Body image By Francesca Leigh
I have been considering this a lot recently. Every morning, Luna stands in her cot and watches as I get dress and stand in front of the mirror doing my make up. (This makes it sound like I have a regime and make an effort; in actual fact I just stick a bit of mascara on and some foundation to cover my tired skin.) The other day I was considering what my response will be when Luna asks if she can wear make up.
Chances are she will be too young for if but what reason do I give? Only grown ups wear it? Mama needs it to look nice? You are already beautiful and don’t need make up? While I definitely don’t think I am attractive, I’m not sure that’s an appropriate response either. I don’t want Luna to think that I have a negative body image as I don’t want to pass that onto her. I struggle a lot with how I look but I’m trying hard to embrace it. I can’t do much to change my face!
My weight is also something I struggle with. I don’t have scales in the house as I know I would be on them every day. When I did slimming world, I could tell how much I had lost or gained just by pinching my stomach. I never want Luna to feel like this. I know it’s my responsibility as a parent to teach her to love herself and her body, to show her responsible TV shows and literature, and positive role models. To praise her not only for her physical appearance but for her personality and the wonderful traits she will have. However not letting my own insecurities transfer across I think will be hard.
We live in a society that values beauty. It values appearance. I want to live in a society that values kindness, honestly, selflessness. Maybe because I don't feel like I could ever be classed as beautiful that I haven't had the same experience in life that others have had? It's hard to know what comes first.
I do however know it is my role to raise Luna to not be concerned by these ideals. Being healthy is so much more important than the number on the scales. At present Luna suffers from allergies to milk, eggs, soya and wheat. We are also vegetarian. This means her diet is limited. I am hopefully that being considerate of what she is able to eat, will be seen as a way of maintaining her health, not her weight. I predominately eat the same diet as Luna. Partly because it is easier to make one meal rather than two, but also because she is super healthy! By mimicking her diet, it becomes the norm to her.
As mothers to daughters, we are their view of adult females. Our behaviour shapes theirs. I want to portray a healthy image for her, for her to see everyone looks different and that is ok. To never judge someone for how they look or use unkind words. To see beauty not just as a physical trait, but that inner beauty is where it is at in life.
If anyone has any suggestions on how to navigate this tricky subject, I would love to hear them.