Exposed by my children for what I really look like

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.

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My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?

Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.

Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.

“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.

I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.

“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”

“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”

I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.

My daughter walks over and takes a look.

“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “You’re so beautiful. I love it.”

I take a deep breath.

This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.

I still see my dimply, fat thighs.

I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.

I still see chubby arms.

I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.

I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.

Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes. You heard me.

“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well…not exactly. But something like that.

Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.

Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you kids.

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* Here is another “secret” picture the kids took of me on our day trip to the beach.

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532 thoughts on “Exposed by my children for what I really look like

  1. Watching you on HLN right now. My mother was always extremely critical of herself and it very negatively affected my self-esteem and has caused me a great deal of grief in my life (until my last pregnancy, I hadn’t eaten french fries in 18 years!). I now have a 6 year old daughter and just had twins. I am amazed at what my body has done for me and my children and they think I’m beautiful! I am very mindful to never criticize myself in front of my kids, so they will learn the lesson that they are beautiful too. I love your post and for your honesty. And your kids are certainly right. You are indeed beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing this story, Bridgette. You are not fat. You have chubby thighs, big deal. You are GRACEFUL and beautiful. Your children are right, you are beautiful and possess modesty. So glad of that. Half naked women in public are not a pretty sight, regardless of how thin they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But then, the truth was never really the point. Thin women don’t tell their fat friends ‘You’re not fat’ because they’re confused about the dictionary definition of the word, or their eyes are broken, or they were raised on planets where size 24 is the average for women. They don’t say it because it’s the truth. They say it because fat does not mean just fat in this culture. It can also mean any or all of the following:

      Ugly
      Unhealthy
      Smelly
      Lazy
      Ignorant
      Undisciplined
      Unlovable
      Burdensome
      Embarrassing
      Unfashionable
      Mean
      Angry
      Socially inept
      Just plain icky

      So when they say ‘You’re not fat,’ what they really mean is ‘You’re not a dozen nasty things I associate with the word fat.’ The size of your body is not what’s in question; a tape measure or a mirror could solve that dispute. What’s in question is your goodness, your lovability, your intelligence, your kindness, your attractiveness. And your friends, not surprisingly, are inclined to believe you get high marks in all those categories. Ergo, you couldn’t possibly be fat.’

      Half naked women in public are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing story…..lol, I feel like I wrote it myself!!!! Thanks so much for sharing such beautiful words that are so familiar to so many. ❤️💙💚

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  4. That is an awesome tale of how confident you are becoming. Don’t let anything bring you down. You are a beautiful Mom and are blessed with wonderful children. It’s always hard to see the positive in ourselves, especially when it comes to weight. Just accept that you are who you are and that you are beautiful, no matter what weight you are :)

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  5. I loved this story so much, and it changed something I was about to say. I was stopped at a traffic light while in the car with my two teenagers. I got a close-up look at my skin which, after a good, long, run, is beginning to show some unmistakable signs of aging. I was just about to say, “Well, I guess this is the year my skin finally goes to hell,” when I stopped myself. I remembered your story, and thought that my son and daughter probably don’t see me that way at all. My 17-year-old daughter had seen your blog post on HuffPo. Instead of the sad demise of my collagen, we had a much better conversation about that, body image in general, and how moms are just beautiful to their kids no matter what, and vice versa. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  6. Hey mama, saw you on HLNTV. Thanks so much for blogging this! It’s so, so inspiring and such a great reminder on how important it is to love ourselves and our bodies. Thank you for being so freaking awesome and putting this out there.

    Like

  7. I sent this to my wife. I wanted her to know that it is not just children that see this but also her husband. After 26 years of marriage neither of us look the same as when we were younger. But the love I have is not for the 16 year old she was when I met her, but is even stronger for the 40 something she is now. Because of this love, I see her now as beautiful as she has ever been.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this! Thank you SO much for sharing! I also fuss with my self image – 2 kids and a 40 year old `starting to sag` body plays hell with one’s self image and self esteem but my youngest (9) insists on telling me that I’m so pretty and I shouldn’t be down about myself. Look at all the wonderful things I do an accomplish! Then it hit me: she too has a struggle with her self image! These are the things I tell her so she relays them to me as what I say makes her feel better about herself. She has a genetic issue where she is heavier and taller than her peers. She appears to be more 12 than 9. Kids have so much more going on in those brains than you think! Bless every one of them!

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  9. never commented on posts of someone i don’t know… but i really wanna say how excited i am to learn that you have accepted who you are! i wish more people in HK, if not on the entire planet, could read your words and be inspired, so that we don’t have to torture ourselves so badly.

