I am so excited to be bringing you into the world! I feel honored to be your mother, and I can’t wait until I get to see your face, hold you in my arms, and play with your little toes.
There are lots of beautiful things to see when you get here. The ocean, for instance, is vast and filled with incredible creatures. Your daddy and I got to swim in a reef with a grown turtle once, and someday we’ll take you and your brother to swim there too!
I wish I could say that the world I’m bringing you into is only filled with good things, but unfortunately, it isn’t. Ever since Adam and Eve ate that apple, people have been hurting each other and feeling superior to one another. Others will judge you more often by the way you look than by your character, and as a woman, it’s something you’ll eventually have to get used to. Many girls develop a low body image at a young age, and it can negatively affect their health and happiness throughout their entire lives.
You won’t notice this about me, because all you’re going to see when you look at me is the mommy you love, but I’m not content with the way I look. I’m more content than I once was, but the insecurity I felt as a teenager hasn’t completely gone away, yet. But I also know worrying about your appearance will only bring you misery, and even if you are born with great beauty, it will be fleeting. God created you exactly the way you are for a reason, and it wasn’t for the approval of men.
My influence will matter far, far more to you than any pressure you get from your peers, the media, or other adults in your life. I know, for instance, that if I worry and obsess about my weight, you are more likely to worry and obsess about yours. If I’m critical about my appearance, then you will soak that up, and one day, you will be repeating those same criticisms to yourself. I want, more than anything else, to equip you with the tools you’ll need so that you can stand up to the body image pressure you will face one day as an adolescent. So, here are some promises that I will do my best to keep to you:
1. I promise to never criticize my own appearance in front of you.
2. I promise to stop weighing myself. Many scientists have said recently that weight-to-height ratios aren’t good indicators of health, because they don’t take muscle mass or fat distribution into account. And as a woman, your hip and bust measurement won’t matter for your health either – those numbers are all genetic. In order to be healthy, all you need to measure is your waist – and as long as your waist measurement is equal to or less than half your height, you’re healthy, no matter what size you wear or what you weigh.
3. I promise to model a healthy diet for you, while at the same time, enjoying occasional splurges without feeling shame. You should enjoy food without associating guilty feelings with it. Eat your broccoli at dinner, and when you are out with your friends, enjoy an ice cream cone, and don’t feel bad about it.
4. I promise to praise you more often for the things you do than for the way you look. You may find this hard to believe, but your mom used to be kind of passive. I was once like a leaf on a river, floating wherever the current took me. I may have stayed that way forever, but one day, the current led me off a waterfall. Sometimes, God lets us feel the consequences of our actions so that we can learn from our mistakes. I could have been crushed, but I made it through – and I learned a valuable lesson. What you do is more important than how you look, and if you want something, you have to make it happen. Be your own fairy godmother, and make your dreams come true.
5. I promise to never, ever, EVER put you on a diet. Diets are not helpful. They are harmful. They teach you to ignore your body’s natural hunger signals and to deprive yourself of the nutrients you need as a growing girl. Other than the vegetables your dad and I will force you to eat at dinner, you will always be able to eat as much food as you need to feel full.
I will do my best to keep these promises to you, but if I make mistakes, know that I love you, and when I mess up, it’s not your fault. You will always be my little girl, and I will always love you.
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