On one of my biggest parenting concerns…

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My, my.  How things have changed.


Today marks Week 39 of my pregnancy.  I’m due in a week.  This, of course, means nothing.  Did you know that only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date?  For what it’s worth, I was one of those babies!  And I haven’t gotten anywhere on time since…


On average, a baby at Week 39 is about 20 inches long from crown to heel and weighs about 7.25 pounds. I definitely believe that there is a 7 pounder inside of me right now, but it’s hard to imagine all 20 inches squished up.


How am I feeling? Um. Well, if you asked me yesterday, I would’ve said, “AMAZING!”  Today, I feel like crap.  I experienced about two hours of false labor last night from 11:30 – 1:30.  My Bradley Method classes taught me to get up, walk around, and eat something to determine whether or not it’s legitimate; I had toast around 1:00 and the feelings soon went away.  However, it was really good practice for my relaxation techniques; it’s crazy how much you subconsciously tighten every inch of your body while in pain.  So, I’m a little tired and cranky today.


One thing that I’m very proud of is how active I’ve managed to stay – I really didn’t think I’d still be exercising at Week 39!  Swimming and walking has been my savior.  I’m working out three to four times a week, and it makes me feel so much more balanced and healthy.  I’m hoping my efforts will help with delivery and recovery. Fingers crossed!


Random things on my mind:


1- What if I drop the baby while walking down the stairs?!

2- Is it a boy or a girl?

3- I wonder if the baby will have hair (I was bald for a long, long time).  I also wonder if the baby will be a redhead like my husband (I’m voting for redheadness, the Husband is voting no).

4- Is it a boy or a girl?

5- Do I need to buy a breast pump in advance? Can you buy a used one or is that gross?

6- I really want to go into labor… and then I think about the fact that this baby has to come out of my vagina.  Oh my God…

7- Is it a boy or a girl?

8- If it is a boy, what the heck are we going to name him?! We are STILL torn between three names.  Fun fact: The Husband didn’t have a name for the first six weeks of his life.  His parents just called him ‘the baby.’  His mom wanted to name him Joshua, and his dad wanted to name him Kristien.  They couldn’t agree and literally argued about it while standing in line at the registrar’s office (in England, they had six weeks to name; I don’t think they let you leave the hospital in America without a name).  His dad ultimately won the argument.


And last, but not least, here is random thought #8 that’s been on my mind lately…


First, some background:  In addition to writing Healthy Tipping Point, I have another blog called Operation Beautiful.  Operation Beautiful started in June 2009; I was having a really bad day and feeling very down about my job, so I wrote, “You are beautiful” on a sheet of paper and stuck it to a public mirror.  I took a photo of my note and asked HTP readers to participate.  Much to my surprise, they did.  Since I started the movement, I’ve received about 10,000 notes from women and men of all ages from all over the world.  A note has even been posted on the South Pole!  Every day, I post new notes on OperationBeautiful.com that people have left in public places for strangers to find.




Although I posted the first note in a moment of emotional self-doubt, Operation Beautiful has really become about developing a positive body image.  Since I started the site, I’ve written two books about Operation Beautiful, one for adults (Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time) and an upcoming one for tweens (Operation Beautiful: One Note at a Time).  You can learn more about both books on my Book Page.


Obviously, issues like developing a healthy sense of self-worth and positive body image are very, very important to me.  As I wrote in the first Operation Beautiful book, I struggled a lot with self-esteem issues as a teenager, including depression and cutting.  One of my biggest concerns for BabyHTP is that I want them to grow up happy and confident.  I want to do EVERYTHING in my power to help them see that they deserve respect from others and deserve to feel confident, even if they aren’t ‘perfect’ (and, anyway, our society has a pretty screwed up definition of perfection). And I think a large part of that is having a balanced view of their appearance.


The issue that I’ve been pondering a lot lately is how to set a good example for BabyHTP, regardless of whether baby is a girl or a boy (body image issues are certainly not limited to girls, and even if my boy is confident about his own body, I don’t want him to have a warped view of women).  Of course, I plan to do things that I can, like leading by example, showing them that healthy eating and exercise can be fun, never trash talking other people’s appearances, enjoying ‘treats’ in moderation and not expressing guilt about it, telling them they are wonderful for both inner and outer qualities, and encouraging them to challenge messaging on TV shows and in magazines about beauty. 


