Posts Tagged ‘body image’

Why I Don’t Hide My Body from My Kids

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Why i Don't Hide My Body From my KidsAs I sat waiting in the chair outside the dressing room, I could picture what was going on: The quiet snaps and fabric stretching, then the frantic removal of clothing. Another try, maybe this one would be better. No, no, no. This one has to be a winner—no. An exasperated sigh escapes, as she returns the clothing to the hanger and dresses herself again. There’s a long pause before she exits the dressing room.

“Did you find anything, Mom?”

“…No. I didn’t.”

The time spent together after each swimsuit shopping attempt was always in silence. Eventually, my mother stopped trying, and our summers were spent with her always on the side of the pool, reading a book.

And now, as a mother myself, I have so much empathy for that valiant woman who sacrificed so much for me; one of those sacrifices, of course, was the body she had before children. Her mother-body didn’t measure up to the beauty standards set for women. And though I never considered myself magazine cover-worthy, my postpartum lumps, sags, and stretches have me even further from contention.

But when my little boy lifted my shirt during a tickle fight and said, “Mommy, your tummy is big like a trampoline!” I fought the urge to cower, to cover, or to hide. Instead, I laid back, pulling my shirt up to my bra.

“My tummy is big, baby! You know why?”

His eyes looked at me in curious wonder.

“It is so big because you used to live in it! Can you believe that? And your brothers and your sister lived in it. And some people have their babies live in their tummies, and their tummies get small again. And some people, like me, have babies live in their tummy and their tummy stays big! Isn’t that so neat? Isn’t it neat that our bodies can do great things, and are all different?”

I lost a part of my mom when she was told she didn’t measure up. I’m doing what I can to tell my kids that they get to decide what the standard is.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway.

 

Nine Months on, Nine Months off

Friday, August 28th, 2015

IMG_8051So your babe has reached that wonderful milestone: she’s been out of the womb for as long as she was in it. If your pregnancies are anything like mine, you’re probably enjoying her a lot more on the outside. At this stage, she’s a lot more likely to be able to entertain herself long enough for you to get a shower in, which also allows some time to do another thing that may have been put on the back burner:

The scan.

You know, the body scan. The undressing in front of the bathroom mirror and assessing all of your parts. Assessing what has gone down since the last scan. What things are jiggling more. What areas need shaving, toning, plucking, or sucking. What looks better if you stand this way, hunch that way, and man, remember when your boobs used to be up here? Nine months on, nine months off, you’ve heard before, and with this milestone, is your body measuring up?

According to any grocery store magazine stand, you should be able to have a baby and get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans as soon as you deliver the placenta. And for some women, that is absolutely true, and that’s great.

For some women, those jeans are forever a symbol of pre-mommyhood, and that’s also great. Because with the pressure on post-partum women to look like they’ve never partum’ed at all, we lose focus on what’s true: Your body did an amazing thing, and it continues to do amazing things.

Such truth is hard to remember in a culture where women are often valued as ornaments rather than as creatures of action. In a barrage of the “shoulds,” where you are burdened with what you should look like, should weigh, should fit into, repeat to yourself: I am enough. I deserve health and happiness, and that doesn’t look like one specific thing. I am a mom, and I am also a person. My value is not determined by a number or a reflection. I am enough.

Not only will your precious babes benefit from your example of self-love, and in turn learn to give themselves permission to love and accept themselves in spite of any number or reflection, you too will benefit from learning how to love and accept yourself. And you deserve those benefits—no matter what you look like.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway.