Last night at yoga we were asked to share with the group one thing that we want to pass onto our child and one thing that we do not want to pass onto them. I was the last person to go so I had a lot of time to ponder both.
It was easy for me to pick something I want her to get from me, independence and determination. I’ve always been a pretty independent person, even when I was younger. I also have this determination inside which keeps me working hard to get what I want. If there is something that I want to achieve or do, there is little that will stand in my way. I paid my way through college, handling full time school work, sorority commitments and something 4-5 jobs at a time. Was it easy, nope, but did I want that degree? Yes. I hope that our Peanut has the same type of determination and the confidence to go for what she wants.
When it came time to share something I didn’t want her to inherit from me, I had to take a hard look at myself. Immediately I thought about words that had come out of my mouth just the night before on our way home from the gym. I was beating myself up and being totally overly critical of myself and my changing body. I told Josh that I was having a really bad body image day. All I could focus on were my thighs and my butt and how everything seemed like it was getting bigger regardless of my regular exercising.
Watching my body change from this:
has been really difficult. I’m to the point now that I just feel huge and completely unattractive. I’m a-ok with my growing belly, but that is the only place I want to be growing. Having a positive body image before pregnancy was sometimes a struggle for me and it seems to have just gotten worse the further along I get. I am completely guilty of saying nasty things about my own body even though it does amazing things like carry me to the finish lines of marathons and growing our baby girl.
I was sitting in class thinking about how much I take for granted what my body has allowed me to do and what these changes are doing right now. They’re making my body the healthiest and strongest it can be to bring a healthy baby into the world. Being totally hormonal, I had tears welling up in my eyes.
As I shared this with the group, I realized the only way for her not to fall into the same vicious cycle of negative body talk is to lead by example. If I don’t want her to be obsessed with her body and tear it apart inch by inch, I can’t do it either. I want her to have a positive body image and not end up being one of those kindergarteners that says they need to be on a diet because mommy said she’s on a diet.
Here it goes, this time I’m sticking to it. Though I will probably never banish the negative thoughts rolling around in my head, I will use that determination of mine to make sure that I censor myself and don’t let the negative words flow out of my mouth.
My body is healthy. My body is strong.