But…. so many of the women that will be involved in the baby’s life talk all the time about their current crazy restrictive diet, how they can’t eat the dessert I made because they need to lose weight, how horrible they are going to look in a bathing suit this weekend, etc.  The negative self-talk is extremely pervasive.  It always makes me so uncomfortable, and I never know what to say back. I’ve actually stopped saying, “That’s not true, you don’t need to go on that crazy diet, you look wonderful…” because it has no impact on the behavior (and sometimes, I think it encourages it).  I just let the trash talk ride.  I’m not saying that I don’t occasionally slip up and talk negatively about myself in a way that is clearly conditioned by our society’s messaging because I certainly do.  But I really do try to keep it to a minimum.  And yet I’m so nervous about what to do or say when this talk occurs in front of my child! 


I would have no problems telling someone that I didn’t appreciate them using a racial or homophobic slur, but I feel like body trash talk is different because the person is talking negatively about themselves.  I know I can’t control others or protect my child from every nasty thought, but this has been weighing heavily on my mind.


So – I’d like to pose a question to all of you.  How did your mother’s view of her body influence yours?  How did the other grown-up women (and men) in your life influence your sense of what it means to be beautiful and healthy?  I’d love to know what techniques worked positively and which had a negative impact.  And if anyone has tips on handling body image trash talk in front of children, I’d love to hear your advice!



  • Meghan June 6, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Do NOT buy a used breast pump. Buy a new one as that they are ment to be used by one person only. I know they are expensive but they are also a lifesaver. I have a Medela pump in style and I recommend it. They will teach you how to use it at the hospital if you like. Also see I’d your insurance will cover part of the cost.

    • CaitlinHTP June 6, 2012, 2:54 pm

      Oh, awesome. I didn’t even think to check my insurance.

      • Noelle June 6, 2012, 5:03 pm

        I did a terrible job with breastfeeding and I think it was because I started pumping too early for the purpose of feeding the baby. It doesn’t stimulate milk production as much as when the baby is breastfeeding so the best thing to do is to pump AFTER the baby has eaten and store the milk, that way your body thinks it needs to produce more than what it actually does and your supply gets way up earlier. I had like no milk because of the way I did things. You totally didn’t ask for advice or feedback on this particular issue but I thought I’d pass it along because I wish I had followed my 20/20 advice 🙂 haha

        • CaitlinHTP June 7, 2012, 9:15 am

          This is great advice, thank you!

    • Kim @ vegan mama June 6, 2012, 3:59 pm

      I second the not buying used. Also, it’s probably not totally nessecary to have one before the baby comes, but it sounds like you are definitely going to be pumping at some point, so it would hurt. I have the Pisa as well, and I love it. Medela has really great customer service, too. I would at least have a hand pump available if you’re not ready to buy the high quality one yet – you might need it to relieve a little engorgement at the beginning.

      • Kim @ vegan mama June 6, 2012, 3:59 pm

        *wouldn’t hurt

      • Lorie June 6, 2012, 5:41 pm

        Caitlin–Buying a used pump isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My mom is a lactation consultant, and she rents out pumps to mothers as part of her business. She doesn’t resell the tube parts, that’s all new–and she recommends sterilizing everything before you use it. But, buying a used Pump in Style, for example, should be fine.

        • Kim @ vegan mama June 7, 2012, 9:03 am

          Usually lactation consultants rent out hospital grade pumps which are specifically designed to be multi-user. If it’s not hospital grade, it’s generally not recommended to share pumps, though many people do buy used.

          • Julie D. June 7, 2012, 9:09 pm

            Individual pumps by Medela like the Pump-In-Style are not meant to be used by more than one user because they aren’t a closed system. However, there are individual pumps (not hospital grade) that can be shared. The Hygeia Enjoye is supposed to be a great pump and it can be shared because it is a closed system pump. If you order from then you can try it for I *think* 21 days and return it if you aren’t happy with it. They were recently on Zuilly for about 180.00.


            Also, Medela is openly not WHO compliant. Here is a good blog post that explains what that means: http://www.justwestofcrunchy.com/2011/01/19/the-problems-with-medela/

    • Vanessa (@IsleStyleLiving) June 6, 2012, 4:17 pm

      I have a Medela pump in style advance and LOVE IT.

