How will I raise her?

This morning was a bit of a rough morning; I weighed myself and saw a number higher than I’ve ever seen before. Understand this, I know weight gain is necessary. I also knew this would be one of the hardest parts of pregnancy for me.

I think I officially have to put the scale up. I know what I need to gain, but I also know that If I continue to weigh myself, I will have more mornings like this, and that is going to make for a long 24 weeks.

I don’t know what is going on, but I’ve just been super uncomfortable the last 2 days. Monday I woke up and I swear my stomach tripled in size. I felt horribly uncomfortable in my scrubs all day on Monday. On Tuesday I wore jeans & a maternity tank and that wasn’t much better. The band on the jeans kept rolling down because of my tummy, and it was just uncomfortable.

This uncomfortableness brought me back to a place I haven’t been in a while. A place where all of my thoughts are just consumed by my body, and how uncomfortable I am.

Of course I’ve been uncomfortable over the last 17 weeks, but I’ve done fairly well with tolerating it. I know my growing middle section is par for the course, and I’ve tried hard to embrace that. The last 2 days have just been different – My stomach has just felt different.

So this got me thinking: How am I going to make sure that my own body image issues don’t rub off on my daughter? How can I ensure that she doesn’t feel what I feel. How will I raise her in a way where she feels good about herself?

Please note: I’m not saying ANYTHING about the way I was raised. My Mom is an amazing Mom, and did nothing to contribute to my lack of body love.. It’s just a thing. Girls have it, boys have it. It just happens.

I started doing some research on how to raise a confident little girl {child}. I came across a few tips that I thought were really great:

  • Be a positive role model. Don’t talk negatively about your own body. Try not to be overly focused on your appearance.
  • Listen to your daughter and encourage her to speak her mind.
  • Don’t praise girls solely for their appearance. Praise should be focused on effort and accomplishments.
  • Watch how you talk about other people: Are you judgmental of people’s appearances? Make sure you’re sending a message to your children that it’s what’s inside—especially how we treat others—that defines a person and makes us who we are.

source

From the same article,

It is within the family that a girl first develops a sense of who she is and who she wants to become. Parents armed with knowledge can create a psychological climate that will enable each girl to achieve her full potential. Parents can help their daughters avoid developing, or overcome, negative feelings about themselves and grow into strong, self-confident women.”

Advice on encouragement, from another article

Every child needs the kind of support from loved ones that signals, “I believe in you. I see your effort. Keep going!” Encouragement means acknowledging progress – not just rewarding achievement. So if your child is struggling with a math problem, say: “You’re trying very hard and you almost have it!” instead of “Not like that. Let me do it.”

There’s a difference between praise and encouragement. One rewards the task while the other rewards the person (“You did it!” rather than “I’m proud of you!”).

Praise can make a child feel that she’s only “good” if she does something perfectly. Encouragement, on the other hand, acknowledges the effort. “Tell me about the game. I saw you really hustling out there” is more helpful than saying, “You’re the best player on the team.”

Too much praise can sap self-esteem because it can create pressure to perform and set up a continual need for approval from others. Give your child the message that the effort – and seeing something through to the end – is what’s important.

So dole out the praise judiciously and offer encouragement liberally. That will help your child grow up to feel good about herself.”

Dove {the soap} has a Girls Unstoppable program; while I was browsing their website I found some frightening statistics.

63% of girls would rather be a men’s
magazine model than a doctor, teacher
or nurse
(TheLab, 1000 girls aged 15-19)

Over 60% of girls avoid certain activities
because they feel bad about their looks.
For example:
• 19% won’t try out for a team or club
• 23% won’t go to the beach or pool
• 13% won’t give an opinion
• 15% won’t go to school
(‘The Real Truth About Beauty –
Revisited’, Dove Global study, 2010)

I know that all I can do is the best I can do; but I can try and be prepared and educated to help my daughter navigate through the tricky maze of self-confidence & self-esteem.

Resources:
http://www.babycenter.com/0_ten-ways-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem_67755.bc
http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/how_raise_girls_healthy_selfesteem
http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthaettus/2012/10/11/8-essential-steps-to-raising-confident-girls/
http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/GirlsUnstoppable.aspx?page=pdftracker

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4 thoughts on “How will I raise her?

  1. You’re gonna be a great mommy.

    Psalm 139:13-18
    You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
    You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
    You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
    Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
    How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
    I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
    And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

  2. Jena, the fact that you are aware of the possibility of passing along self doubt and are proactively working to prevent that makes you a fantastic mom. You have the balls to acknowledge it and address it – that is so much more than so many people in this world. This is awesome.

    Put that scale away and rely on the Dr to tell you whats up with your weight gain. I’m right there with you in terms of body image and pregnancy…minus the currently pregnant part. It scares me. I just read a post on Blonde Ponytail about how she isn’t completely happy with her post-baby body but she is working on it. An outlook like that is so much more refreshing than the “my body has changed, but I love it the way it is because look at this beautiful baby” which I call bullshit on. That outlook scares me because I know if I do have kids I’m going to have some serious body image issues and self doubt — I need to know other people are in the same boat! Its okay to have doubt and anxiety about stuff like this…but for the love of all things wonderful, don’t pretend those feelings don’t exist!

    Sorry for the book, but really, I think you are on the right track and I am really glad you are being honest with yourself and with us about how you feel about your body. It gives me hope for the possibility of babies! 🙂

    • I also call bullshit on a lot of stuff I read. I suppose some people really do feel that way, but I don’t have that personality. I’m not a sugar-coater; It doesn’t help me, or anyone else, to pretend like I feel A-okay about everything. It is HARD. The whole thing is just HARD. Oh my gosh, I could go on forever.. I’ll spare you that.. =)

      Trust that you can expect the truth out of me over the coming months – I don’t care what people think, this is my pregnancy, my blog, and I’ll tell it just like it is.

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