The Race Toward Body Acceptance

Dear Shaila,

I am 37 years old as I write this. I know that might seem old to you when you read this and there was a time where I would have thought the same thing. Thirty-seven was where you went to die once your life stopped being fun. You encountered it as you approached the twilight years (your 40s) and Spanx became your best friend. Thirty-seven wasn’t a number I was particularly looking forward to, and it came upon me much quicker than I expected.

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Do you know how many months are in 37 years, Shaila? 444 months. That’s a LOT of months. Do you know of those 444 months, how many I was actually satisfied or content with what I saw in the mirror?




How does that happen? You know, I don’t really know what to tell you, honey. I know that there was a brief period in the summer before fourth grade that I thought I was remotely passable, especially when your Nana and Nani got me that wicked denim jacket from Sears.

Other than that, I never really liked what I saw.

When I was younger, I always wished I had shiny, straight hair. I also wished I looked like my other friends, which basically meant being white.

When I got to high school, I accepted my curls. For two minutes. I spent the rest of the four years wishing I was taller and thinner. Prettier. Less meaty.

Less, GOSH.

Less me, maybe?

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In my twenties, my thighs were too big. My waist not small enough. My arms? Never quite right.

In my thirties, they were even more NOT right. Not only that. People were finding new things to “fix.” Some women even started talking about surgeries like vaginal rejuvenation to make their hoo-hoos prettier after childbirth. Your own Mommy looked down and said, “Oh great! another thing to add to the list!”

Yes, Shaila. People apparently have pretty ones and NOT so pretty ones. That is the society we live in, baby.

And for whatever reason, even knowing how messed up it all is, I have bought into all of it.

No, I didn’t blow your college fund on vaginal rejuvenation.

Not yet, anyway.

It’s just that, do you know that since I was 15 years old, there has not been ONE SINGLE DAY of my life where I have thought, “My weight is perfect. I look perfect”?

There has not been one day that I haven’t compared myself mentally in some way to another woman, in terms of my size, in terms of my appearance.


Do you know what that makes me realize as I sit here today and I write this? At 37 years old. With a 5 1/2 year old daughter?

That I have wasted a whole lot of fucking time. So much fucking time wishing I was something other than what I was.

Excuse my language, dear.

But fuck, it makes me really, really sad.

I wish I could rewind things and go back and shake myself and say, “Love THIS. Enjoy THIS moment. It goes by too fast. You look fine. DAMN fine. But even if you didn’t? Who cares?!!!”

I wish I could, but you know what else? I need to shake myself now. Here. Now. Really hard. Because I still can’t seem to make that leap between unrealistic expectations that I will never, ever be able to fulfill and just accepting myself.

What the hell kind of message am I sending to you, my only daughter? I ask myself this as I have this realization. I tell you every day how perfect you are. How beautiful your heart and your mind and you soul are. So, why do I expect you to believe me when I never stopped, not one of those 13,510 days, to believe in myself just a little more?

Not ONE day, honey.

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Not for 37 years.There are so many messages I send you every day. One of those messages has never been that Mommy feels comfortable in her own skin. The message has always been that Mommy needs to change some things. But don’t worry! She’s getting there!

But I never get there. Ever. It’s a race that just never ends.

I need to stop running it.

For your sake.

And for mine.



About the writer

Kiran Kairab is a full-time professional and mother of two who is also a devoted singer/songwriter. She writes about her recent divorce and other relationship issues on her album "Night Flower." Learn more at


Ashley 2 years ago

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to write this for any mom’s who stumble across this post as I have. I feel the same way. I’m only 27, but I’ve had three children. My body doesn’t look “right”. That is to say, it doesn’t look like how I think it should. I know that the changes that come with having children are normal and natural, but I can’t seem to shake the thought that some how MY body shouldn’t. My boobs look like a handful of sand in a sock. The skin on my stomach is loose and wrinkly. I have stretch marks all over my body. As for my lady-bits….let’s not even go there!

