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Thursday, July 11, 2013

I've thought of that moment, what would I do? It came. I think I did it right.

I've talked before about raising daughters, about it's challenges, about body image talk and how I have to be so careful because their little brains are so maleable, so moldable---soaking every little thing in. It's hard.

It's hard to change your way of thinking, of certain verbiage. It's hard to change your tune away from saying words like skinny or fat and replacing them with healthy and strong, but we do that here, now. We're really careful about it. On the random occasion those words are thrown around (cough::my mom::cough:: example, Look at you all skinny and fit!) I try to gently correct back to healthy. Being healthy. (In her defense, she's just being nice to me, and doing what moms do. :) )

ANYWAY.

All this to say--even I am retraining my brain away from all that stuff. Away from being self-deprecating or poking at my flawed areas and being critical, and only caring about the scale. Rather, trying to notice the slow, gradual changes and feel good knowing my hard work is responsible for it.

So the other day, I had this random itchy rash on my body. I used a new body wash that had honey in it, and I'm pretty sure I reacted to that. Emeline was curious and I was sitting in the bathroom, when she asked to see. I lifted up my shirt and showed her the hardly-noticeable-to-the-eye itchy rash on my belly.

See that? Right there. It itches mommy.

      Oh I'm so sorry, mom!

Then I saw her eyes as she noticed them. My stretchmarks. They live under my belly button area. They're faded, but they're still very much there.

      What are 'dem? You have a boo-boo, mom?


(hard to see them as well here, I tried to get them highly visible-
trust me, deep and very there--)
In this moment I knew would come one day, I thought--this is it. This is my make it or break it moment. Katie, be The Mom, the example you wanna be for your daughter. Don't sink into the trap of I hate my ugly stretchmarks and for the love, don't you dare make a face, or an "ugh" or sigh in disgust. In other words, blazing letters came flashing in my head, DO NOT SCREW THIS UP.

Oh, those? Those are called stretchmarks.

She repeated me, saying something that resembled the word, but not quite getting it.

        But, what are 'dem?

Then that's when I told her. I told her they're the marks my body gave me when she was a tiny baby inside me. I reminded her of what it was like when Lucy was inside my belly last summer. She giggled as she remembered. I told her how my belly has to stretch out reeeeal far to make room for her. And these are the marks that my body made so I could always, always remember how special it was to be pregnant with my girls'.

She replied with a content "Ohhhh!" and a giggle. Seeming very much intrigued yet happy with that answer. Happy to learn about such a little history in the form of marks under my belly button.

And just like that, she was bopping around the bathroom onto the next thing.

I thought to myself, you did it. 

I knew the day would come and she would be curious of my stretchmarks. What those marks on my belly were and why were they there. I knew how easy it would be for me to make a disgusted face like I do with my girlfriends or my sister when I talk about them. When I talk about how wearing a two piece will never be the same, or how hard I may work but these darn marks will never go away.

But I always hoped I wouldn't leak any of that to my daughters.

One day maybe I can be as accepting of these history marks as my kid was. She may only be 3, unable to wipe her butt properly or blow her nose without a little help, but somehow I still learn from her every single day.

***

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34 comments:

  1. You nailed it sister. AND you look awesome. Definitely looking healthy, fit, and skinny ;) Sorry, had to say it. Great job on being such a role model for your girls in word and action. I hope I can do it as gracefully as you!

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  2. Snap. You did good Momma. Hell, I have stretchmarks and no kids and I make the same face every Carl traces them. I need to condition myself to not be so negative. After all, I got them from losing weight, but whether it's that, kids, or anything else - tiger stripes baby.

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  3. Unable to wipe her butt properly! bahahahha! Keeping things in perspective, yes!
    I have stretch marks on my back,upper thigh area, which I cannot see, so I pretend they are not there. And I hope Avery never gets close to seeing or we will have lot more questions than just about stretch marks. The weirdest place I have them? My fupa.

