Friday, August 21, 2015

What My Dough Belly Tells My Girls

My daughter couldn't have been more than 8 the first time she came to me sobbing about being fat. 

Fat? You are a mere child. You barely know your addition facts. What ARE you talking about? 

I was shocked and appalled at the language coming from her mouth. A mouth with gaping tooth holes. She was way too young to be thinking about weight. Way.

But apparently some kid at school threw the F word at my little girl and now the conversations about that dreaded little word would need to take place. 

My first reaction was to brush it off. 
You are not fat, Sweetie. You are a beautiful little girl. Go play with your dolls.

But a few days later the F word came up again and I knew I needed to give this some more thought. How was I going to respond?

What did I want to teach her about her body?
What was I going to teach her sisters?
What does it mean to be beautiful?

And,
How do I feel about my own body?

You see where this is going, don't you?

It came back around to me.

During this time of thinking and introspection, one of daughters discovered my belly. You know the one. The one that is soft and shaky from babies hiding out in it. And I've had a few in there over the years.

I was in the bathroom getting ready when my girls invaded. I don't know why this happens but that closed door is a magnet for knocking fists and conversations that just. can. not. wait. So three of the sassy, giggling variety joined me in my bathroom. That is when the belly was discovered.

Oh Mommy! I love your belly! Can I touch it? It is sooo soft. 

And they did. And they were wowed by it's softness.

To which I wanted to gag and pull away and let them know how gross it was. But something made me stop and evaluate my next words very carefully.

To my surprise they sounded something like:
I know. Isn't it great how soft it is? Do you know why? Because you kids got to live in there and my belly stretched out really big so many times. (This was before we adopted anybody and they were all included in belly-time.) Isn't God cool to design my belly like that?

That was the day something shifted in me.
That was the day of deciding to model for my kids more then just a squishy middle. I was going to model an appreciation for my body for the sake of my girls.

What do I want to hear coming from their mouthes? At age 8 and at age 18, could I expect my girls to be accepting of their bodies if I was not accepting of mine?

I now have 4 girls that all have different shapes. From boney to booty, from slim to not-so-much. 
And they are all beautiful. Of course they are! But I needed to do more then just tell them that, I needed to model that.

Moms, Aunts, Grandmas and Girlfriends, we have great bodies. 
That's right, GREAT BODIES!

What makes a body great? 

I'll tell you what makes mine great.

I slogged out of bed this morning and my legs didn't buckle but took me to the kitchen where my hands made eggs for my family. 
My neck swiveled approximately 6,000 times, turning from one kid to the next to answer questions. 
This week, my shoulders have carried too many groceries to count. 
My elbows can bend in a really tricky way to get a sippy cup to the carseat behind me. 
My lips have been known to make countless ouchies vanish. 
These thighs? Let's just say, my kids want them on their kickball team. At least the littlest does.

A great body? Why, yes I do. 

A model might have a great body for the job she is given to do, but so do I. 
And so do you. 

Women, our bodies were not designed to be stared at or appreciated for how hot they look in a pair of jeans. That might happen sometimes but that is not their foremost purpose. Our bodies are designed to do great things. Our bodies are made for action and hugging and adventure and nurturing. For DOING. 

I want my daughters to grow up knowing that. I want them to appreciate their bodies for what they can do, not how they appear. 

And it needs to start right here with me and my great body.

Go on, Ladies.  Appreciate your own GREAT BODY! It does amazing things.

3 comments:

  1. This is SUPER encouraging, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just had my baby girl last Friday, so I have been feeling self-conscious with all of the body changes. While I absolutely love what my body can do, this is a wonderful reminder that I need to show this outwardly since the default is "lose the baby fat." Thank you for the empowering post!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grew up super skinny (my genes, and also some undiscovered food allergy issues) and when I was pregnant with my first son I remember looking down at my body and thinking "I look like a Rubens! Or a Sumerian fertility statue!"
    And then it struck me; Americans idolize a sterile body. A body that at least looks like it has never done the good business of giving life.
    Since then I have been determined to love fecundity, and bodies that willingly gave themselves to grow life. Whether my baby belly "goes back" this time or not, I will be very happy to be in the functioning body that God gave me!

    ReplyDelete