With that being said, as unhappy as I am with my body and the way it looks, I will not and do not let my daughter ever see or hear me criticize myself anymore. It’s not that I had torn myself down in front of her, or said hurtful things to myself. But I would stand in front of the mirror, pinching and sighing. I would do my make up, EVERY SINGLE DAY, and if I was naked, I would be desperately trying to hide myself. Then one day shortly before my daughter turned 4, she asked for make up for her birthday. I asked her why she wanted make up and told her she was too young to worry about make up. She looked me straight in the eyes and told me she just wanted to be pretty like me. I was shocked. I had never considered what she was seeing in my actions.

Jump to the present. My daughter is turning 6 in a couple months. I no longer do my make up every day, I nakedly walk tall and proud, jiggles and all. When I DO wear make up and she asks me why, I tell her to look a little different. Not better, not prettier, just different, like playing dress up. If she points out a flaw, like how big my legs are or how wrinkly my belly looks, I just happily tell her “I know, isn’t great that I get to these big legs to help me carry you!” and as for the belly, I use that line of a tiger earning her stripes. I tell her that I have these lines from carrying her and her brothers, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Do always I feel that way inside? Not by a long shot. But she’ll never know that. If you can’t change the way you think and feel about you’re body right now, that’s ok, it’s what you SHOW your children that counts. xo

Naomi 3 years ago

Just now getting back to all of my bookmarked pages!

This is SO resonating with me, with my own Mia. But also? It’s so important for our BOYS as well to hear that Mama’s body is just fine as it is. Dustin Hoffman’s video (that recently went viral) is proof in the pudding. We need to start raising boys who look past the skinny and toned biceps and the gorgeous faces … and really appreciate all of the amazing things that SO may women have to offer – whether it comes in what society says is a beautiful package.

Nina 3 years ago

That Kate Winslet line and your entire post really spoke to me, Kiran. It’s so true that at best we hear nothing negative about our mother’s, friends’, sisters’ bodies. We certainly rarely hear anything positive. Thank you for making that distinction here. I had not heard that Winslet quote before and it’s really poignant.

Leah Elizabeth Locklear 3 years ago

My goodness I have alot of typos! I do apologize I just got so lost in emotion my brain was moving faster than my fingers I suppose.
~ leah ~

Leah Elizabeth Locklear 3 years ago

Hello Kiran… wow where do I begin? I am literally sitting at my desk at work trying to stop the tears. Your story has really hit home for me because I too have not had a single day since I can remember where I haven’t obssessed with my body. I am a 25 years old and ever since about eight grade I have struggled in some way shape or form with my body image. I have always been confident for the most part but there was always a little voice in my head telling me “your too skinny… your too fat.. you could lose a little here.. tighten up more there… etc.” Since having my son two years ago that voice has gotten worse and now that I am newly seperated from my finace’ I fear the voice has only gotten bigger. I tell myself my obession with excerise and eating healthy is just so I can lead a happier healthier more soulful life but I am slowly coming to realize that the “voice” is taking over what was once good intentions to be healthy and in shape. I then read your post today and discovered this is bigger than just me or bigger than just me being what I consider the “Best me” it’s is also about my son… most people think of body image issues directly relate to a female but men can be just as hard on themselves and develop body image issues as well. I make sure to always lift my son up and nurture his spirit, body and mind but what am SHOWING him?? For I am constantly pushing myself down. Complaining,standing in the mirror even after working out and at times being almost disgusted with myself. Most people that know me would tell you I am a fire ball.. full of confidence and tenacity but in my quiet moments alone I am battling myself. Thank you so much for sharing this post.. It was vulnerable and beautiful. I am usually never this vulnerable or open on social media sites but like I said this hit home and I needed this. I don’t want to wake up and be in my thirties and realize I have wasted my years battling God’s perfection. I need to enjoy the moment.. know I am beautiful… lead an active healthy life and SHOW my son not just TELL my son what TRUE beauty is! Thank you so much for sharing! Check out my company facebook fan page and hop over to our blog WonderMOMents! Again thank you so much for sharing this!

Erin 3 years ago

I’m paraphrasing Gloria Steinem when I write, “Each time you look in a mirror, imagine that a young girl is watching you. What will she think about herself based in what you say about yourself.” I try to keep this in the back of my mind for the same if my beautiful daughters, who look a lot like mommy, and for the sake of my son who needs to know that real women are beautiful too.

