What I Want to Teach My Daughter about Her Body

And in teaching my daughter, reassuring myself. Because body image issues don’t necessarily go away as you get older.

I’ve kind of been avoiding writing about this subject because I’m afraid it will be met with rolling eyes. Let me explain.

Being self-conscious about your body works both ways. Generally when it’s discussed in society, and songs are written about it, it’s about embracing your curves (specifically your booty). And let me be clear, I think that’s great and totally necessary. We claim “you’re beautiful at any size”…but not much is mentioned about the other side of the coin: lack of curves! (In fact, we’re called “skinny bitches” in a few songs. I’m looking at you, Nikki Minaj and Megan Trainor, even though you’re “just playin”). But this is where I imagine the eye rolling, “Oh you’re naturally thin and don’t have curves, what a terrible problem to have” :: eye roll ::

But this is the place I’m coming from. I was teased in school for my lack of curves (in MIDDLE school…like we’re all supposed to be full figured then? really?). And even today, in my late 20’s, I’ve been called “disgustingly skinny”. I *think* it was meant as a compliment, but here’s a tip…when you want to compliment someone, don’t ever use the word “disgusting” to preface it.

Some women feel like they need to be thinner to be beautiful and attractive, but other women feel like they need more curves and a thicker figure (bigger boobs, a booty, etc.) to be beautiful. Like there’s some magical in-between size that’s perfect, not too skinny, not too fat.

When I was called “disgustingly skinny”, I became extremely self-conscious about my body. And I even started eating CRAP so that I would gain weight and no longer be “disgusting”. At the time, I was actually very healthy. Eating right, being active, etc. But I don’t gain weight easily (except when pregnant). In fact, I was thrilled when I got pregnant again (for lots of reason of course), but that was one of them. Gaining weight.

I wish I wasn’t so affected by those words. And didn’t let someone else define what it is to be physically attractive. Especially since my husband kept telling me repeatedly how great I looked. I didn’t believe him. I believed someone else. I looked in the mirror and saw a twig. Disgustingly skinny. I wanted thicker legs, a bigger butt, bigger boobs, etc.

But I’m over that now. I have a daughter. And I would never want her to think the way I did and do the things I did to try and meet someone else’s standard of attractiveness. Instead of wishing for a new body type, or a certain size, I want to focus on being healthy and strong. No matter what size that looks like. Thick or thin. Are you healthy? That’s what’s important.

That’s where I am now. And because I want to actually live what I teach my daughter, I’m striving for an even healthier, and more active lifestyle. I’ve started running again and I’m about to start doing some weight training as well. Because I don’t like feeling weak. Pushing out 2 babies in 2 years took a lot out of me. I need to rebuild some muscle mass.

I’ve accepted my body type. I’m embracing my lack of curves. But I think it’s perfectly okay to want to be stronger. And that comes from me, no one told me “hey you look really weak, you should lift weights or something”.

But this is what I’ll tell Gwen: love the body type God gave you. Don’t worry about your size (regardless of what people might say boys like to hold at night, because I’m here to tell you they don’t ALL like a little more booty to hold, just sayin….). Eat well. Be active. Be strong. And I hope I set a good example for her to follow as she grows up so she won’t have the same struggles I did.