Saturday 21 November 2015

On Reaching an Age of Acceptance

I feel a little older and wiser these days. I think becoming a mother was a big turning point for me. It helped me to realise which things in life were really important. It taught me not to worry about the little things. And, most importantly, it forced me to appreciate myself for who I was.

Overnight I had become a role model for my daughter. It’s an important job and I’m very aware that how I see myself now will affect how she sees herself in the future. The flaws I show her in my body, she will look for in hers. The things I criticise about myself, she too will view in a negative light. It’s important that I like my body so my daughter can grow up and like hers. It’s my job to be proud, honest and myself so that my daughter can grow up and love herself for who she is, something I want for her more than almost anything else. I don’t want the media’s portrayal of women, girls at school or boys at the pub to make her feel bad herself. I want her to love herself unconditionally, just the way I love her.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, I could be improved pretty easily. I could lose some weight, worry less and maybe even pluck my eyebrows once a week. But those are little issues, things that rarely cross my mind. It’s quite liberating to be free from the self-consciousness of youth. To know that this is who I am and to not want for anything differently. I don’t yearn for plastic surgery, I don’t want have any need for laser tattoo removal and I don’t spend hours staring sadly in the mirror and wondering why I don’t look as good as I want to.  Instead, I have reached an age of acceptance.

How can you not like the body which housed, birthed and nourished your children? It’s pretty hard to criticise your body with any sincerity when you are still in total awe of its achievements. Every time I look at my daughter, I remember when she was a part of me. When the only hint of her existence was the sensation of bubbles shooting across my tummy that sunny morning in July all those years ago. As I stood by and watched my body change and grow to accommodate for the stranger growing inside me, it was hard not to be impressed at how nature works. Pregnancy changes your body and while I can’t say I wouldn’t swap bodies with my 18 year old self (in a heartbeat), it’s hard to hate the body that gave you someone so wonderful.

I know that my face will grow wrinkly, that my hair will grey and my body will age, and I guess I’ll deal with those hurdles as I reach them. Perhaps I’ll start dying my hair again, start spending a fortune on skin creams or decide that I’m a little too old to have a tattoo of a daisy on my hip. Who knows? All I know is that right now, I’m happy with myself and trying my best to show my daughter that.

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