Jo warwick 3 years ago

Firstly let me say thank you for writing this… I have shared it with every woman I know including my mum. My nan at 90 years old still dieted( she was scrawny), my mum is 74 and I don’t remember a day when she wasn’t worrying about her weight. I am always 37 years old and I recently have been challenging my self physical criticism – it’s a fucking waste of time and energy and of my life which as you say enjoy now.. Love is an act that has to be demonstrated and it has to start with ourselves and only then can we inspire or teach others .. Lastly let me just say what a beautiful woman you are inside and out !!!- thanks for sharing

Leslie (The Pioneer Mom) 3 years ago

I constantly struggle with body image, but not one that society enforces on me. I had twins four years ago and my belly was never the same. Now, I look normal everywhere else, but almost 3-4 months pregnant…all the time. So, it took me a while to actually work up the nerve to get surgery. I don’t want to seem like I’m obsessive over a perfect body or have regrets of having twins, because I am most definitely not. However, I do want my body to match my spirit once again and for me personally, that means surgery. It also means diastasis muscle correction and significant skin removal.
With all the talk about women being comfortable in their own skin, I’m surprised about all the pushback on corrective surgery. It is a reasonable option in many circumstances and one that I will talk with my daughter openly about. Just like a person going to the gym to become more fit or a person who eats their body weight in vegi’s every day, I am doing this for my future health and emotional well-being. Like many women, I feel discouraged after seeing such little results from my efforts, because my belly and hanging skin will never go away no matter how much I exercise or ‘diet’. I have spoken with other women who have had a similar situation as mine, and they say it’s the best thing they have done for themselves. No, it’s not for everyone, but I will go from ashamed to empowered!
My daughter will learn to follow her convictions regardless of what society pushes on her. She will learn that she knows what is best for her own body, whatever that might be. That being said…I love MY body! And I think it deserves better. <3
(wow…that was a blog post in itself…sorry about that. ) :-)

Kaleesi 3 years ago

Good read. While I don’t have a child…still hoping for one..I have spent the last 44 years of my life wishing I was prettier, skinner, more muscular. Wishing I could wear a bikini..knowing I would never in a million years wear one…I don’t even own a bathing suit or shorts , maybe maxi skirts because they are long and cover everything..that’s all I can handle. Wishing I didn’t have the scars and excess skin from gastric bypass…and later wishing I didn’t have the scars from an abdominal abscess..which made my gastric bypass scars even uglier… They are ugly and I feel deformed. Who wants to see that? How do you get past that?

    Kiran 3 years ago

    By being kinder, wiser and saying who gives a shit? Because you need to enjoy life here and now and leave that behind. It’s easier said than done and I know that even as I write this.

    You get past it by looking at what your body has been through and done for you and just loving it. For its imperfect perfection.

    I will let you know when I get there. But you start today, too.
    The clock starts now ;-).

Anita @ Losing Austin 3 years ago

I could write that with very few changes. The every day self loathing for a few months shy of 37 years led to an eating disorder for years that still wants to rear it’s ugly head even now.

    Kiran 3 years ago


    I’m sorry to hear that but I understand it. That you understand it and is so important. You are beautiful.

    Your new biggest fan,

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 3 years ago

I was hating on my body too, and then I started training for Tough Mudder (which I completed last year and am doing again this year – google it if you don’t know what it is), and discovered juicing (veggies, not steroids). What started off as trying to be thin turned into trying to be stronger and healthier, respecting my body as a sacred temple, as a gift from God. This shift in thinking has made ALLLL the difference in how I see myself. When I look at myself in the mirror now, I think, “Those arms do push-ups,” or, “When my seven-year-old falls asleep downstairs, I’m strong enough to carry him upstairs without getting winded.” It’s nice to feel good in a bikini too, I’m not going to lie, but… it has become secondary, truly it has. Regardless of where the thought-process originates, we should all look at our bodies as the gifts they truly are. Beautiful post. xoxo

    Kiran 3 years ago

    I so admire your journey, Kristen Mae. Feeling strong again physically definitely makes me feel less prone to give in to the stupidity of the the other thoughts that have weighed me down in the past.

