How the Tummy Got Its Squish: A Love Story
October 23rd, 2013
“I’ve got to hold onto your belly, Mommy!“
I don’t know about you, but my gut reaction (pardon the pun) to someone clasping my muffin top is to recoil in a flurry of embarrassment and self-deprecation.
I mean, really. The realization that a person – even a small person – can actually grab entire handfuls of your excess body mass is not exactly uplifting.
But I am determined not to pass along any of my body image baggage to my child. I have vowed not to put myself down in her presence, not to whine about my shape, not to make comments about diets or weight. I will not – WILL NOT – refer to myself as fat in her presence.
Because she’s listening, always listening, and it is amazing (and sometimes shocking) how often the words that come out of my mouth return to me, coming out of hers.
So I chuckled and smiled and agreed that my midsection was a great thing to grab onto.
And then I said: “Do you know what I love about my tummy? I grew three kids in this tummy.”
She regarded me thoughtfully and then asked: “Is that why your belly is kinda fat?”
“Yup,” I said. “My tummy needed to get bigger to make room for you, and Buggie, and Little Bird.”
She nodded sagely and replied: “That’s good. You wouldn’t want to smoosh us in there, huh?”
Then she gave me a nudge and ordered me to stop hogging all the water and the conversation was over.
But I’m hoping it left an impression, tucked away deep in the corners of her brain. I’m hoping that some day when she’s looking in the mirror and is dissatisfied with what she sees, she’ll hear my voice whisper in her ear: “I love my squishy tummy because it gave me you.”