We've been body brainwashed
My 5 year old daughter LOVES her body. She loves everything about it - she told me the other day that one of the freckles on her arm is "SO cool."
It is heartening and heart breaking.
As adult women we've been bombarded for almost our whole lives with the message that our bodies are never good enough. It's exhausting, it's controlling, and it's something that with every fiber of my being I can't stand having my daughter (or son) be defined by.
It's something that's come up in every single one of our circles. How pregnant bodies seem to be an invitation to comment - "Are you sure its not twins?" "You don't even look pregnant!" "You're gaining too much/too little weight." Or how in a pandemic we feel truly invisible even though we're literally growing a human being.
Then we're supposed to "get our body back" after giving birth - like it's something we've lost instead of something that grew and birthed a baby (or two or more). Even though we did the most amazing thing in the world, we still feel devastated when our clothes don't fit or someone's judgmental comment brings our insecurities roaring back.
Disrupting this system and changing our own thought patterns is HARD. But living in a system that benefits off of our body shame, that keeps women, minorities, and differently abled people out of positions of power, is so much worse.
So I've been reading, thinking, and having tough conversations - in our circles, with my kids, and even with my own mom. It's hard and messy and at the moment is bringing up more questions than answers. But the un-learning process has also provided me with new tools to disrupt the system and lessen its impact on our family.
One of my most recent discoveries was the incredible Sonya Renee Taylor - founder of The Body is Not an Apology and a book of the same name (purchase from your local independent book store!). You can also listen to some of her wisdom on the wonderful Brené Brown's podcast. She writes:
Think of body shame like the layers of an onion. For decades in our own lives and for centuries in civilization, we have been taught to judge and shame our bodies and to consequently judge and shame others. Getting to our inherent state of radical self-love means peeling away those ancient, toxic messages about bodies. It is like returning the world’s ugliest shame sweater back to the store where it was purchased and coming out wearing nothing but a birthday suit of radical self-love.
Are you ready to return the shame sweater? Or at least to pull a thread and begin the unraveling process?
The amazing Michael Vostal is hosting a Body Confidence Guided Meditation tomorrow at 12:30 - all proceeds benefit Mamatoto Village. Join in community with other women, reconnect with your body, and access your inner confident self. Can't attend live? All registered participants will also receive a recording of the meditation.
We'd also love to hear your small acts of resistance - here are a few examples from moms in our circles:
We'd love to hear yours.
Photo by Ash Luna of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project
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