    They are gifts. You are SO right.

Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam 3 years ago

You may have felt you wasted those 37 years not appreciating the beauty of your body, but now you can work on not wasting the next years of your life hating it. You have many wonderful years ahead of you, and it sounds like you are on the road to healing yourself now that you realize how damaging it is to both you and your daughter.

I am curious how you think growing up in a culture other than your family’s heritage influenced that. My oldest daughter is half caucasian and half East Indian, and even at only 5 years old she wishes she were like me, her white mother. I never criticize my own appearance in front of her, so I think some of that may just idolizing me as her mother and girls want to be like their mothers. It makes me sad when she wishes to look different because I think she is one of the most beautiful girls in the world.

I think about this a lot since I hated my appearance as a child and teenager but I grew to accept and appreciate it as I grew older and in my 20’s. I don’t want my girls to grow up hating themselves.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    You bring up so many thought provoking questions that I really feel like we should just talk over a drink, but unless you live in the DC metro area I am out of luck!

    Yes – not hating it is a very important part of this process and I think writing this piece helped clarify for me where I NEED to be headed in my life, not just for myself, but for my children.

    Goodness, culture? You know you’re daughter sounds like she has an amazing mix of culture – but you’re right – it’s almost in our genetic code to look outside of ourselves for beauty. Luckily she is living in an age where not every model looks like Christie Brinkley and the only person of color on television isn’t Apu from “The Simpsons”. It doesn’t mean that she still won’t be inundated by some “ideals” that don’t really always allow for diversity, but she will find her way.

    They won’t grow up hating themselves. Just the fact that you said that lets me know you are committed to making sure they know you love who you are and you love them.

    Be strong. You GOT this.

JD Bailey @ Honest Mom 3 years ago

I’m constantly comparing myself to other women and always measuring up short. I get mad about my belly, my thighs, my arms, my lack of waist. I’m mad about how I look but feel unmotivated to change it. I don’t understand this paradox at all, and I’m constantly frustrated. I don’t get it. But I’m with you – something has to change.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    I find that when I exercise to be strong and to be fit versus to look like Jennifer Aniston, I do myself a heck of a lot more good. Get angry – but never at yourself and never at your wonderful body. Get angry because you know J.A. is not really using Aveeno moisturizer and you’re not going to be anyone’s puppet by buying all the shit we’re constantly being sold.

    You rock. And so appreciative of your honest reply

Coco 3 years ago

This is just beautiful.

I’m kind of small and other than being pregnant and for a couple of years after (kids are 20 and 12 now), I’ve been pretty much the same size all my life. But still, I’ve bitched about my weight and never been satisfied for long.

Once in college, I remarked that I was fat while I was looking around in a store. I may have been 110/115 pounds. The sales woman said, “I wish I were that fat!” I’ve thought about that moment for years.

Not long ago a dance teacher in an adult class I took would say in class that she had a big caboose and talk about her thighs, etc. I told her outside of class that that kind of talk was not helpful to those in the class who were far from having her dancer’s body; that she was by no means fat and should never say again that she was.

I recently ran across some old pictures of myself- from 15, 20, 25 years ago. Wow, I looked great. So young and healthy and so thin, even though, like you in this post, I always seemed to be thinking that I “needed” to lose 5 or 10 pounds.

What we also need to teach our daughters- and ourselves- is that our bodies change. Where I can still fit into some things from last year or years ago, they don’t look the same on me as they had. Our shapes are constantly adjusting and maturing. So as our daughters grow, they need to be taught not to panic when as they mature. It’s a beautiful process.

I’m changing my whole attitude from now on. No more trashing my one and only body.

Thanks, Kiran, a million thanks.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    Oh Coco – a million thanks back. What a beautiful response. It’s important for people to realize that even when you look “skinny” that self-doubt and body image still play tricks on us. Kudos to you for owning it.

Missy 3 years ago

Wow. What a great post.
I can relate to this so much. Although I’ve only wasted 35 years.
I try so hard to love my body for my daughter’s sake, but there’s 35 years of bad behavior to change. 35 years of insults to change. 35 years of negative talk to change.
How do we change it?

    Kiran 3 years ago

    By acknowledging it. Today.

