What I Wish I Could Say

Stephen’s parents gave us the book Bringing up Girls, and last night I read the first three chapters. In one chapter, Dr. Dobson says that by ages nine and ten, 40% of girls have already tried to lose weight. I read that and just wanted to cry. Girls shouldn’t be thinking about their weight at ages nine and ten, but I know I was. I was always conscious of my size because I was always the “big girl” in my class. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I wished I could be like the pretty, skinny girls in my classes–the ones who seemed to have the perfect life. But I was just me, an overweight girl in glasses who didn’t have many friends and so instead got lost in the world of books.

I wish I could go back to my nine-year-old self and tell her that she is beautiful, that she is loved and treasured and valued. I wish I could tell her that someday people will like her not for what she looks like but for who she is, and that she will find love in the arms of Christ and later in the arms of her husband. I wish I could tell her not to worry so much about how she looks but to focus instead on building her character and building her faith. I wish I could tell her that the people who made fun of her for being fat or ugly weren’t worth her time, and the ones who were worth her time would never make fun.

Most of all, I wish I could tell her it gets easier, but honestly, it hasn’t. I still struggle mightily with my appearance, and there are many days where I cringe when I look in the mirror and wish I were prettier or skinnier. And now I find myself carrying a little girl inside of me, and all of these struggles take on a new importance. I don’t want to leave my daughter with a legacy of self-loathing. I don’t want her to be worried about her weight when she is nine or ten years old. I don’t want her to wonder if she is pretty or if a boy will ever like her. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because I remember so vividly having those fears and more, and I want to keep her from that. But how?  I don’t know if I can keep her from those fears, but I pray that God will help me conquer this demon in my own life so I can give Charlotte the tools she needs to grow up into a beautiful woman of God who walks with humility and grace and confidence.

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9 thoughts on “What I Wish I Could Say

  1. Beautiful post, Erin. You will be an excellent role model for Miss Charlotte. God will help her through these deamons as he has helped us. I pray she will not struggle with this. You are going to be such a wonderful mother.

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  2. There is a Steven Curtis Chapman song call “Fingerprints of God” that I have always loved. I believe that it one of those songs that reaches a little girl and to be honest it still reaches me…

    Anyways-I love reading what you have to say, I believe you will be such an incredible mom. You've always been an old soul…wise beyond your years. 🙂

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  3. I agree with your other comments. You are going to be a wonderful mother and an excellent role model for your daughter. You are beautiful on the inside and outside too.

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  4. The missionary I was working with in Croatia said something to me that stuck with me: “You know how I always knew I was pretty? My mother told me! She always called me Ljepotica [little beauty].” Not that this missionary was a supermodel or anything, but it was clear that she had always felt presentable and attractive.

    I wonder how girls' lives would be different if BOTH their parents told them from birth that they were pretty. I don't remember my mom saying any such thing until I was an adult.

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  5. This was a fantastic post, and one I understoond.
    I read a book along time ago, called The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg – and in it, she talked about reading journels from girls 150 years ago to today, and how there is a noticable shift from girls concerned with character and faith to beauty and weight. Today's society focuses SO much on the outside and we do little to encoruage insides.
    I believe that you will teach your daughter differently, and that she will know she is loved and valued no matter what her size 🙂

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