Since giving birth to Celine, 7 short months ago, I haven't shared a lot of happiness with my body.
I know, I know.
This is natural.
But it bugs me that it is natural and so I would like to make it not-so-natural.
It bothers me that my body just did the most incredible thing that the human body is capable of
(creating life and giving birth)
and yet I'm upset with it.
Tell me how that makes sense.
I have my body to thank for safely carrying Celine for nine months.
And now, I have my body to thank for producing milk so that Celine can eat several times a day.
That is a miracle!
I should be showering this thing with compliments and gifts!
But instead, I would look in the mirror and frown...
until yesterday when it dawned on me.
If I frown at myself, Celine will frown at herself.
and that's enough to break my heart into a million pieces.
So, I took a lesson from my daughter.
I placed her in front of the mirror and I watched her as she grinned and giggled at herself.
She gave high-fives and she pulled the silliest of faces.
Never once did she suck in,
pull at this or that,
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a leader in the church to which I belong, once gave a beautiful speech in which he said:
"I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not!"
"if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won't be very surprised when your daughter...does the same thing and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it."
"In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance -- tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled -- those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children...one would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us...because however much one tries in the world of glamour and fashion, it will never be glamorous enough."
I owe my daughter more than what I am currently giving her.
She deserves to know that a little "extra" here and there is a small price to pay to bring her into the world.
I'm not saying I'm going to give up exercise, eating well, and makeup
but I am going to give up the feeling that those things aren't enough.
I am simply making the decision to love myself.
All of myself.
Even the little extras that haven't disappeared since giving birth.
So, for Celine's sake, I will smile.
And I hope that you will smile too.
Our daughters deserve it.
Read all of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk here.