      I’d recommend getting one before hand. My Bradley instructor and baby’s pediatrician (also my lacatation consultant) recommended that I pump after every feeding as much as I can to help bring in my supply and establish a frozen supply for emergencies and backups.

      The extra storage of breastmilk was a life saver. I have had to dump a few ounces due to spoilage and even had some drop to the floor and spill all over my kitchen floor.

      For some it wasn’t necessary to build a supply but it was a lifesaver for me.

      • Cindi June 6, 2012, 8:21 pm

        My pump saved me when I got home from the hospital. I was so engorged that Molly wouldn’t latch. It was miserable! So I had to spend an entire day pumping & bottle feeding her. The next day I saw a lactation consultant who recommended a nipple shield – I used that for about 2 weeks & am not going on 13 months of breastfeeding. I bought my pump used from a friend – I just felt better knowing that if it was used, it was someone I knew (and I bought new tubes/parts & disinfected it!). That being said, I was happy to have one when I got home – but if all else fails, the hospital rents them & your insurance may cover it! You know I’m here if you have any BF questions!

    • Lindsey June 8, 2012, 11:27 am

      You should also check with your hospital. I learned at my breastfeeding class that they sell the exact kind they use in the hospital for new moms or employees at cost…i.e. $175 compared to the $300 that a store like Target would charge you.

  • mischa June 6, 2012, 2:54 pm

    i learned due dates mean nothingg… my baby girl born april 25th was 12 days late! i was supposed to be induced the next day. i’ll be coming back to read the comments on this post because this is an issue i’ve been thinking about lately. good luck!

    • Julie D. June 7, 2012, 9:07 pm

      Individual pumps by Medela like the Pump-In-Style are not meant to be used by more than one user because they aren’t a closed system. However, there are individual pumps (not hospital grade) that can be shared. The Hygeia Enjoye is supposed to be a great pump and it can be shared because it is a closed system pump. If you order from then you can try it for I *think* 21 days and return it if you aren’t happy with it. They were recently on Zuilly for about 180.00.


  • Jo June 6, 2012, 2:59 pm

    hmm, I’ve actually been thinking about this a bit lately! My mom was raised in a society that was hardly, if at all, touched by media, and in a family that put appearance on a very low level and it showed! Growing up, I saw her appreciate her body for what it could do (bear babies, work to support her family) and accept it as it was, since the changes she had experienced were marks of where she had been and what she had accomplished (varicose veins from pregnancy and having a job that required a lot of standing, breasts changed by breastfeeding, hands changed by lots of physical work).

    I actually think that is what shaped the healthy half of what I think and feel about my body and bodies in general, whereas the other half is the result of media pressure making its way into collective consciousness.

    • CaitlinHTP June 6, 2012, 3:00 pm

      I just want to say that what you wrote about bodies being marked by what you go through was so beautifully written. Truly.

  • Rosalie June 6, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Honestly, despite the frequency with which my mother told we I was beautiful and perfect, it was with friends and at school that I developed self-consciousness about my body. My friends had body issues and that made me think of mine, likewise teasing and/or bullying. Unfortunately, I think that no matter how much you attempt to moderate the adult influence, there remains the inevitable fact that kids hang out with kids, and those other kids have their own exposure. And kids have both extreme curiosity and a complete lack of a filter for body-related matters, which makes it challenging.
    That being said, building up your child’s self-worth in every aspect other than their body–showing them they’re more than a body, that is–is the best thing you can do. Even when I struggled with hating my body, I felt confident in my intelligence and all the talents and little things that my mother had lauded me for over the years.

    • Jacquelyn June 6, 2012, 3:45 pm

      While my mother also told me I was beautiful, she engaged in a lot of negative self-talk.

      I think what’s most important is to compliment children for things OTHER than their looks. You shouldn’t tell a little girl, “you’re so pretty”, you should compliment her on her reading skills or if she helps with chores, or if she’s learned to ride a bike, etc.
      Because even though my mother was complimenting me on my looks, what I took away wasn’t “I’m so beautiful”, it was “looks are the most important thing”. Then I began to obsess about my own weight and appearance and feel that all of my self-worth was in my appearance. It also caused tension in our relationship for a while because I didn’t feel like I was “beautiful”, but I also felt like she was jealous.

