As you are well aware, ctworkingmoms.com has been receiving quite a bit of attention in the media lately for our post-baby bellies photo shoot. The message is so important and so powerful – we need to not only accept our bodies, but embrace them, especially since those bodies are what helped to give our beautiful children life!
Although I was not one of the bloggers photographed, I am so unbelievably proud of the ladies who did and feel extremely honored to have the opportunity to blog alongside them for ctworkingmoms.com! That being said, all this attention has made me think about my personal struggle with my body image. I am just a few days shy of my 29th birthday and looking back it seems as if I have struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration – but definitely since my early elementary school days. It was then that I began to struggle with my weight. Since then I have never felt very comfortable in my own skin. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, highs and lows. In high school I became a bit obsessed with being “skinny.” I equated thin with being beautiful and therefore thought the thinner I could be, the better. I remember starving myself and forcing myself to exercise until I felt like I would vomit. It was during this time I began dating my first serious boyfriend (who is now my husband) and thankfully he was not looking for an anorexic girlfriend. Sometimes one of the first things he would ask me when we would get together was “What did you eat today?” His concern was a big reason I stopped obsessing with being super thin and starving myself.
Here is some alarming information:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health girls are more than two and a half times as likely as boys to have an eating disorder. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that 8 million Americans (seven million women and one million men) have an eating disorder.
I am now the mother of two young daughters. Caroline is two and Emma is eight weeks old. I want nothing more for them than to have a positive self-image. The thought of either of my girls developing an eating disorder really scares me. It’s too easy to get caught up with the unattainable expectations that society puts on women to look a certain way. Eat healthy and exercise? Yes. But you should not feel pressure to look like a supermodel!
As I get older, I am becoming more comfortable with who I am and loving myself a little more as well. However, I definitely have low moments where I long to be the size I was in high school or even college and feel bad for my husband because I am not as thin as I once was. That needs to stop. Right here, right now. My body is beautiful – it gave birth to two amazing little girls. I…am…a…goddess! There, I said it, and I will keep saying it until I completely believe it. Until then, I guess I will fake it ’til I make it. But I’m making it a little more every day!
Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder or know someone who has? What advice do you have for other mothers worried about their child(ren) developing an eating disorder (i.e. anorexia or bulimia)?