    I’ll do it with you.


Diona 3 years ago

Wow! This rings so true for me and my daughter. I tell her all the time how wonderful she is but never how wonderful I am. I criticize myself in front of her (as my Mother did in front of me). I need to stop. After reading this I am going to start saying nice things about myself so she will see this as normal and not the reverse. Thank you for reminding me that she learns the most from watching my actions and my words.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    I am so happy to hear that. Please let me know how that goes, Diona!

christie 3 years ago

I am 43 and just had my 2nd daughter this past december. I’ve got aches and pains and bumps and bulges; being an “older” mom your body doesn’t quite bounce back like it used to!
I am very cognizant of how I talk about myself, in particular about my body, in front of my almost 4 year old. She has busted in on me countless times sans clothes and will come up and “play drums” on my “jiggly butt” or sit on my “wobbly belly” on the couch. I just pat my butt or my belly and say “yep, it’s had quite the workout making you 2 girls!”.
I grew up with a distorted body image, anorexia, bulimia- I was never happy with what I saw and to be honest most of the time now I’m not either. I look back at old beach photo’s and want to kick myself because yowza, not bad. But I was too busy criticizing my looks rather than accepting them.
I love your post-

Kristen Daukas 3 years ago

I have to admit that my girls have never once heard me utter the phrase “I am so fat” or “I hate my body”. Never. Not that I’m looking for a badge of honor but it’s always been more important to me to focus on the non-physical aspects of ourselves. I am funny as hell, I am good looking, I am spunky, I am smart, I have successfully launched my own business, I have a pretty awesome husband and even though Murphy likes to show up too often, our lives are good. There is NO way that I’m going to let the fact that I “could” lose 10 pounds rain on THAT parade. Love you Kirin! and love this post!

    Kiran 3 years ago

    I love your positivity, Kristen. And I am so glad that you ARE, you just ARE a good role model in that way to your children. Your confidence can be a model for many.

Brenda Dion 3 years ago

Sometimes the hardest things are the most important things. Women are so critical of ourselves and each other (yes, admit it. You have judged a woman by her “cover”). Stopping the cycle starts at home by empowering our girls to think beyond the “shell” and stressing what’s inside that counts.

Dorcas 3 years ago

I am now 63. Sadly, I can relate to so much of this post. I always–well, after the age of 10–thought I was fat. Now, frankly, I am fat. But then? Nope. I, like you, recently looked at a picture of myself aged about 30. I had two children, and I thought I was fatter than ever. In fact, I was slim and beautiful. Not model-beautiful. But NOT fat. And pretty. Foolish me, wasting energy worrying about it all.

Thanks for this post!

Stephanie ( 3 years ago

You’re beautiful. You really are. But I know exactly how you feel. I always feel like an douche linking to my own writing, but I wrote A Letter From a Friend after having these exact same feelings:

When I posted it on my FB page, some of my pals sent me the same Kate Winslet quote. We women need to be kinder to ourselves if only for our kids’ sake!

Katie Sluiter 3 years ago

Someone said to me the other day that she “identifies as fat”. This is a friend who works out with a trainer once a week, is extremely dedicated to eating well, is absolutely gorgeous, and who currently weighs about 60 pounds less than I do. I was shocked.

I couldn’t even reply as to what I “identified” as as far as my body goes. But after thinking about it for 24 hours I realized this: I don’t identify as anything. Not as far as my weight. I don’t feel “fat” even though I am currently overweight. I don’t identify as “thin” even though before having kids I was always pretty tall and thin. I certainly don’t identify as being “athletic” since I hate working out. I am just me.

Some days I think I am beautiful, other days I feel gross, but over all, I am me.

This post is wonderful, Kiran. I loved it the first time and I am loving it all over again now.

Mama Melch 3 years ago

Beautiful beautiful beautiful post, and oh so important. I have never been more conscious of how I talk and think about myself than since I had my two girls. I’m not wasting time any more either. I had this epiphany this year that I am the only one who sees what size my clothes are, so why am I trying to fit into a smaller size. I look good, no matter if I am a size 8, size 14 or somewhere in between–all in my closet by the way. I would rather look and feel good than waste time comparing myself to that skinny girl in my yoga class.