      One of my best friends has barely had any body confidence issues, and I believe it’s because it was never a focus in her family. She was brought up to focus on school and sports and art, and not being “beautiful” and “thin”.

      While you can’t get rid of outside influence, you can be a good role model, and make sure from a young age that your child learns that your actions and your abilities are more important than your looks.

  • ashlynn June 6, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I grew up with most of the women in my family talking badly about their bodies or expressing guilt when eating a piece of cake (and they still do), even though they are all thin and fit women. I can’t say I’ve never had a negative thought about my body, because I have. But, I don’t say those things out loud anymore, and I’ve found myself thinking them far less as well.

    I will do everything in my power to never say a negative thing about my body in front of my children, because I do feel like it’s beautiful and healthy, and I don’t want them to get the wrong idea about their own. My sister has an eating disorder, and it’s terrible. And, I don’t want my kids to ever think about themsleves the way that she does. It breaks my heart.

    And, you’re right. I think it enables the person by telling them “oh no, you look wonderful, you are not fat” when they say something negative about themselves. It teaches them to find acceptance from others than from within.

  • Amanda June 6, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I was just talking to my husband about this last weekend! I’m 25 weeks pregnant and I have similar concerns. On June 25, 2011, a good friend of mine took her own life. She had battled with an eating disorder and depression since her tween years. I knew her from the time we were about 10 years old and we danced together for 9 years and remained friends after. I didn’t realize just how serious her negative feelings about herself were until it was far too late.
    My husband’s family actively engages in negative body image discussions about themselves and each other at times. His family is all at very healthy weights and look amazing, but the comments about “this is so fattening” or “my _____ looks horrible” are present almost every time we see them (usually at least once a week).
    I have major concerns about the impact of these discussion on my future child. I know how damaging that trash talking can be first hand after losing my friend and while I try to be encouraging to my husband’s family and I try to avoid trash talking myself, it’s tough to control the exposure! I can’t control the way they act but I also want my children to be an active part of their lives without seeing a bad example with the negative thoughts. I’m not sure what the right solution is but it is a scary situation.

    • CaitlinHTP June 7, 2012, 9:16 am

      I am really sorry about your friend 🙁

  • mo June 6, 2012, 3:06 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but I just read that question and tears welled up in my eyes. And this is NOT a topic I have thought a whole lot about before you poised that question. I truly believe the most positive impact you can have is to lead by example, which you will most certainly do. Thanks Caitlin for making me realize that I might need to think harder about my struggle with body imagine. Not to blame my mother, but to just understand and recognize where some of my issues come from so I can head them off!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed June 6, 2012, 3:06 pm

    My mom has been overweight my entire life, but I don’t really remember her talking about it as I was growing up. I’m not sure how she impacted my body confidence because as my mom says “I was born uber-confident.” I was always involved in a zillion sports, ate like a hungry athlete, and I was an average size. I don’t even think I thought about my weight until I was in high school.

    I think being involved in sports from a young age is something that really helped me stay in great shape and also to think of my body as a tool to score goals or run fast… not as a model for my clothing.

    I don’t know, you can’t control what other people do, but I know that you will give your kid a great environment to grow up… and maybe some day the ridiculous celebrity standards won’t be in fashion any more!
    It’s hard to control other people,

  • olympia June 6, 2012, 3:12 pm

    For what it’s worth, my sister, who delivered in the U.S., was very much allowed to leave the hospital with her unnamed, one-day-old baby girl- the child (eventually named Grace) didn’t have a name until she was a couple weeks old.

    As to body trash talk- it’s difficult. I maintain that the comments directed my way when I was a kid affected me a lot more than the disparaging remarks my mother directed at herself- sure, listening to her trash talk herself was a downer, and I’m sure it’s affected me, but the comments she directed at ME were (pretty understandably, I think) what messed me up the most. I agree it would be quite awkward to ask people to censor their self-deprecating body talk in front of your kid (maybe it would be less awkward if you’re close, but maybe it would be more so!), so it’s hard for me to give advice on that. But asking them to lay off directed body denigrating talk to your kid seems necessary, and very possible.

  • JenP June 6, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I used three different used breast pumps – a borrowed one from a friend, one from a garage sale and one from ebay. I don’t believe it is a big deal at all, though “they” say you shouldn’t. You can buy new tubing (in fact, they’ll probably give it to you at the hospital) and no milk makes it down the tube into the machine. Unless your insurance will cover it (mine did not), I wouldn’t waste the money one a new one.

