Friday, January 17, 2014

// A P R O M I S E T O M Y B O Y S //

A while back, I made myself a promise.  I was getting married and even though children were a distant thought (not so distant, apparently) the subject still came up.  People would ask us what was our outlook.  They wanted to know "when did we see ourselves having children?"  We gave them our answer: One or two years.  We'd reevaluate as we went.

However, during my private conversations with my soon-to be husband I made myself a promise.

I promised that I'd really work on my body image before we had children because, well, what happens if we had a girl?  I'd have to remember not to call myself fat.  I didn't want to diet or weigh myself.  I wanted to have a positive outlook.  It was incredibly important to me because, as I mentioned before, I had a terrible eating disorder growing up.  It nearly killed me, physically.  But emotionally and spiritually it took over my life.  I never wanted to pass on any of those extremely debilitating obsessions to a girl, if we were to have one.

Soon into our marriage I became pregnant.  (two weeks into our marriage, to be exact)  Weeks later I found out we were going to have a son.

Good, I thought.  I have time.  I don't have to worry yet.  

Fifteen months after the birth of my first son, I had another.  I now had two boys!  I never imagined I'd have two boys first, although I admit, I hadn't thought too much of it.  But I was grateful.  I was no where near relapsing into my eating disorder, but I still had some issues I wanted to work on, especially if our next child (years later, hopefully!) was a girl.

Then it hit me.  It was during one of my frequent nursing sessions with Asher.  His eyes were locked upon mine, his fingers tightly clenching my own and suddenly, I just realized:

How I feel about my body or how I feel about myself as a woman is just as important as a mother of boys.  If I call myself fat or stupid, if I diet obsessively or talk about loosing weight it will affect my boys.  It is a definite possibility that their self-esteem will be affected.  But, their view of women can be shaped by how I see myself as well.  If I find value through weight and appearance, then they will see women through the same eyes.  They will talk of a woman's weight as their defining feature.  They may even see women as weak and frail, because that's what obsession with appearance does to us, right?  It distracts and takes away, but not in the way that we hope for.

So, even if we never have a girl, I will promise to promote healthy body image.  Not just for me, but for my boys.  Mothers, let's talk positively of ourselves for the boys we are raising.  Let's tell them that a woman is more than her body.  They will know the value of a woman, because they will have seen their mother value herself.






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3 comments:

  1. Danielle, this was really important for me to read. I'm a mama to three beautiful boys and I struggle with my body image and weight. I hadn't thought about the way my feelings about my body might impact them (like you, I had worried about a daughter). Thank you for this. <3

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  2. Wow - Danielle this is really profound! I'm a mama to two girls (and a baby boy) and I'm quite conscious of being a good body image role model to my daughters, but this was a huge reminder that it doesnt just stop with them. Thank you!

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  3. This is so so true and eye-opening. When I found out I was pregnant, I basically refused to have a girl. (Good thing all the other factors agreed with me and gave me a boy!) I was so scared to raise an insecure girl in today's world. Having a boy, I now realize that I have to overcome my insecurities in order for him to grow to seek out confident and self-respecting women. We can teach our boys the kind of woman they should seek by being that woman. Be that woman, girl!

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