The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful 3 years ago

Well this is just magnificent and I’m certain has resonated with every single female reader. And I love that it’s a letter to your daughter. I know I’ve already infected my girls and am trying desperately to back track.

The other day a younger man gave me a smile and waved as he walked to his car at the park while I was sitting with my daughters. I turned to them and said, “Men simply can’t resist my beauty.” After they stopped laughing I could see something new in their eyes. A kind of happiness that I feel good about myself and was willing to be just a little bit cocky at 48. 50 should be awesome.

Jessica Smock 3 years ago

This was so perfect! I’m 38 and have a two year old son. For me, having a baby and going through my thirties has been about acceptance. It’s so true: when I think about all the time that I wasted during my teens and twenties wishing for a different body, different hair, different skin…. I could have cured cancer or written a great novel with all that wasted mental energy. I don’t have a daughter, but as a former teacher, I would flinch every time I’d hear a young girl talk about being fat or ugly.

Claudia 3 years ago

The author’s mention of time wasted rings so true. I think about how many graduate degrees or promotions I could have racked up had I not blown hours a day, every day primping, prepping and obsessing about my appearance and punishing myself in one way or another for being imperfect. The older I get, the less of that I do, thankfully. All of a sudden, though I have a new challenge: to figure out how to be at peace with the onset of wrinkles. Courage, sisters!

Jen G 3 years ago

Oh goodness – thank you so much for sharing these same thoughts that have plagued me for 38 years! I really thought I was the ONLY one…THANK YOU!

    Kiran 3 years ago

    No – you’re not alone, hon. So do it with me. Take control of what we allow ourselves to say and think when we look in the mirror.

    We’ll both be much better off for it.

marissa 3 years ago

I’m 33 and have 2 little boys, and I can really relate to this story with my mom. A lot of the ladies commenting here are saying that they are going to tell their daughters how perfect they are, even if they don’t feel perfect about themselves. My mom has always told me I was perfect and beautiful, yet she constantly put herself down, and called herself fat, talked about how ugly she looked, and went on crash diets and didn’t like herself. I watched this and it was so hard for me to believe that I was just perfect. While I’m not a crazy dieter, I still lack the confidence that I know I should have. Moms, please don’t put yourselves down in front of your children. I believe confidence is learned by the examples we are given.

    Wendy 3 years ago

    When I was 8 or 9, I heard my mother one day, as she combed her hair in front of the mirror say, to no one in particular, “Oh, why do I have to be so ugly?” It absolutely broke my heart, and I didn’t know what to say. She was big, and beautiful, but so sad, and rarely smiled. Yeah, I ‘inherited’ that from her. I am recovering, however, and my 24 y.o. daughter knows that she is perfectly gorgeous, and that, although I’ve had a hard time with my self image in the past, I’m getting healthier, in all ways, every day, and feeling good about myself. BTW, I’m 52, and feeling excited about all the living I’ve yet to do!

mrsj 3 years ago

I’m 45 and in no way feel like I’m in my twilight years. I am hoping that bit was just a joke. I love being in my 40s – I feel so much happier and more secure than in my teens and twenties. However, like you, I do so wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to stop fretting about the way I look. Wear that bikini! I wore such baggy, oversized, shlumpy clothes and I see now just how cute and sexy I was – but I didn’t feel that way. For me at least, the older I get, the happier and more confident I get. You couldn’t pay me to be 16 again.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    MrsJ – yes – the age thing was a joke. I feel fairly young at 37, but when I was younger, the way I looked at 37 was very different than how I perceive the age now.

    Yet I do think 37 years is a long time when I think about how many times I have looked in the mirror during that time and how many opportunities I could have had to think positively versus negatively. And for that time, I do have regrets.

BFleming 3 years ago

I understand the message you are trying to send your daughter is a positive one but I don’t agree with your post. However, I like how you mention that you are working on your own body image. But to tell a child that women are now considering vaginal restoration? That you haven’t “yet” spent her college fund on it? I know your message is beautiful and we all need to read that but I think it would have been more effective if you reworded it differently? You seem to put yourself down a lot in your post. Be proud of yourself, since you are a “work in progress.”