  • Clare June 6, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I’m a few years away from having any children, but I think about that pretty often. My mother was a yo-yo dieter while I was growing up, either running a lot and doing a lot of trendy diets (cutting carbs/drinking slimfast/etc), or we would go out to dinner a lot and eat fast food frequently and she would gain the weight back. My mom’s mother is the same way, even at 75 years old she is still preoccupied with the fat/calorie content of food and praised me for being thin my entire life (even when I was at a very unhealthy low weight).

    I grew up having a really unhealthy relationship with food, and was restricting and bingeing by the time I was in high school. I eventually developed a full blown eating disorder which I received treatment for when I was 20. I was actually introduced to Operation Beautiful while in an outpatient treatment for eating disorders in Atlanta. Someone discussed in a group I was in, and I really loved the concept :). Anyway, I’m 24 now and completely healthy, so I know I can lead by example for my future children, but I worry about other relative’s influence on her/him.

    I think all you can do is model healthy body image/eating habits for your children and create the best relationship with them that you can, so that even if they are bullied in school or hear all the negative stuff, they can come to you and talk about it instead of internalizing it. I think you’re going to be a terrific role model for your child :).

  • Kathryn June 6, 2012, 3:19 pm

    I’m not pregnant and I have no children but sometimes I lie awake at night worrying about carrying any potential children up and down stairs. Thank you for making me feel less crazy!

  • Katie June 6, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Unfortunately, I think my mother’s negative body image had a large impact on my negative body image issues. Part of it was all her little comments about her weight, other people’s weight and the calorie content of anything people mention enjoying. I remember telling her I liked carrots because I was proud to like a vegetable and she responded about how sugar is in them.

    The most scaring incidents are from my early teenage years when she flat out told me I was getting fat. I wasn’t skinny but wasn’t overweight either (probably on the upper end of the normal BMI for my height, although I don’t like that measure). She believed she should point it out to me so I could do something about it before people started teasing me. But here’s the thing: She was the only one who ever said anything negative about my weight, ever. And I firmly believe that there isn’t anything negative you can tell a 15 year old girl that she hasn’t thought about herself already. I already compared myself to all my very skinny friends and felt uncomfortable. I didn’t need to hear negative comments from my mother.

    She also made me join her exercise class of middle aged women and tried to get me to join weight watchers in high school (I was maybe 5-10 pounds overweight). These were not good techniques because I didn’t enjoy any of it and she was only further embarrassing me. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started going to the gym regularly and eating better. I wanted to do it for myself and not for her.

    It’s great to hear you talk about not wanting to pass on negative body image because I think a mother’s viewpoint has a big effect, and I worry about passing that on to my children as well. My advice would be to not tell your teenager anything negative about their appearance “to make them aware of it”. They already know. And this is a long away off for you but please never make the first thing you say to them when they come home from college “You look great. You’ve lost weight”. I heard this every time I walked in the door and it was heartbreaking to think that to my mother my weight was the most important thing about me.

    • Beth June 6, 2012, 3:42 pm

      I feel like I could have written this comment. My mom always was (and still is) obsessed with her weight. And until she hit menopause, she was always very VERY thin. Like, 105 pounds after 2 kids thin. But she was always unhappy that she wasn’t the 95 pounds she was when she got married. I still clearly remember the day my own weight cracked 100 pounds and she told me I would never get married if I was “fat”. This continued for years–until I finally told her that I was taller than her and I SHOULD weigh more!

      As a result of this, I’ve struggled with body image my entire adult life. Especially when I’m stressed out. I think a mother’s body image means more to a kid than her friends, because it’s what you grow up with. So if your mom says she’s fat a million times in front of you (like mine did) then you believe that a teeny tiny woman is actually fat. It warps your perception.

    • ejkl June 6, 2012, 3:43 pm

      oh, do i hear you! my mom has done the same thing to me numerous times – “suggesting” i watch what i eat, the sideways glances at what’s on my plate…even when i was a high school athlete working out several hours a day! at one point she even paid me to lose weight (i was not even close to being over weight – was definitely within normal BMI). it was ridiculous, but thankfully i’ve always been so thankful for what my body is capable of and grateful for muscle that can allow me to run, swim, bike, jump…that i (miraculously) avoided any serious damage!
      i don’t have children yet, but i know that this is something i’m going to be so nervous about. just like you, caitlin, i hate thinking that while my kid won’t hear that kind of negative talk from me, i can’t control what comes out of other peoples’ mouths!

