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YOGAaccessories Blog

The Honest Body Project: Body Shaming Mothers

6/4/2015
woman with lower back pain

 

The Honest Body Project.

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t until my sister told me about it. Which I think is a problem, because The Honest Body Project has an amazing message for woman, and I think it deserves to be spread and talked about.

My sister has two amazingly adorable children. I mean, model adorable. A perfect little girl who brings so much light into my life, obsessed doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about her. About 7 weeks ago, my nephew was born. I’m not sure what’s in the water my sister’s drinking, but whatever it is, it’s the recipe for creating beautiful children.

About a week ago, I went to her house for dinner and she was telling me about her struggles with getting rid of the pregnancy weight. “I’ve lost 15 pounds so far, but I’ve got another 15 to go that just won’t seem to budge,” she told me, disheartened. Her husband cut in, “they say you start to lose the weight around 3 months.” 

I could tell this was a conversation they’d had before. He didn’t see any issue with how she looked, but she could only see issue.

15 pounds, to me, seemed great. Aside from telling her that, I kept quiet. I’ve never had children, and can’t relate to what’s she’s feeling. To me, she looks great; but being self-secure isn’t a battle that’s won by other people telling you that you look good. Being self-secure is a battle that can only be won with- you guessed it- yourself.  

I found a link a couple days later that I sent to her, “Real Moms Tell You How To Lose The Baby Weight.” A couple of the submissions had some decent advice, but other ones talked about hiring personal trainers and working out daily with friends, hiring a nutritionist. All of that is great- but realistically, how many women can afford the luxury of time or money to do those?

My sister replied with similar sentiments to my thoughts. A working mother of a toddler and a newborn, my sister (religiously) only eats and cooks organically for her family. She’s awake by 5am, has both children ready to go and on the way to daycare by 7. She’s home from work by 4:30p, where she then makes dinner, bathes both children and gets them to bed by 7p. She explained that within this set routine, it was difficult to find time to work out. Even though she was eating healthily, she had started to feel, in her own words, “really ugly and down on herself.”

That’s when she found The Honest Body Project.

“THBP was created to help women everywhere learn to love their bodies and themselves,” Natalie Mccain, creator of http://thehonestbodyproject.com, writes in the website bio.  

Mccain goes on to explain that she photographs mothers and asks them to share their stories, speaking from the heart without holding themselves back. Their portraits share their joy, imperfection and love for their children. Paired with their stories, these paint an honest and beautiful picture of motherhood.

My sister explained that after finding THBP she began to appreciate her body and be happy. She realizes her body looks the way it does because she created two beautiful babies, and every stretch mark represents that. She wants to be healthy for herself and her children, while making peace with her new body and understanding that it did a lot to look the way it does.

Overjoyed with her breakthrough, I couldn’t agree with her sentiments more; nor be more proud of for her realizing them. As somebody in her early twenties, understanding the changes that motherhood has mentally and physically on a woman is something I can’t relate to. I don’t know what it feels like to gain 30+ pounds, I don’t know what it's like to see yourself grow and change and become frustrated because you can't stop it and don't feel comfortable being in your own body. 

I do know what it feels like, however, to be in total awe of every mother out there. It is completely unacceptable that mothers feel societal pressure to body shame themselves. You have literally created and grown life inside of you… there is nothing more amazing, and you should be celebrating that- never insecure because of it.

Which is exactly what THBP aims to do- celebrate motherhood and every woman's body. Mccain writes, “women around the world need to band together and help instill healthy body images for the new generation of women we are raising.” 

This is where Mccain especially deserves a bravo, because that’s exactly where confidence starts –at home. Telling your child she’s beautiful the way she is but then making negative comments about yourself is sending the exact message you're trying to avoid. She begins to look for the same flaws in herself, and grows up having it already instilled in her mind that it’s bad to have bigger thighs, larger stomachs, or arms; whatever it may be that you’re insecure about. She too will start to look for negatives in her daily appearance, because by being insecure with yourself you’ve already demonstrated to her that women have a right and a wrong way to look. 

 

Screen Shot of HBP Facebook page

 

Ending body shaming and society's obscure and unrealistic standards for women begins first with us choosing to be comfortable and happy in our own skin. Women deserve to be thought of for so much more than simply what our bodies look like. 

I think of my niece and I can't imagine hearing her doubt herself because of her appearance and not be able to see her beauty the way I see it. There is no other title that I would want more than to be her role model for being a self-confident woman who loves herself, and I'm inspired to try and become that. Aren't you, too? 

Follow The Healthy Body Project on Facebook and check out the website to see portraits of real mothers and read their stories, and spread the inspiration! 

 

authors photo Sky Andersen holds down the role of blog writer at Yoga Accessories. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she is passionate about all things writing, photography, travel and of course- yoga. 

 

 
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