Courtesy of Allison Cooper

It Took Having A Daughter For Me To Love My Own Body

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Dear beautiful, beautiful daughter of mine,

My entire life, I’ve struggled with my body image. The women in my life were always measuring their food, counting calories, and comparing pant sizes. Whenever my grandmother would take us out to lunch, we were asked to “go out for a salad,” as if our womanly figures were never capable of consuming anything else. If we wandered from the leafy green section of the menu, we got the evil eye.

For this reason, I internalized body image norms at a young age. I knew what I was expected to eat and not eat to maintain the shape I had or wanted. I worked out and was active all through my childhood and into my adult years, but like the rest of the women in my family, I carried my extra weight in my midsection and was forever on a mission to cut calories and make it go away. My body issues ate away at me — until I had you. I refuse to pass down my body issues to you, because you are and will always be perfect just the way you are.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper

Before I had you, I spent years trying to rid myself of my insecurity.  I worked little by little to change these self-loathing behaviors on the outside by replacing them with self-love, but no one knew what went through my mind or how hard I was on myself. You wouldn’t catch me staring in the mirror, pinpointing my flaws, or ever saying out loud how much I despised my body, but that didn't mean those feelings weren't still there. Your dad was always so sweet, building my confidence up every chance that he got, but all that love didn't make those feelings disappear.

I realized I needed to stop putting on a show of body acceptance. I needed to actually believe that my body was and is beautiful, so I could help teach you to do the same.

It wasn’t until I found out that I was pregnant with you that I took a cold, hard look at myself and decided that enough was enough. My behavior needed to change, and it was up to me to turn things around. I refused to let you inherit my body issues. I needed to change and become more aware of the messages I sent into the world and to you, because I realized I wanted you to grow up feeling proud of yourself and your accomplishments. I realized I needed to stop putting on a show of body acceptance. I needed to actually believe that my body was and is beautiful, so I could help teach you to do the same.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper

Since you were born, I’ve been working on loving myself more, and I hope that has made an impact on you. I practice affirmations every single day, and when something doesn’t look the way that I want it to, I find something else about myself to focus on that makes me feel wonderful instead. I've done my best to erase all that inner negativity and although it’s not always easy, I keep pushing forward because of you.

I want you to look in the mirror and love yourself the way I never did.

I want you to look in the mirror and love yourself the way I never did. I don’t want you to question if something looks right on your body or ever struggle with self-confidence. I want you to wake up every single day knowing and believing you are beautiful and wonderful from the inside out. I want you to face the world with self-confidence oozing from your every pore, because you know your worth and won’t let anyone change that. You are always more than any number on a scale or size tag. Always.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper

Having you has enabled me to open my eyes and really understand how to love myself. I promise to lead by example from here on out and be your source of positivity and guidance whenever you need it, because I know that being a girl can be really, really tough. But my sweet girl, know how much you are loved, and please always, always love yourself the same way. You are a prize — so go on, put yourself on a pedestal.

Love,

Mom