- I grew up hearing my mother talk negatively about herself and deny that she had any talents or beauty.
- When I first got pregnant I was hoping it was a boy because I didn’t feel ready to be a mom to a girl.
- I’m still working on my own negative talk, but I now realize that both my mom and I are doing our best.
My mother is a beautiful woman and she always has been. She’s creative. She used to write me poems on my birthday, and to this day I still remember them: “Nine is good, while it’s mine.” We always told her to work for Hallmark because the way she writes can move you to tears.
She has such a warm character. At the dental office where she works, people often compliment her on whether she wants to be their dental hygienist.
I could fill pages with all the wonderful gifts and talents she has beyond her physical beauty, but if you asked her she would probably laugh or say something to downplay or even deny that she has any talents or beauty.
Her negative self-talk is mandatory. It just happens, and it felt completely normal to me. But as I grew up and tried to stop my own negative talk, I found myself frustrated that she hadn’t done the same.
I didn’t feel ready to have a girl
When I became pregnant with my first child, I remember feeling relieved to have a boy. I didn’t feel ready to take on the responsibility of raising a girl, or more, so I didn’t want the responsibility of raising a girl.
I didn’t feel ready to be the role model woman I wanted to be for a daughter. I didn’t want my daughter to hear my negative self-talk in her head. I didn’t want her to feel like it was normal to downplay herself.
I imagined being this tough mom who never needed makeup, never even felt like she was under. But I still struggled with a constant desire to shrink myself, to lose weight, to stay young and thin forever. I wasn’t ready to smash my scale with a hammer and exclaim that I was more than the number on the scale – no matter how hard I tried to fake it until I could make it.
I still had days where I didn’t want to get dressed because I thought I looked awful in everything I chose.
I got help from a therapist
Although I was glad I didn’t have to figure everything out right away, I started working on my self-esteem after the birth of my son. I found a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in women’s mental health, body image, anxiety, and depression.
She helped me on the right track and provided me with valuable guidance. I started paying attention to my negative self-talk. I posted pictures of my postpartum body online with loving captions. I put stickers on my mirrors that say ‘you are beautiful’. I started running and for the first time set a fitness goal that had nothing to do with weight loss. I started to dig into my beliefs about what I should and shouldn’t eat.
And despite much progress, three years later, when I welcomed my daughter, I still didn’t feel ready to give her the mother she deserved. She’s turning 2 soon and I still haven’t become the never flinching, always self-loving woman I want to be for her, and despite my best efforts, I’m not sure I ever will be.
I’ve accepted that I’m a mother, but I’m also human, and that’s how I see my own mother.
We all do our best and I hope that one day my children see that I did my best.