Yesterday my seven year old daughter came into the kitchen, pushed her belly out and asked me if she looked fat! Everything died inside me. I quickly began a mental backtrack and visual images of me standing in front of my bedroom mirror scrutinising my body (whilst she sat on my bed) popped up. And the time’s I had discussed weight loss and dieting with a friend, in person or over the phone triggered me also. Also, the wet Saturday afternoon when we went to John Lewis to purchase a much desired pair of Spanx (in order to rid or should I say hide my protruding post pregnancy belly) - and she sat on the floor of the changing room watching me squeeze, tuck, pull and fold all angles of my body to fit into the smallest size). I was at fault. The jury were out and they had begun to sentence me to a lifetime in body positivity jail. I was guilty.
Before I had my children, like most women I was never over indulgent in the thoughts and discussions I had about my body. A skinny pre-teen who would wear 2 pairs of jeans to look a little plumper and down pints of milk in order to gain weight, my weight woes only really began after I had birthed 2 children. My body had changed over the years, now in my 30's, the gym was calling, but I refused to pick up. I would instead whine and wane over the 10 stone result that would appear on the scales and down my sorrows with a fruitful glass of Pinot Grigio.
I would look at calories on packaging whilst shopping with the kids. Refuse to buy snacks and sweet treats for the kids, in fear that I would in fact consume them, whilst the kids slept peacefully in their beds and while I worried about work and single parent hood life.
When my monthly cycle hit I would backtrack and indulge in everything. Breads, cakes, sweet treats, biscuits, you name it - it went into my mouth.
As I pondered over these images - I instantly came to the realisation that I had neglected my duty as a mother and as a woman - to myself and for my daughter. The visual representation that I had given was one of self doubt and self-criticism. I now ensure that we both hold positive self-images and that I teach her that beauty is intertwined within the soul and not solely on the outskirts. And that we as women come in all shapes and sizes, which make us magnify uniquely.
We owe it to ourselves, to the generations of women that came before us and to those that will come after us - to love, honour and embrace our bodies in every way.