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January 30, 2006

Comments

bob

Good Day, My daughter has put on the freshman 15 in her 1st yr of college. How can I tackfully tell her to lose these extra pounds? Thank you,
bob in texas

enigma

In my opinion every woman has problem with kilos, but one pays attention to it,other not.I agree with you,the only way to hide your figure is wearing maternity clothing and may be pregnancy is the best time for women who eat a lot.

R

You organized my fears and doubts into eloquent words. At 30 years old I wish I could say I've figured it out and it's all behind me now. But I can't. I'm never not petrified for the emotional health of my daughter and I'm never not secretly hating/abusing myself. The smile I wear makes my family stop worrying so I can loathe myself in peace. I want to scoop my child up and hide her away until she's grown and her self image is secure and sense of worth intact.

Dan

To help with creating a better image for our daughters and making it known - see Dad & Daughters website for inspiration, encouragement and direction!

http://www.dadsanddaughters.org/

Helping my daughter have a better self image and giving her confidence from spending time with her have made a huge impact and I am very thankful!

GraceD

"Friendofmom", that didn't fly.

Simply put, you don't understand the act of testimony, of coming forth with one's difficult truth. Instead, you appointed yourself as the so-called rescuer whose glorious mission was "to urge Chris to get the therapy and/or drugs to cure herself of her body dysmorphic disorder" and "to encourage her toward action and change beyond admission."

Please. I've heard that one before, many times over, from people who "wanted to help."

Want to help?

Then back off from using loaded words like "hypocrisy".

Watch your snark in snippy remarks like "I really hope that you are kidding when you say you are self conscious about wearing a size 2. Your daughter might be -- gasp! --a size 8, you know."

Check in your arrogance before you enter this sacred place, DotMoms, where mothers come to share and be real.

Finally, don't be a troll.

Chris? We got your back.

friendofmom

Hi GraceD -- thanks for your comments. I do indeed have a heart, and had a mom who suffered from alcoholism and manic depression. Unfortunately I am well versed with mental illness. The point of my post was to urge Chris to get the therapy and/or drugs to cure herself of her body dysmorphic disorder. While it is noble and brave to admit your problems in a blog, without effective action, it doesn't do daughters any favors. Moms need to learn to truly model healthy body images to their daughters, not just project them. I am not judging Chris. But I do want to encourage her toward action and change beyond admission.

GraceD

Chris, bravo to you for the well crafted, earnest and unflinching testimony of your struggle. I admire your willingness to come forward and share what likely feels extremely uncomfortable and shaming to admit. All of us who strive to be as sincere and clear in our writings owe you deep respect and admiration. All of us who battle our inner demons as you do must reach out in solidarity and sisterhood.

And this is why I must challenge commenter #6, "friendofmom", in her choice of damning language:

"My point is that we all have to 'grow up' about our sizes...She will sense your...hypocrisy..."

Further, this commenter tried to cut you some slack in writing that this "hyprocrisy" may not be "maliciously meant."

These are aggressive words, not unlike the cruel remarks I have received from supposed well meaning people who wanted to 'help' me during my bouts with depression with downright mean remarks like:

"You've always been such a drama queen."

"Why don't you just snap out of it?"

"Get over yourself."

Now, how am I to respond to all of that? Spring up and say, "Hey! You're right! Your bullying has cured my blues!" ?

Right.

Depression and body dysmorphic disorder are complex conditions requiring appropriate therapy and, often, medication. Individuals with such conditions also require unconditional support from people who are willing to listen without wanting to fix.

Finally, when someone brave and noble like Chris stands and delivers a soul baring admission, our duty is to bear witness, not pass judgement.

I hope you can find the spirit of solidarity and honor in your heart, "friendofmom". If you can't, I urge you to go look for your heart.

BusyHSmom

To "friendofmom": I think that what you don't understand is this...people who struggle with this do NOT look at others and think "BoY! She must be a size 6. Isn't she getting big!" Other people, both large and small, look just fine to them. It is their OWN body image that they struggle with. I once told my friend that she was as thin as my 13-year-old daughter (who is a tall, thin, size 2). For the life of her, she would not believe me. She really could not see it. When she looks in the mirror, she just sees fat, fat, fat. However, she looks at me (a much curvier gal than she) and will truly think that I look great! I don't think that Chris will ever look at her daughter and judge her by her weight. The concern (I believe) is that she overcomes her struggle with this issue so that her daughter will not emulate it. Also, that we, as a society do not continue to promote the idea that our value and worth are to be found in how we look. I hope that this might help some who don't get it.

Christine

I am a woman and a mother who has struggled with weight issues all my life and can relate to what you wrote. However, one thing in the article really stuck out in my mind - form-fitting maternity clothes. While I was pregnant, 2 years ago, all I read were articles on celebrities showing off their pregnant bellies and about gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Are unattainable standards of beauty seeping into the maternity arena? This is one fashion trend that I resent.

