|Photo credit: Jade Beall Photography|
I am BEYOND excited to be sharing this guest post from a lovely friend and the incredible brains behind "The Body Positive Parent". When I read this it literally brought a tear to my eye, mainly because I could really relate to how she felt and I'm certain so many of you can relate as well.
You can follow "The Body Positive Parent" on tumblr where she shares her thoughts on body image, her experiences as a Mum and how she's raising her girls in a body positive household. You MUST go and check out her blog, she's super Mum who has a way with words and is such an inspiration!
ALL TOO COMMON
I didn't know I hated my body until I had my daughter. My body was always not right, never good enough, just another thing to work on. I would fall asleep at night and dream of my perfect body, smooth skin, long lashes, tall legs, flat stomach, the list went on and on until I fell asleep.
I knew how to stand in photos to minimize my size, how to smile without showing my teeth, what to wear to hide my problem areas. Complements were fended, dodged and shot down like space invaders. If one landed, if I was to believe anything good about myself then it would be “game over”.
Then I got pregnant. My body was even more highly scrutinized. I was too small, my baby was too small. My body still wasn't good enough. I needed to slow down, but I didn't know how. I wanted to be the perfect pregnant woman. At one with her baby. At peace with her changing body. Loving creating life, serene, an earth mother, a fertile goddess. I was none of those things. I was sick, anxious, tired, and moody. Instead of evoking an air of the Venus figurines the art I most connected with was "The Scream".
Then she was born. My body still wasn't right. Breastfeeding was hard, painful and stressful. Everything hurt. My child was happy, healthy and loved, but I wasn’t. When a plane is going down they say to put your oxygen mask on first, then help your kid. I firmly attached her oxygen mask, and forgot about my own. She was thriving while I was gasping for breath.
Then I crashed. I saw that I couldn't raise my daughter to love herself if love wasn't spoken around her. If the first role model of womanhood was one of self-hatred and fear. So, I let go. I stopped caring about what my body looked like. I stopped stressing about good and bad food. I stopped consuming body-shaming media. I stopped judging other people and what they looked like, what they ate, how much space they took up. I eat what feels right, I move in ways that please my body. I found compassion for myself and for others. I learnt about privilege and saw just how easy my life was compared to others and how my body affords me many comforts that are denied to so many. I vowed that I would be an example of radical self-acceptance for my daughter.
It isn't easy. I'm swimming upstream against diet culture, fitspiration, objectification and exploitation. Our social currency seems to be based on deciding who has a good or bad body. My bank is empty, but I am richer for it. In our house we praise tenacity not weight loss; we complement empathy more than physical appearance. We celebrate diversity and we say “I love you” a lot. Best of all, I don't just say it to my daughter, but to myself, and I mean it.
- The Body Positive Parent