I’ve always struggled with my own body image and I’m slowly working on that.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    Hi BFleming!

    Well – I certainly hope my daughter isn’t reading this – it’s more of a way for me to express myself so I took some artistic license in this being a letter to her. I am not really considering vaginal restoration – it’s very much a joke and my kids’ education and welfare pretty much trumps any of my own personal desires – especially if they were cosmetic in nature. My point is that we live in a society where women are being told how many ways they can improve themselves superficially and it’s exhausting. And while I know how shallow it is, sometimes I still am influenced by it.

    As for being a “work in progress” – yes, I am. Good luck with your own journeys!

      BFleming 3 years ago

      Thank you, Kiran. Society is ugly. It is exhausting being told how to look. I fear for the day my daughter becomes an adolescent and is bombarded by all these messages.

Jen 3 years ago

LOVE this.

Older mommy 3 years ago

I related to this post on many levels…..I’m 39, have been overweight my whole life (so haven’t fit in well with peers), I have 2 beautiful daughters that I’m thankful for every day and thankful they look more like my husband and some of my more attractive family members. I have never seen myself as attractive in any way and that attitude was enforced over the years by peers, other adults saying “you’d be pretty if lose weight”, men who ignored me or worse made rude comments or jokes about my appearance to my face….the list seems endless. I had a hard time believing my husband when he came along….why should I believe him only to become the butt of another joke? I hope I don’t pass my negative perceptions onto my sweet babies….they will have enough negative baggage of their own to deal with from society……

Cassie 3 years ago

I have learned a lot since having my boys, but how to be completely comfortable with who you are, size/shape and all is one thing I’m still working on too. It is so important that our kids learn that bodies can NOT be “perfect” and that this makes them perfect! Being healthy and active is what counts not your dress size or the scale.

Samantha 3 years ago

I wrote about this exact thing recently (
It’s a very sad fact that we unknowingly teach our girls to hate their bodies. With two little girls of my own, it’s been my mission to make sure they know that mommy loves herself and her body… even if it feels so wrong to think that way. It’s a daily struggle, but I hope to pass on to them a feeling of self-worth, and self-love!

Andrea 3 years ago

I think it’s terrible how hard we are on ourselves. We all have a similar problem. I find myself feeling prettier, healthier, and overall better when I’ve lost that five pounds. But what is five pounds? My self-worth? Confidence? It is just five pounds.


I also have to remember that when I get to a point where I say “I love my body,” that I am not following that up with “so please pass the chips and dip and chocolate cake.”

Not every day, anyway. :)

Katherine 3 years ago

I’m a BIG woman – I don’t even notice- I don’t want to. I think about measuring food constantly – thinking to fit into THAT role someone else has dictated how I best look. I gave up on that – at 40! I love being over 40. Something about that birthday gave me tonnes of confidence. I’m a ruben goddess – and I’ve shared that with both of my daughters. My 9 year old cries when I tell her my big rounded butt has sexy – “Mom- you are so anti-sexy!!!” she screams back – but at least I can role model it – even when I too feel the diabolic shift of somebody else’s ideas infringing on mine one of when one looks good.

What scares me is I’m not the only influence – I do my best to turn the tides, but the marketing and the media have, in my mind, done enough to influence my little ladies – (8 & 9). “Mama, when I grow up will I be as big as you?”

I try – I try to contrast that with – I go to the gym and can step for 45 minutes. I’ve given birth to two of the most amazing people on the planet – and I can still carry them on my back while on vacation and they tell me at the end of the sight-seeing day “Mom, I’m tired, please carry me” and I can carry 4 jugs of milk up the stairs, carry the dog to the vet, put their new bed together – etc etc etc.

but the fact that they ask the question, and the fear behind it – for shame. I’m not winning this race, but I promise, to me more than to you, I promise to make a dent in it.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    I think you are, sister. Making more than a dent, that is. And I’m so glad you embrace your beauty and the strength of your body. You are so NOT the anti-sexy. I’m proud that you remember to teach your daughters that.

    I like your promise. I’m right with you.

