All started out innocently enough, on a Sunday afternoon, sitting in the booth at McDonald’s having lunch after our older daughter’s soccer game as a treat for indeed playing a great game of soccer earlier that day. Healthy or not, a treat should be allowed for times like these.
My husband turned innocently joking to our older daughter by saying, “If you keep eating like that, you will get fat,” since she had pretty much finished her hamburger in less than 5 minutes time.
Upon these words, my almost 6 year old looked at the tiny piece of hamburger bun in her hand that was left from her lunchtime feast and quickly returned it to her plate with a disgusted and pained look now not wanting to eat another bite.
My head hurt and my heart broke upon seeing her reaction even at such a young age. It may have been crazy, but still totally just her response as a girl having her appearance put on the line.
Without even thinking, I immediately picked up the tiny leftover bun and told her that daddy was just joking, because she was just perfect and beautiful in our eyes. My husband backed me up and added that he was just indeed teasing her and that there wasn’t any truth in his comment at all.
Thankfully, she believed us and finished the last bite of that bun, as well as the rest of her lunch.
It should be noted though that this same child has never been overweight a day in her life.
In fact, she was born perfectly healthy at 39 weeks 2 days (more than term in my then pregnancy), but weighed in at only 5lbs 15ozs. and 17.5 inches tall in height.
She was just petite and tiny then and now, as well, since she is even on her own weight/height chart at her pediatrician’s office.
But then again, so was her mom (me).
Back in the day, I was always the smallest kid in my own class growing up and was line leader every year in elementary school because of my lack of height. My dad lovingly nicknamed me, “Monkey face and chicken legs,” because it was endearing to him and also partially because I was just a silly kid with skinny little legs.
As crazy as it sounds though, I can still very much recall how much I hated being small for my age and always wished that I could for once not be the smallest in my class each Fall when I would return to school. By the way about a week earlier, my same daughter was actually complaining about being small for her age compared to others in her own kindergarten class to me, ironically enough after hearing it from yet another person in passing.
Still, never did I actually have to worry about being overweight at my daughter’s age either.
Fast forward to my high school years, where this did change a bit for me though. I still recall mid sophomore year looking down and noticing curves, where my once skinny, little chicken legs were.
Puberty and hormones had a funny way of catching up to me. Yet, height-wise I was still on the smaller size rounding out at 5’2”.
Within a year though, I had slimmed back down and yet still I recall for years after this checking the mirror with worries of how my appearance and weight stared back at me each time. Normal weight or not, I still crazily obsessed over this and more often than not the mirror would totally betray me, as would a carnival fun house mirror, making me visualize that I was anything but average weight.
And then, I became pregnant with my first. I was overjoyed being pregnant, but I won’t lie as those numbers climbed from my normal low 100s to almost topping out at 160 lbs. at the end, I could feel the panic rising inside of me.
See I had never seen a number that large on the scale for myself. Granted, I was pregnant and it was allowed, but I still cringed.
Even after I gave birth, those extra baby pounds didn’t come sliding off of me easily by any means. And just when I was almost back to my normal at almost 8 months later, I was pregnant for the second time.
This time out, I was very cautious about how much weight I would gain. Nausea helped in the first trimester, as I was too sick to even think of eating much for those first three-four months.
But as I progressed into the latter part of that pregnancy, I was definitely more on guard with this.
I ended that pregnancy at 145 lbs, which was still large for my small frame, but still smaller than my first pregnancy.
Within a week of giving birth and taking care of two babies, I had lost almost 25 lbs instantly as I truly didn’t have time for me or sitting down. But still my body shape was forever changed from both my pregnancies.
I was and am still normal weight, but gone is the girl that had a stomach that you could bounce quarters off of and the tight thighs I once had, as well.
Replaced in those areas are a bit more cushion and softness in all honestly.
Yet, I fully admit that I should have been proud of my body during pregnancy and even now years after as I carried and gave birth to two perfectly, amazing girls, but still admit that I sometimes feel down about my new body shape.
I wish that I could be more secure in my body image and still sadly most of what I think is because of what I have been conditioned to feel according to what our society showcases in TV and movies with the supposed way women should look. As crazy as it is, I still can’t shake this at times and do compare myself coming up short in my own eyes for appearance’s sake. It is the reality though and sadly can’t even deny it.
Still back to the original teasing comment that my husband innocently made with our daughter. Not going to lie, I had truly hoped that I had a bit more time before she worried about her looks and appearance, but just like that my baby girl is growing up. An innocent remark like my husband’s made her think twice about what she was eating, because of what she perceived someone (her own father) thought of her looks.
I know I am dreaming when I say this, but I truly never wanted either of my girls to feel less than perfect. Again, I know the reality, but still I want to have hope that maybe they can be more secure than even their own mom and rise up above worrying about what others in society think or deem to be the norm, because in my eyes both my girls are absolutely beautiful and perfect the way they are.
This post was written for the One Word Blog Linkup that is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons (who is off this week on vacation), Marcia of Blogitudes and yours truly, too.
The words for this week are: Crazy or Moment; Please feel free to linkup and join us this week.
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*A version of this article has appeared on The Huffington Posts Parents with permission.