After taking the proverbial "before" pictures, I put them on the computer and began to look through them. As I scrolled from picture to picture, I narrated with gasps and "Ew!"s. I did not hide the fact that I was disgusted with what I saw in the pictures. When my sweet, 2 year old daughter asked me what I was looking at and if she could also look, I invited her to sit by me and see the pictures. The first thing she said was, "Gwoss!"
I was initially a bit wounded. On one hand, I know children are always brutally honest, but on the other hand I always saw my Mom as beautiful even when she didn't see herself that way. When I talked about it with my husband, he pointed out that she was only copying the emotion that I was displaying.
That hit a real nerve for me. I realized that she was, in that moment, learning what to say about her body by watching and listening to what I was saying about mine. Essentially, when I am allowing myself to call my body disgusting, I am telling her that that is acceptable. It broke my heart.
She is the most beautiful being to me, nothing about her is flawed. It hurts me to think that someday she may look in the mirror and be unhappy about what she sees. It is my job, and now my mission, to teach her to love herself, to love her body, no matter what she sees in the mirror. I am more determined than ever to change my habits and to set a good example for her.
I hope all you Mommas out there are telling your little girls how beautiful they are everyday. I hope you are teaching them how to take care of their bodies, and most of all, I hope you are reminding yourself of your own beauty and cultivating love in your family.