    Like

  10. Speaking as both an artist and former artists’ model I can tell you that this is a beautiful picture. Your body is awesome and the “pose” just calls out for an artist to capture it. Thanks for posting – I saw it shared on FB by friends who have body issues themselves (but I guess, who doesn’t?)

    Like

  11. You look great,would marry you in an instant , based on your looks and you’re probably a great mom and a very loving person. Just be yourself, it’s the best you can give to the world.

    Like

  12. Thank you for writing this and sharing your photo. It took me nearly ten minutes to read this because I was crying so hard. My son did a very similar thing when he was young. He always knew how to make me feel beautiful no matter what size I was or what I was wearing. I too have a similar bathing suit and have tried to hide my flaws and weight for years. I wish I could always see myself the way my young son did, it was uncomplicated, unconditional love…simply perfect.

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  13. My daughter took a photograph of me, knife & fork in hand, preparing to pounce on my plate at my birthday dinner last year…
    Every time I see the picture prominently displayed in her FB I cry & make some comment about oh look at the whale sized cliche of a fat woman eating!
    She stopped taking pictures of me…
    All I saw was me, through my own Magnifying glasses of criticism.
    All she saw was her beautiful Mom with a happy smile, relaxing for the first time in months… Just the two of us in a rare evening out with no 3yr old granddaughter bouncing & demanding (however adorable), & no querulous grandpa, bedridden, dying & ringing a bell every 15 minutes from the next room.
    He passed away a month later & life goes on… My daughter finally forgave me for still being alive, we both had to forgive ourselves for not being able to heal her Dad & we are learning to be patient & forgiving with each other in a family of very impatient people.
    She admitted months ago that she finds it easy to see me as beautiful (I’m still not sure how although we are similar in build I’m at least 100 – 125 pounds heavier than her), but finds it hard to see beauty in herself…
    Together we are learning to see ourselves through each others eyes…
    Through the eyes of love…
    We take pictures of each other <3

    Liked by 1 person

  14. so love your story …your kids see you as you really are…beautiful! Thanks for giving me the boost that i need today & hopefully a platform to talk with those that i love that believe their only beauty would lie in a skinny body thank you

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  15. Reblogged this on oursacredbreath and commented:
    Sometimes we need to see ourselves through our children’s eyes, not our own. I think so much like this woman about my weight, my picture being taken, etc. The maiden tells me I am beautiful. I don’t believe her. Maybe I should.

    Like

  16. you have wonderful kids, my son 10 y. old wouldn’t take a photo of him and me when we were in amusement park because he thinks I look ugly in pictures.

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  17. >;~D At 61, I’ve only came to terms with my body six years ago when I decided that it was built for comfort and nothing else. Before that, I had spent the previous 30 yrs striving against Nature, sometimes succeeding but always reverting. No more! What I do now ( in the ways of eating regimen & exercise ) is only to ease physical pain and stay flexible. This post is an affirmation which I have shared with every gal in my large extended family in the hope that they, too, will pass it on. Bless you!
    ( Now, if only I could do something about the facial twitch that has one eye closing involuntarily and looks like I’m inappropriately winking at total strangers. Don’t EVEN get me started on the tribulations of applying cosmetics! *G* )

    Like

  18. (Translated from German to English using Google translator):

    I admire women like you. It is difficult to reverse the polarity of the mind change minus to plus and to adhere to the existing plus sign. This is such a difficult turnaround that few succeed and only for the trial (regardless of how successful he is or will be) that I do have to pay respect.

    I will never succeed in this, I think. Also I have problem areas, while in other places, but basically it’s the same situation. I also often feel unattractive. But what I lack in contrast to you, is the power to reverse or seriously trying. Then you can be proud. What makes you happy on your children and on everything. But also and above all on you.

    By the way, I find very beautiful the picture below, because it looks as if you wanted to hug the sea. It occurred to me that you seem almost to be a part of the sea, because your foot stuck in the sand and you are so connected to the sea. This might sound corny, but your power to reverse and re-evaluation of yourself is rolling like the waves steadily on the beach of satisfaction with yourself: sometimes the waves roll on, times so far, but the main thing is that they always roll.

    I admire you!

    Katharina

    Like

  19. Bridgette, I’m glad your son took that picture. It’s made it onto Pinterest and when I saw it I thought “What a lucky woman to have such shapely legs, incredible thighs, and the self-confidence to show them off!” Then I read the text. It’s a shame that beautiful women focus on the negative points of their appearance when others focus on the positive. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone looked the same, and I’ve always preferred the look and appearance of average women, rather than the artificial, computer-generated collection of pixels that resemble the unattainable. You’re a sensuous, desirable, and beautiful woman, and your husband and children are blessed to have you there.

    Like

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