On April 30, 2013, I found out I was having twins. A couple months later, we learned they were identical twin girls.
I’ve always been nervous about having a girl, navigating the complicated waters of the mother-daughter relationship. Also, the pressure of setting an example of how to walk through this looks-focused world while living a heaven-centered life.
How was I going to pass on a positive self-image if I didn’t have one myself?
Would I pass on my body image issues to another generation?
I don’t have an eating disorder. I never have. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with my looks or that I put excessive time, money, or effort into changing them.
Instead, I’m like most women. I just… don’t really like my reflection. I just… have a list of things I wish I could change. I’m just… bummed about how pregnancy changed my body. I’m just… self-conscious about how I look in certain clothes. I’m just… uncomfortable in a bathing suit. I’m just… frustrated with my hair and skin. I’m just… disappointed in myself for not being skinnier, tanner, and more put together in general.
Or at least that’s how I felt before my twin pregnancy.
You see, something surprising happened during the most unlikely time in my life. The time when my body was at it’s largest and most oddly shaped. The time when the future of my frame was completely uncertain. When any prospect of committing concerted effort toward changing my appearance was nearly impossible because who has time for workouts and strict diets when you have a toddler and twins?
My heart was heavy with the fear of passing on a legacy of self-criticism, of birthing two more women into this world who would pick themselves apart first thing in the morning and go about their day dissatisfied and discontent with what they saw in the mirror. I knew if I didn’t want to pass on my own body image issues, I had to silence my Inner Mean Girl once and for all, so I did the strangest thing.
I began to pray about my body image.
At first, my prayers were about my daughters. Please don’t let me pass this discontent on to them. Please do let them become critical of their looks and features.
But then my prayers shifted. I began to ask that God would give me a new way of thinking about my body, that he would completely remove my negative perception of myself and replace it with words of truth. That He would make the legacy of generations of self-criticism, self-consciousness, and even self-loathing stop with me.
Do you remember things your mom said or did that showed you how she felt about her body? Or what she thought of yours? What is your prayer for your own body image? For your daughters (if you have them)?