Honouring Our Bodies

I look at myself in the mirror and wonder what has become of my skinny, energetic twenty-year-old self. I have a conversation with the stranger in the mirror almost every day. I miss the old me, that could fit into skinny jeans and wear a figure hugging outfit without the unsightly rolls of fat hugging my middle. Then this morning I read an article that my friend posted on Facebook. It talked about an issue that has been bothering me for some time now. As mothers we continue to hold ourselves to the same standards of beauty as we did before we gave birth. We judge ourselves  harshly for the way our bodies change after we have children and as we age. This pressure to have flawless skin and the perfect body takes so much away from our experiences in life. Many of us are missing from family photos, when instead we should be at the centre surrounded by our loved ones. We are embarrassed to meet friends whom we haven’t seen since before the birth of our children. Sometimes we even suffer from depression and low self-esteem. This is not surprising since we are constantly bombarded by images of what society considers to be the standard of beauty.

The article was a poignant wake-up call for me that I must learn to accept the new me and honour my body for what it has given me. Two beautiful healthy children, who are my pride and joy and who remind me every day that each stretch mark is a memory of carrying life within me and that the ugly scar from my C-section is my personal trophy for bringing my daughter into this world. I have wrinkles now where there used to be smooth skin and dark shadows around my eyes that hide what used to be laughter lines. But these are monuments to the many sleepless nights I have spent when my children were sick or when I have been awake worrying about making the right choices for them.

Nowadays I watch my daughters, now eighteen and fourteen, looking at themselves in the mirror, fussing about a tiny pimple or imaginary fat thighs and I cringe at the thought that one day, years from now, they too will be sad at what they see in the mirror.

So I am making a promise to myself, to look at my body with eyes that are more kind than critical. And like the author of the article, I hope to teach my daughters to accept and love their bodies even when they are no longer skinny with flawless glowing skin, because life will leave its marks. I hope that instead they will learn to see that their beauty lies in the rich lives they have lived and in the ones they have created and nurtured.

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3 comments on “Honouring Our Bodies

  1. This is wonderful! I agree that society places such a burden on us to look a certain way. When i feel this way, I think of the paintings from biblical times. Women with rounded bodies were the epitome of beauty. Perhaps we shall return to normalcy once more some day.

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  2. Some day…hopefully. In some cultures the standards of beauty are so contrary to ours. There a woman with ample hips and a full figure is considered attractive. The really sad thing is that we ourselves perpetuate this myth that thin is beautiful. I know that by shying away from the camera, I am sending a certain message to my girls without even realizing it. When I read the article this morning I had tears running down my face because what she was saying is so true, but we don’t like to talk about these feelings.

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  3. A big high five to you for this blog. Words for all women to live by. I know that I avoid being in pictures when I should be in those records of our memories. Debbie 🙂

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