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  4. Beautiful post Katie. I have them too and when my daughter gets old enough, I hope I handle it as well as you did. You look fabulous...I'm working on getting my body back after my 2nd. Hard work, but it SO worth it to feel great. Keep up the awesome work mama!

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  5. Love this. I always worry too about raising (a daughter). You just want them to be confident and brave and beautiful. Not to worry about there image or that of their friends and family. I hope I have the grace and tact to raise my daughter as beautifully as you are raising yours! Congrats on a job well done! :)

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  6. Yes mama. So proud of the way you're raising your girls and trying to change those labels! It's good perspective that I def need to have more! Love you!!!

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  7. I teared up a little thinking about how I will respond when my kids see mine. Mine aren't very noticeable either, but they're there. And that's ok :) I think you're taking the right approach by saying "healthy" and "fit" as opposed to skinny. I think that's important.

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  8. WHat a beautiful story... be proud... you are a mama, you grew babies, and those are just tiny reminders :)

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  9. You rocked that response, girl!! This is a post that every mama should read! Nice job!

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  10. Love this! I try to be so positive about body image, but the stretch marks are hard for me. Thanks for the inspiration to embrace them - for my daughter and myself.

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  11. This just made my eyes well up. I am so proud of you. What a great way to explain it to your little lady. Beautiful Katie.

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  12. You handled that really well, good for you! My son asked about my stretch marks when I was pregnant with my daughter. He said, "you have owie's mama?" and I told him that they were there because my belly was growing a baby and that they didn't hurt me, just reminded me of my beautiful babies.

    Since having kids I'm really careful about what I say and how I act about appearances. I was (and still am) a little apprehensive about raising a daughter just because of all the pressures that are put out there about appearance. It's important that boys receiving positive messages both for their own sake as well as for the sake of what they're going to put out there for women, but I feel like teaching self-love and acceptance to a girl is such a major undertaking in the face of how our society is about appearance, especially for that of women.

    Maybe our generation can be the one that is truly mindful about what we put out there and change the tide!

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  13. I've been thinking about this too and even in a simpler way I think. This article I read had me thinking about the way we talk to girls in general. How we say "oh aren't you pretty" instead of "oh you're so smart, or so strong". It's hard to change the way you think/talk. I've been much more conscious of what I'm saying to my one and a half year old since reding it. I think you are doing an amazing job!

    Here's the article if you're interested. http://latinafatale.com/2011/07/21/how-to-talk-to-little-girls/

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  14. Way to go Katie! You are raising those girls up so well.

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  15. Good for you sister! Good for you! You did a great job! I try so hard even with a boy, to not be critical of myself or others. I want him to have a postive outlook on others and himself, and I think this starts very young. Good job momma!

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  16. I think you did a great job! I totally know what you mean about being extra careful of the verbiage we use around our kids when talking about things. I'm really trying hard myself to change my way of thinking, like you said. I think if we can manage to do that we won't have to be as careful because it will just become more natural. It's just hard to change so many years of habit.

    I've been waiting and trying to mentally prepare for the day my girls ask about my stretch marks. I have them from my upper thighs all the way to just below my ribs, so there's not a lot of hiding while dressing and what not. Hopefully I'll do as well as you did when the time comes.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  17. Kudos to you - it sounds like you nailed it! From your answer to Emeline and the example you and your husband are setting for your girls, and everything in between, you are an inspiration to moms everywhere (at least to me)! If I am ever blessed with a little girl, I hope that I remember this answer. I so enjoy reading your blog - thanks for sharing!

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  18. You did great :) I think that's one of the biggest challenges of raising girls is trying to find the right ways to say things when talking about looks/body image etc.

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  19. The way you explained that is perfect. You are amazing.

