally still wrestle my past demons… I hope I am guiding my girls through this challenging coming of age season with the same grace, truth, laughter and freedom!! Love you friend! 💕

  3. Santosha

    Almost made me cry. I feel you on every painful and overwhelmingly sweet point. I pray that my perfect daughter (soon to be daughterS!) doesn’t go through what I did. She teaches me every day to love myself more. She sure does love her naked time! It makes me feel like we’re in Eden again 🙂

  4. Marie

    Fantastic! You’re so right. Even at 61 I’m unhappy with what I look like and what my body is doing sometimes. Great advice as we struggle with us. Thanks Jessica! You’re so refreshing and real!

  5. ARTantana

    What a lovely post and I can relate to it so well…going CRAZY with the kids and loving it at the same time!

    Have an awesome day!!

    Hugs,
    Shantana

  6. Lizzie Rachel

    I absolutely love this post! Even though I’m not a mother, nor will be for a long while…your post is so relate-able, I think for almost everyone woman! I was hanging onto every word and I just hope that, when I do have children, I will be able to come to these same realisations and laugh off my insecurities! I hope I’ll also be able to help my children to feel content in their skin and see their beauty! Thanks!

  7. Marie Perdriau

    Great post and so true. Children tend to wrap compliments in truth, messy and colorful statements of love. If only we could view our laugh lines and jiggles, stray chin hairs and premature gray with the same appreciation our children flaunt their cowlicks and dimples.

  8. mumofone

    That was so lovely to read. My daughter also points at my butt and laughs! I still have some hang ups about my body but reading your post has inspired. Its nice to hear from a fellow mama x

  9. thedownhomegirlblog

    This is so so accurate. I recently gave birth to my first angel. My nephew, who is a third grader, thought it necessary to point out how my stomach wasn’t flat anymore and how it stuck out. I then told him all about how a whole entire human grew inside of my stomach. His mind: BLOWN! He now understands why Aunt Sam’s got a pudgy waist. You have to take it all in stride and embrace it. Make it good because making it bad will keep you from growing.
    Sam
    thedownhomegirlblog.wordpress.com

  10. athenamarie910

    Love the positive view you have on ‘life’. Truth is, all moms legs jiggle and have cellulite. We all have bags under our eyes from lack of sleep and wrinkles on our faces from worry. My butt is chubby and I DONT CARE! I am busy enjoying life. I am a healthy, strong and beautiful mother and as long as I think that and portray that… My daughter will think the same, and learn to love herself. Remember, children learn from example. Be proud of yourself! Go you!

  11. mumofone

    If its not too much to ask, could you give me some feedback on my blog? I’ve only just begun my blogging journey and would love to hear from you, you’re an extraordinary writer

  12. Pooja Grover

    Hi there, what a beautiful writeup 🙂 Its a fact that our bodies are going to change with time, and we have to accept them as a blessing. Cellulite is like a critical issue, but lets live with it to certain degree, and focus on the positive aspects of life, like kids 🙂 Kids do make us forget most of the mundane, and provide enthusiasm to live with them in their beautiful world 🙂

  13. Susan Go

    My daughter compares my sagging breasts to a variety of foods from hot dogs to meatballs. We laugh and I know, one day she will know, it was because I gave her and her brothers what I could when they needed it most.

  14. thewallandthem

    Hello. Just happened to somehow stumble upon your blog. Let me just state for the record that I am 21, so that you know I am but a kid.
    I love your blog. Just absolutely love it. There is truth and honestly in what you write.
    I hope someday if and when I become a father, I could be as amazing as you are as a parent.
    Honestly let me just tell you, body shaming and eating disorders transcend all gender. So I get it. I’ve had friends who’ve gone through the same.
    Loving our bodies and us is an essential part of growing up, and eventually passing it on to another life.
    Your post was really beautiful.
    Take care,
    Aitijya Sarkar.

  15. thefairypales

    Congratulations on this wonderful post and the way in which you handled this! I loved reading that you could turn the initially painful comment into something fun. Your daughters will watch you as they grow up and I hopefully they will adopt this positive view on themselves.
    Love, The Fairy Pales

  16. restlessboundaries

    Wonderful piece! This reminds me of the time I made the mistake of taking my daughter (she was probably 4 at the time) into the dressing room with me to try on bathing suits. With all sincerity she asked me why my boobs were so long. I wanted to say because of you, but refrained. I still struggle to love my body and hope that someday I can embrace by chubby butt, giggly thighs, and long boobs.

  17. itsallangie

    When I was about 15 I went clothes shopping with my mom. I remember sitting in the dressing room with her as she changed in and out of clothes. I thought to myself, Lord, please don’t ever let my body look like that. She’s so top heavy and her legs are so small. How does she seem so okay with looking this way?! Now at 49 I’m shaped exactly like my mom and I look back at that day and laugh hysterically. Your story made me think of that time and smile. Thanks.

  18. Nicole O'Brien

    This is beautiful. My mother and I look identical when it comes to body shape, and we are continously told how “skinny” or “too thin” we are because we are shaped smaller and also small in height. She is always telling me that even though being told you are fat is a terrible thing, hearing that you are too thin can also take a toll on the mind as well. My mom tries to instil positive body image values every day and I appreciate her so much more for it.

  19. jeremybarbaro

    Thank you for sharing! I was struck by the photography, that is what drew me in to read the article. As I read, I understand. There were a couple of people in my family who suffered from eating disorders. Your writing style is crisp, vivid, and so pleasant to read.

  20. yousillymommy

    Being a mommy of daughters nowadays is so difficult, so challenging and so different than when we were younger!! I have two boys, and am not fortunate to be a mother of girls as well. However, I see the struggles my mommy friends have in handling these issues with their baby girls. It’s wonderful that you are teaching them this lesson at such an early age!

  21. tperrott1991gmailcom

    Love, love, love, love, love. Thank you for sharing! The world needs more honest women like you who are willing to share and embrace areas of some insecurity. You set a shining example of strength and beauty and peace in the face of culture that promotes masquerading instead of embracing. Thank you. If you get a chance I’d love to have you read my post entitled Redeemed!

  22. jennak04

    Awesome post! It’s funny what kids catch on to. Mine ask about the red cracks in my eyes and zits. I am happy you are able to speak about things you struggle with. It is hard to not feel like we have it together all the time. I struggle with that too.

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  25. Pingback: Loving My Body (This one’s for my girls) — WONDEROAK – Mugglestones and Mayhem

  26. butterfliesfairy

    Thank you for the beautiful thoughts about age and body. I learnt to love my body when I was pregnant. Now, I cherish my shapes and wobbles and happily gave up the battle with the scales.

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