Ramblings of a Redhead

Motherhood, Ministry, Marriage, and Messes along the way

A Letter to My Daughter on Body Image

on May 7, 2014

My Dearest Baby Girl,

As I watch you while you sleep, all I can do is think about how absolutely beautiful and completely perfect you are. Your sweet, round cheeks, and your long delicate eyelashes are breathtaking. The tiny little hairs on your head stick up in all different directions, but I don’t smooth them down. You are a jewel. You are the apple of my eye, and more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed. You’re only seven months old, and already you have your Daddy wrapped around that itty bitty finger.

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I wish it could stay this way.

I wish I could shield you from every insecurity that you will have about yourself over your lifetime. But, I can’t. I can’t protect you from mean kids on the playground. I can only teach you how to deal with them, and to not be like them. I can only speak the truth to you over and over – the truth that you are a beautiful creation.

Sweet girl, let me tell you a bit about your mother. I’ve always struggled with how I look, but I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’d like to share with you. Knowing these things won’t save you from every doubt and worry about your appearance. You may still change outfits three times before you head to your first day of high school, but hopefully if I tell you these things now it may help you little on your way.

Last night I was flipping through some of my old college pictures, and my heart just broke. I was looking at this girl and remembering all the things she used to tell herself – how fat she was, how bad her makeup looked, how imperfect…etc. etc. I’m not sure what she was complaining about, because to tell you the truth, she looked pretty good back then! I wish I could’ve seen myself with the eyes I have now; I’m not sure exactly what’s changed, but maybe my new perspective is from being a mother.

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You see, the main problem I had back then (and still struggle with now) was comparing myself to other people. The first thing I want you to know is YOU ARE NOT ANYONE ELSE.

I will never, ever, never be a petite girl. It seems like I always stand a head taller than my friends. My shoulders are wide, and my hips narrow. I have red hair, and a fair complexion. I will never be blonde, and I will never have a tan. I may add to my freckle collection, but that’s about it. And, guess what? I’m okay with that! It’s nice to be able to reach things on the highest shelf, and it’s nice to be stopped in the grocery store by a random person who compliments my hair color. It’s nice TO BE ME. I can’t change those things, so why not embrace them? They are what make me one of a kind.

The second thing I’d like to tell you is to CHILL. THE HECK. OUT.

I mean really. If I could tell my college self one thing, it’d probably be this one. It is not that serious. I promise you, in ten years it is highly unlikely that anyone will remember your favorite outfit. In my lifetime, I’ve wasted so much time in front of the mirror, it’s embarrassing! Go out there and live life. Stop worrying about every little detail, and just enjoy your day! It’s not worth stressing out over. So what if a hair is out of place? So what if your eyeliner is smudged? You’ll live through it, and be better because of it. There are more important things to cultivate than your face, like, you know, your mind.

The last thing, and maybe the most important one is YOU ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS. And, so is everyone else.

Right now, I’m not 100% happy with my physical appearance. I’ve had two babies in the last three years, and could stand to lose a few pounds. I won’t, however, feel bad about this – I look this way because I have been blessed with the two most precious gifts! I do want to get rid of this extra weight, but for much better reasons than to be skinny or to look good. I want to be healthy. I want to be a good example for you and your brother. I want to spend as many years with your father as possible. It will likely take some time to reach my goals, and that’s okay! It is a process. Life is a process.

And, I’m sure I’ll never be perfect. Somewhere along the way our culture has told us that we should not look like mothers. I disagree with that. Motherhood is beautiful in and of itself. End of story.

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Baby girl, I want you to know that you are incredible. You are lovely. I hope I can help you navigate this journey to womanhood. It won’t be easy, I’m sure, but nothing that’s worth it ever really is.

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