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  20. (Your tummy looks awesome and very healthy btw!) :)

    You did nail it! Go you! And I doubt anyone can predict the difference things like this will make in your girls' lives. They will be confident in their bodies and will also probably be a positive influence on their friends growing up too. My stretch marks go all the way up around my belly button practically to my boobs and Nathan and I have already had a similar conversation about them. I'm hoping to train his little brain to see the beauty in such things. all are sort of brainwashed in this area because I've noticed when Nathan crushes on a little girl my first remark is "is she pretty?" Like teasing him or I make a comment on her looks (mainly because I don't know anything about these girls because I only see them) but lately I've realized how much of how my boys see women starts RIGHT now and right here in the home when he is littlo next time Nathan blushes and talks about a little girl I'll ask if she is nice and funny and what he likes about her etc.
    (So sorry for the lack of paragraphs and the typos- I can never edit these comments on my phone grr)

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  21. Love this post! I don't comment often, but your blog is one of my favorites.

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  22. Way to go mama!!! I worry about the day my little ones ask (I have 2 boys...no the same but still). I found an e card about stretch marks and it has become my motto! They are my tiger stripes and I have earned everyone!!! I may hate them but they are apart of my story. Back-to-back kids and the last weighing 10 lbs 5 oz my body had to do some amazing things. They are the reminder of the beautiful little boys that are mine. You are such an inspiration in so many ways! Thank you for always being truthful and telling it how it is!

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  23. you gave her the perfect answer and I may have to remember it when my girls ask me, they are very much into asking questions about everything. Like why I have a few "red bumps" {acne} on my face.

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  24. Boys and girls certainly have their separate challenges, but I feel like raising girls (a girl) would be so much more challenging, being one, and knowing the pressures we face, us girls. Maybe I'll stop at 2 "boy kids" afterall. ;) I kid. But seriously. Sounds like you're doing things right - not that I'm the pro or anything!

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  25. Awesome! Way to Go! Raising daughters to be "happy" with their body is very hard but this is one MOMent that she'll remember, deep inside her heart, and be proud of the way she looks.

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  26. What beautiful answer to that question. My stretch marks don't really bother me (and I have a TON), it's my squishy c-section belly that bothers me. However, I have had no questions from my girl yet. She's seen my belly, but she just likes to kiss it. Haha. You did great momma!

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  27. I too have been trying to not use words like skinny or fat around Madison, it's hard to retrain! Good for you and handeling this so well!

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  28. I have a huge love/hate relationship with my stretch marks... I love them because they remind me every single day of the amazing gifts that God has given me. I hate them because oh boy do they itch like crazy still + no they're not pretty. I am a mom though and I will always be a mom until the day I die and so I have a bigger love for them. I am not strong enough to go around showing them to people yet, but I still am not to a point where I love my body yet. I am still working on loving myself but I will never let my children know that. I want Zane to respect every woman + not judge people on the way they look! I want him to love everyone and make friends regardless of what size, color, shape, etc they are! And for Lilah... oh man there is so much I want for her. I want her to always know that she's beautiful no matter what! I love her more than words and she's more beautiful than anyone I've ever met.

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  29. Great post. I need to have your way of thinking!

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  30. LOVE this! I try so hard (with my belly full of scars) to be proud of them and teach Miss S how remarkable our bodies are. It is tough. It is intense concentration every single day. I love how you handled this situation. You're fabulous.

    xoxo.

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  31. You done good, Momma. In more ways than one... ;-)

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  32. Good job, Katie. My stomach is all stretched out beyond repair and my girls always ask why it's that way. I explain to them that they all lived in there for a long time and grew big enough to be born into the world. They think it's so cool to see how much they stretched and 'grew' inside of me.

    Kids are wonderful reminders of what is truly important in life...and it's not a flat, firm, stretch-mark free stomach. ;)

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  33. What a mom you are. I know that if I have a daughter in my future, I'm going to face that moment too, and I'm going to think back on the way that you're raising your daughters and try to give my kids that good body image we're all supposed to have, to be ok in our skin. Thanks for showing me that it's possible!

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  34. Monroe asked me this a while ago. Funny how they notice so much.

    You know what I think is so cool about this story? You may have made a life long impression on her. She may even look forward to her own stretch marks one day because she'll remember her mama talking about the way she got them and remembering that sweet time when she was pregnant with her babies. Maybe you're turning things around, Katie.

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