Updated: Jul 20
This article was written by Kasey Edwards of Daily Life, and was published by A Mighty Girl in 2016.
It resonated so strongly with me, both then and now.
It is a painful read, because it is so true. We are everything to our children and we owe it to them and to ourselves, to love and honor our beautiful bodies.
Then...I was 1 month postpartum with my 3rd child, and felt this on a deep level.
Now, I am 4 years postpartum, and am so much further along in my journey of body positivity. Now I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk. I wear the bathing suit and the shorts and occasionally the crop top. I share my jiggly tummy with my kids, and I don't let any of it stop me.
I so hope that my kids grow up loving and respecting their bodies for what they can do for them, not how they look.
“Dear Mum, I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful - in every sense of the word.... But all of that changed when, one night... you said to me, ‘Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.’”
So begins Kasey Edwards’ powerful essay about the impact of her mother’s poor body image on her own self-image and her effort to define a new path forward for her own young daughter.
Time has given Edwards a new perspective on her mother, however: “I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves...
Now I understand what it's like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.”
Edwards’ final message, though, is a positive one: “But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now.... Your granddaughter is only 3 and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential.” So, she concludes, “When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can.... Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs.”
You can read the Kasey Edwards’ entire essay on Daily Life at http://bit.ly/19zWRgh
For an insightful book for adults focused on confronting your own body image issues so you can model body confidence for your kids, we recommend "The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks" at http://amzn.to/1UbotBf
For several young adult books that tackle issues surrounding weight and confidence: “45 Pounds (More or Less)” for age 12 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/45-pounds) and “Dumplin’” for age 13 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/dumplin).
You can also find many books for children and teens focused on instilling a healthy body image in your Mighty Girl, we've shared 20 empowering books in our blog post, "20 Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls," at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10912
Among our favorites are several great self-esteem boosting books the importance of loving yourself, we highly recommend "I Like Myself" for ages 3 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/i-like-myself), "A Smart Girl's Guide to Liking Herself, Even on the Bad Days" for ages 9 to 12 (http://www.amightygirl.com/a-smart-girl-s-guide-to-liking-h…), and "The Body Image Workbook for Teens" for ages 13+ (http://www.amightygirl.com/body-image-workbook).