Because our kids learn how to view their bodies through our example
Too often, motherhood and body positivity don’t always go hand in hand. The body changes in pregnancy, and for some of us — those changes last and may make us feel insecure about our new vessels. With the help of her toddler daughter, one mom shut down her inner negativity — by buying a fabulous bikini and rocking the hell out of it.
Instagram user “PCOS Support Girl” — also known as Coach Shelby online — recently shared a photo of herself in her new bikini, which is awesome all on its own. But it’s her accompanying words that will gut-punch you, make you tear up, and then leave you ready to conquer the world all on your own.
Shelby writes that the day before her three-year-old’s first swim lesson, she was feeling a little anxious. You know, because it’s a room full of strangers and you have to be in your bathing suit. Not exactly every woman’s comfort zone. It’s hard feeling insecure and not letting it show.
Her daughter decided she wanted a new bikini for swim lessons (as one does), and when they went to Target to pick one out, her little girl wanted her mom to get one too.
“So today, as we talked about swim class tomorrow, she said ‘I want a bikini.'” Shelby writes. “And off we went to Target. She picked hers out, all on her own. Then she said, ‘your turn.'”
She continues, “A knot in my stomach, I told her, ‘oh mommy can’t wear a bikini to swim class, boo.’ She looked up from the cart and asked, ‘but why?'”
“Why? Seriously though, why couldn’t I? I could,” she writes. “I just felt uncomfortable. Observed. Exposed. A bit like I’d embarrass her. But all of those sounded selfish in the moment, so I said, ‘You know what? You’re right. Let’s get mommy a bikini.'”
We can all relate to feeling this way in a bathing suit. But Shelby decided it was more important to set an example for her daughter than to give in to her insecurities. Why?
“Because she is learning, every day, from me just how to view her OWN body. I don’t want to teach her to put limitations on what clothes she can wear or to worry about what others will think. I certainly want her to see her body as unique and wonderful and to be kind to it. I want her to always stay the brave, bold blonde little girl who knows exactly what she wants and exactly how beautiful and strong she is. The same little girl I used to be, before life and society taught me I shouldn’t be.”
A-fucking-men. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) myself three years ago, after two years of endless tests for thyroid and hormonal imbalances and no periods. I watched my body expand, dimple, and bloat in ways it never had before. To be honest, it’s enough to make me want to wear a potato sack and not leave the house some days. I even hate wearing a bathing suit around the women in my own family, because I feel somehow less than. But I’ll be damned if I ever let my daughter hear me beat myself up about my body and what I can’t control. I will flop and wobble around with her in the pool until we’re both wrinkled and blue — to hell what anyone else thinks.
“I felt empowered wearing the bikini knowing that I’m showing my daughter it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin,” Shelby tells Scary Mommy. “It’s okay to embrace your body — even when others tell you not to.”
Shelby ended her post by letting us know she and her daughter bought their bikinis and had a ball. “We rushed home, we played and spent the afternoon excited about how we’d be mermaids tomorrow. And we tried on our bikinis. Like the brave, bold beautiful blondes we are.”
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