Lovelies, I am so excited to announce that over the next few weeks we will be having some amazing guest pieces by fascinating women and mama friends of mine. Each piece is so different, but they are all wonderful and will make you think! Today's guest post is from Jamie, you can see her blog over here, and follow her on Twitter, too. Take it away, Jamie...
Fat. Obese. Pudgy. Big-boned. I have heard it all.
I am a mother to two and a wife to a man who loves spicy food. My son is a year old and my daughter is three and a half. I have always carried extra weight, even through high school, but I seem to have held on to some extra weight after my son was born that had easily melted off while breastfeeding my daughter. I am a size 16 and have been for as long as I can remember. I have seen and heard of so many tears and struggles from other mothers who were in extreme distress because of their extra weight from pregnancy and the change in their body shape since birth. That was never a stressor for me because I had always carried more weight than I liked but I often worried that my children would inherit my body genes.
My daughter has started staring at herself in the mirror often, examining her smile, her hair, her new shoes and Spiderman shirt. I am enraptured watching her watch herself and love what she sees staring back at her. It is vital for her to have a healthy body image and I felt pride in seeing her confidence. I knew from the beginning that I wanted her to understand how beautiful she is – her brain, her spunk, her ideas, AND her outside. She was obviously having no problems believing it, and why should she?
Then, a few days later, the weight of a ton of bricks hit me with one tiny occurrence. We were in a dressing room together, my daughter standing next to me, telling me what to try on. I tried on a pair of pants that were a bit snug and I sighed, sucked in my belly, then released, and completed my belly dance in a slouched, defeated position. My daughter lifted up her shirt, looked at her belly, then looked at me with sad eyes and said, “What wrong, Mama?”
She didn’t see the problem. That’s when I did.
I can tell my daughter and my son, how amazing, wonderful, and beautiful they are but if I don’t believe it about myself, and emulate it to them, they will wonder why they are so great and why Mom doesn’t think she is. “If Mom isn’t amazing, then why am I? I must not be.”
I can’t allow my children to let that doubt sneak in and invade their minds. I have wasted too much of my life allowing those doubts and lies to consume my life and I refuse to have any part in that happening to them.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized; I honestly, completely and wholly, believe I am beautiful. I am no one of importance to the world, but I have my own little world that needs to hear this and know that I believe it. It is a battle in my mind – waged with society, self-doubt, and expectations – and sometimes it is fought daily. I have realized that it is a battle worth fighting and that more women need to battle on the right side. Let me say it again, I AM BEAUTIFUL.
I don't just mean on the inside. I LOVE my body.
I love the way my toes are placed perfectly apart and how the birthmark on my knee will forever be a connection to my Gramma. I enjoy how my rear end fills out my jeans and the way my stomach shows proof of carrying the lives of those who changed mine so deeply. I am proud that after 12 months I am still able to produce milk for my son and that my arms are strong enough to carry both of my children. I appreciate the slight point in my chin, the fullness of my lips, the shape of my nose, the hue of my eyes, and the way I'm not afraid to change my hair. Really, I am in love with my body.
That is a hard confession to make in this society. I wanted to wait until I had lost a good 50 pounds to tell everyone that I love how I look, but I will not wait for my life to be over before I tell the world. At my age, there is so much pressure to be in constant fitness mode. I have tried to get my head in the game but there are many other areas in my life that I want to be my focal point. Health and fitness are extremely important and I admire and appreciate those who share their health and fitness journey with their world and beyond. I have been able to apply tips to my life that I believe will make a large impact in the future. However, I refuse to wait until I am of "acceptable" weight before I accept that I am beautiful.
There is too much at stake, ladies, especially for those who have daughters. I hope to never see my daughter look in a mirror with disgust. I hope the only belly dance she does is the one with cymbals and beaded skirts. I crave to see my son not berate a girl because of her size. I want to raise my children to love themselves from the inside out and to appreciate and respect those who surround them. I want to break the cycle of self-loathing and make it difficult for my daughter to understand what would make someone even consider beginning an eating disorder. I want my daughter to not only accept compliments but to give them freely. I want to give my children confidence in more than just their abilities, thoughts, and actions, but also the beauty of their bodies - no matter the size.
I can't just tell my kids to have confidence; They have to see it in action. I will be that model for them. The consequences are too great to let society win this one.
I will let my children know how I feel. I am beautiful. I am gorgeous, vivacious, wonderfully put together. I hope that is what you see when you look in the mirror. If it isn’t, watch your children look in the mirror today. Ask yourself if you would want your children to speak to themselves the way you speak to yourself. Win the battle with the mirror, my friend. You can do this, not only for your children, but for yourself.
Jamie Vonalt is an amateur writer/blogger with a professional zeal for expressing life journeys in new ways. She works as a virtual assistant for various clients and loves to hear how people think and what they believe. She is married to a man who makes her laugh and keeps her grounded and who has given her two perfect blonde-haired children.