    Liv 3 years ago

    I am rooting for you!
    Keep on doing what you are doing!

lizzyfan247 3 years ago

Being fit, healthy and a good person, I feel, are way better goals to set for ourselves, and spend our time and energy on .. rather than worrying about what other people think!! True beauty comes from the soul 😀

Jill 3 years ago

Ha! Sometimes I have good body days, sometimes bad. Just the other day I said to my husband; “For being 32, just having a baby, I think I look pretty good!”

I also wish that I could go back in time and yell at my 16 year old self and say “Look how hot you are! You are beautiful! Wear that skirt, dress, shorts! You look great in them!!!”

Oh well…I guess now the best thing I can do it teach my son that healthy women are beautiful women, not matter what shape they are…

SadJJ 3 years ago

This made me cry…Thank you so much for writing this. I needed to see this. Lately I have been so down on myself for how I look. Legs too fat, arms too fat, no boobs, horrible hair, acne-faced…and I am 30. I have a daughter, and it hit me: she hears me talk about how I hate how I look. I am doing the very same thing to her.

Thank you. It might be a while before I can accept myself as beautiful, but at the very least, i can make DAMNED SURE that my daughter knows that SHE IS PERFECT in EVERY way.

MarySunshine 3 years ago

And what message am I sending to my sons when I complain, in front of them, to my husband that I am fat, flobby and in my eyes unacceptable. I mumble about “Mommy is making changes” in front of them all day.

Yes, I am making the changes for multiple reasons, but the ones I voice out loud are then superficial ones about my looks. Not the ones about feeling better…inside and out…mind, body and soul. I just natter on about muffin tops, back flab and double chins.

I thank the stars for my husband. He sees beauty in me that I don’t and he tells and shows me regularly that he does. He’s the positive role model in this house. Ugh. I need to make some mental changes…especially if I ever have a daughter. She doesn’t need to be saddled with my guilt and insecurities before she can acquire her own.

Amanda 3 years ago

Spot on! And you ARE beautiful! We all are, in our own way.

Carrie 3 years ago

Thank you times infinity for that…I’m in my 30’s with a 6 year old daughter, and my body acceptance has hit a low after having my second child a year ago. I thought I was finally “fit” and at a great size just when I found out I was pregnant with him…could only halfway enjoy my pregnancy b/c I was obsessed with being the perfect pregnant woman who didn’t gain to much in the hopes I could jump right back into a size of clothes that validated I was “good enough”…I praise my daughter all the time and tell her how beautiful and smart, creative, caring she is, but I never thought about how I need to show her that I’m confident in my body, especially after two children…this is not only important for her, but for the both of us.

MomChalant 3 years ago

I have my own insecurities, so I can very much relate but girl, you are a hottie. Embrace your unique beauty and radiate positivity. You have every right to flaunt what you’ve got. You and your daughter are beautiful ladies.

Jack 3 years ago

Just to be clear, your forties are not even close to the twilight years. Things might look and feel different physically, but mentally and emotionally you are probably going to be a thousand times happier than you were at peak “physical condition” called youth.

    Kiran 3 years ago

    Hi Jack,
    No I don’t think they are – but I was writing about 37 from a child’s perspective – when I was young I remember it being soooo, sooo far away and well, so old. So just coming at it from a 6 year old’s perspective. I actually am looking forward to the other side of 37. I hope I’ve learned enough to make more out of the time I do have.

Alison 3 years ago

You are a beautiful mother, wife and woman. xoxo

Debbie 3 years ago

Hi Kiran,

You are right, we have to learn and teach our children to like being in there own skin. For myself I have always liked me. yes, my nose is a bit of a problem to me, but I have learned to work around it.

By the way 37 is not to old and you are only as old as you feel. There is to much said in society when it comes to how or what we are suppose to look like. Put it this way if we all look alike and had that perfect body life could and would be boring.

What is really important is what is inside, and when we like who we are inside we like what is on the outside.

Our children learn from us and I am so glad that you are taking steps to teach your daughter to like who she is from the inside out.

Thanks for sharing your story.

grownandflown 3 years ago

I have a daughter, too. Important reminder to me about how much they see and hear and, as their moms, how much our influence weighs heavily throughout their lives. Thanks for the kick in the pants!


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