I hope that I never have to give you this letter. I hope that I can teach you the value of self-acceptance before your insecurities pile up brick by brick. I hope that you have it in your heart to always look for beauty in everything and everyone, most especially in yourself.
I hope that no boy will ever make you want to lose 20 pounds, and that no salesperson will ever make you believe that you need cosmetics to be beautiful. I hope that I never have to hear you say, “I’m too fat” or “I’m too ugly.”
I hope that criticizing yourself does not become a daily habit.
This is your 28-year-old mama talking to you. It’s just seven months after your birth, and I am in the processs of fixing my relationship with my post-baby body.
In theory—in my head—I know that I still look OK. I keep telling myself that my body is beautiful because I carried you for nine months and I’ve been breastfeeding you since birth. But every time I look in the mirror, I feel defeated. And on really bad days, I feel destroyed.
You see, I’ve always been somewhat insecure about how I look. But before I got pregnant, I had the luxury of band-aid solutions. I’d crash diet when I was bloated. I’d visit a salon when I felt like my look had become boring. A quick-fix was always available.
But pregnancy has a way of exposing flaws. No outfit could hide a 15 ( 20? 25?) pound weight gain. No cream could erase angry-red stretch marks.
To be honest, I am tired of my own insecurities, too. It is exhausting to compare myself to others. There’s always someone prettier, someone younger, someone better. There’s always a skinny momma, a pretty momma, a momma who doesn’t look like a momma.
I’m scared that you will one day notice how I frown when I weigh myself or how I need to go through so many outfits to find a blouse that can hide my stomach. How can I teach you about beauty when I have issues about accepting myself?
And so in my current vulnerability, I mindfully question what I want to teach you about beauty and the female body. As your mother, I consider this one of the greatest challenges in raising you, my beautiful daughter.
You have no idea how much you’ve been helping me erase my own self-deprecating thoughts. You look at me like I hung the moon. I will bank on this and use this as a foundation in building my positive self-image so that one day, when you ask me about weight, beauty, flaws and insecurities, I will be able to answer you sincerely and lovingly.
My hope for you is to enjoy—to not miss—moments simply because you “don’t look good.”
Please try out sports or martial arts or dancing. Please enjoy making sandcastles in your swimsuit. Please devour the delicious fried chicken that your father will lovingly cook for you. Please don’t panic when the scale says you gained a pound. Please graciously accept compliments and believe them wholeheartedly. My Love, these are the things that I want for myself right now, and learning them is the best way to teach you.
If I do need to show you this letter someday, I hope it’s because I want to help you understand that not all women feel good about their bodies. I hope that you will be confident enough to help empower other women. Please always strive to see the beauty of those who are around you. Don’t compete with them. Lift them up the way you’re slowly lifting me up now.
Thank you, and I love you always,