Can I Stop My Girls From Hating Their Bodies?

healthy body image
Self, Family

Teaching my daughters to have a healthy body image has made me see myself in a whole new light.

At a certain point I stopped giving the matter so much attention; released myself of this lingering self-doubt. Having babies had a lot to do with that. These days my body bears the scars of two pregnancies, but I feel as though I'm entitled to them. Carrying two children, delivering them, raising and comforting them, has helped me see past the so-called flaws. That's not to say that I'm cured of this curse entirely. It waxes and wanes, the seeds planted so long ago that self-doubt has become second nature. Now that I'm mom to two little girls, it means a lot more. To think that these same insecurities may already be taking root in them — that my sensitive, silly, loud, loyal, curious and kind little girls may one day judge themselves too harshly or wish that they were something more than they are — is heartbreaking.

So I'm telling them the things I probably should have been telling myself all along: You're beautiful — and you're more than that. You're smart, you're strong, you're funny, you're interesting, you're kind, you're capable. You're loved. You matter. All of this is true, even if somebody one day tells you it's not. And in those moments when you feel any tiny bit less than all of those things, whether they come when you're looking in the mirror or looking at the world around you, know that everybody feels exactly the same way from time to time. Be gentle with yourself, be flawed, be forgiving.

I'm over it, this endless cycle of body fixation that so many women get sucked into. Why? Because it's exhausting and cruel and there are so many things that matter so much more than how you look in a bathing suit. And because I want my daughters to always see themselves the way that I see them: Incredible, immeasurable, enough.

What do you hope to teach your children about body image?