I cannot count the number of people I’ve met and stories I’ve read of people everywhere who have body image issues, and not just body image issues because of Hollywood and mass media and the unrealistic depiction of male and female bodies, but rather because… of their own parents. It’s not always about what parents say directly to their children that results in these body image insecurities, but what they do and say to and about themselves. Children of all ages are really perceptive; they pick up on even the subtlest things that their parents do.
I’m grateful and lucky to say that my parents have never tried to make me look any different than I do (well, unless you count the times my mom wanted me to continue having blunt cut bangs or attempted to forbid me from plucking my eyebrows). They’ve never told me that I needed to gain or lose weight, that I was fat or ugly, or that I needed to exercise more/less. My parents are likely some of the least superficial people I know, and so from what I know about them, they’ve never worried a lot about their own appearances. With me, they have only told me that I am beautiful the way I am, and there’s no reason to change what I am. I have friends who have parents who’ve saved money for them to get cosmetic surgery. I also have friends and family members who have been constantly told by their parents that they need to lose weight or are fat. These ideas are all very foreign to me, but I am grateful that my parents have accepted my appearance for what it is.
I thought about this today as I thought about all the women who get self conscious about weight gain during pregnancy. Multiple online pregnancy groups I’ve since unsubscribed to have people obsessing over their weight and how “fat” they are now. But it’s a normal part of life: when you get pregnant, you are literally growing a tiny human, so it should be obvious you will gain weight. It’s been said that someone of average body weight/frame will gain somewhere between 25-35 pounds. I just checked the scale, and it looks like I’m about eight pounds over my usual, pre-pregnancy weight now, which seems steady and on track for being “healthy” while pregnant. I have no idea what my end weight will be, nor do I have any idea exactly how big I will be come labor, but regardless of how I look or feel, I doubt I will get too upset about it because I will just be grateful to have had a, fingers crossed, healthy pregnancy and hopefully healthy birth.