Andrea

As someone who's made the journey from size 12 to 22 a few times, and been overweight nearly all of my life, I appreciate your writing this. My self esteem and fitness level have always been independently variable from my dress size, which seems illogical. Yet I have come to realize from posts like yours that yes, even a size 2 can feel bad about her body; it's not just me. It is so sad that these feelings are so common, and yet I take some strength from knowing you're there, too.

coronita

This is such a relevant post! Thank you.

Maria

Funny - I have these thoughts a lot too. I'm not officially over weight, but 3 kids in 5 years has taken me from a size 4 petite (a temporary condition when I had time to work out and the desire) to a size 12 that I'm not at all happy with. Now that I have a daughter I work very hard to serve healthy meals, be active w/my kids and keep my size issues to myself. I don't want her to be as worried about her weight as I am.

friendofmom

Reading the comments has been very interesting. I do, in fact, get it: I am a size 12 mom who had a size 20 mom and now have a size 8 daughter. My point is that we all have to "grow up" about our sizes -- if you stress to your daughter that a healthy and strong body is what is important, not its size, you are passing along the right message. But you can't do it just for your daughter, because she will know that she don't really believe it. She will sense your disgust at those size 2 clothes and your hypocrisy, however genuinely felt and not maliciously meant, will confuse her. Don't do it for your daughter, Chris -- do it for you, and she will truly understand the message.

Michelle

Just wanted to chime in to say that I've been there. Now I have a daughter, too, and I think about this stuff a lot.

Elizabeth

Being a *truly* overweight person, I DO get it.

I have been fit/thin/shapely/portly and now obese - and the negative feelings have NEVER changed with my size. To teach and have girls grow-up (and boys/men) w. less (no)focus on body/weight would be a dream come true. Our health; physical AND mental, and emotional is THEE most important. TO accept that a size 2 woman feels the same mental anguish as an obese woman would be a beginning (friendofmom).

Thank you for writing this, Chris!

Lana

Great post, Chris. I doubt that there are few of us 'priviledged' women who haven't at least once felt lousy for not measuring up to the distorted media images. While it may be impossible to fully protect your daughter from the onslaught, your post shows that you're at least helping her to build the essential weapon to fend it off: a solid foundation of self-esteem.

LauriJon

Chris, what a courageous post. And yes, loving yourself is the best thing you can do for your daughter! She'll love you for it too! Thanks for being so honest and know that we all love you.

Tina

The best thing you can do for your daughter is to not care enough about Lindsey Lohan to know what size she is or Paris Hilton or (insert any Hollywood name). I did the anorexia thing as a young girl and when I recovered I opted out and haven't looked back. I simply don't buy those magazines that airbrush their cover girls and celebrate unhealthy body image. It's all a big lie.

keira

wonderful, honest post! sadly, i get it too.

Jess

Good for you, Chris. I would have said that every woman out there can identify with this post, but then I read that oblivious comment by friendofmom. Let's leave it at 99%, then.

I applaud you for setting a good example for your daughter. As a size-12 college student with a size-6 mom and size-4 sister, I know how it feels. I have never been truly overweight and have always been healthy, but I'm also naturally bigger and stronger than the other women in my family, with my larger breasts, broader shoulders, and thicker thighs, which means I saw myself as 'fat' for a very long time. I was finally able to put aside (most of) my doubts about my body when I got into athletics. I cross my fingers that when I have kids one day, that they'll enjoy sports too. I really think it helps promote a positive self-image, physical and otherwise. I still avoid wearing two-piece bathing suits, but I'm far less body-conscious than I was as a teenager.

Again, kudos for bringing up such a difficult topic, and for looking it in the face and staring it down every day. You go, girl!

Melora

This is something I also think about. I've been a size 2, although for me that was a skinny, happy size, and now my clothes are size 6 to (gasp) 12, depending on the brand. My clothing size no longer defines me, but I remember with frightening clarity the years consumed by obsession with food, when a "good day" was a day in which I had eaten very little food. You are so right about how lucky we are to be raising our children in a relatively safe environment, and, still, I also worry about my beautiful, self-confident daughter, and pray that, somehow, she will keep her appearance in proper perspective and be happy with herself.
Cordially,
Melora

HolyMama!

thank you for this. i'm there, all of it, right now.

HolyMama!

thank you for this. i'm there, all of it, right now.

Sarah

Chris, excellent post.
Thank you for your honesty...and I GET IT! It is so hard to put into words and you have done a great job...I see that my unhealthy attitude about my own body is inherited from my mother and I am trying so hard to instill something better, healthier, happier in my daughter, too...

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