    • katie June 7, 2012, 10:54 am

      I got super confused when I read this comment because my name is also Katie and that literally is what I would have written about my mother. To a T. Every paragraph. Amazing. But helps to know I’m not the only one with a mom like that.

  • deva at deva by definition June 6, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I am not yet a mom, but have a lot of mom friends, and several of them rented hospital-grade ones from their hospital. I am not sure for how long, but it is soemthing else to consider 🙂

  • Shelby June 6, 2012, 3:23 pm

    It’s funny because I don’t think that my mom ever really thought about what she said in front of me about body image stuff, but I seem to have adopted her very practical attitude, that is, we can have opinions about our various body parts but that doesn’t impact our value as people. Like, maybe I wish my thighs were thinner, but I also wish I won the lottery. Neither really matters that much. If I want to win the lottery, I have to buy a ticket. If I want my thighs to shrink, I can exercise and eat healthy… but just like the lottery, there’s no guaranteed outcome, and it’s just not at all a reflection on who you are inside!

    If your kid hears you having a healthy body dialogue, they’ll internalize it. For a nice long time, you are their world and get to create their “normal.” If normal is appreciating your body, then people who don’t will seem pretty silly.

    • Shelby June 6, 2012, 3:37 pm

      I think I was inarticulately trying to get to the difference between attitude (fat talk v. appreciation) and importance. That is, if you make it clear that appearances aren’t all that important in life, whatever attitudes BabyHTP hears (good, bad, or indifferent) from all the other people probably won’t matter too much.

  • Kris June 6, 2012, 3:24 pm

    My mom has struggled with her weight her entire adult life. I had two aunts, one average weight, one overweight. In spite of being a big baby (almost 10 lbs.), I was a very petite, skinny child. I never had to be concerned about weight gain until I was in my 30s. All I remember from my childhood is being told by my mom not to get to be heavy like my aunt, because she too had been very petite until her 30s. So I’ve struggled with my weight since my 30s and I am now in my 50s. Whenever I gain weight, I feel bad about myself, and I only believe I’m attractive if I’m very slender (terrible because I’ve never been over a size 2). I try to change my self talk, but it was so drilled into me that it was good to be little and cute. I doubt my family realized what their comments did, but it was the wrong message to imprint on me. And I know it also really hurt my sister who was built with a much larger frame, and struggled through childhood being overweight.

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life June 6, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Unfortunately, my mom did not set a good body image example. She was very self conscious all the time and would always get dressed behind closed and locked doors. My father would always tell her how beautiful she was and how much he adored her and she would snidely snap at him or roll her eyes. She didn’t want him to kiss her or even touch her at times. The worst part of it all… She felt so badly about herself that she would attack him to “bring him down to her level.” My mother treated my father so poorly for most of my childhood until I was old enough to recognize it and speak up.

    Her negative body image has greatly affected me to the core. I struggle with it every day. I’ve wasted years, I’ve missed out on so many adventures and experiences because I was too wrapped up with myself. Does that make sense?

    Can I be honest… I am terrified of having a girl because of the relationship I had with my mom. I know that I would have the power to be different than she was but it still makes me nervous that I would somehow end up being just like her without even realizing. I appreciate what you said about body image not only being an issue for girls but for boys too. I just hope I don’t screw it up for my son! And if Baby #2 is a girl… I hope I can do right by her as well.

    I have no worries about you, though! You are a great role model for young girls and even adults. Your blog has literally changed my life and I find myself striving to make good decisions everyday so that I can lead a healthier life and be a good example for my family. Thank you, Caitlin!

    P.S. – The whole breast pump thing was super intimidating for me. I did buy one ahead of time and I’m glad I did. I ended up needing it much sooner than I thought. I loved my Medella Pump in Style!

  • Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs June 6, 2012, 3:28 pm

    I think that just the fact that you are TRYING is going to make a huge impact. My mom was always on crash diets, always talks negatively about herself and others, and is extremely preoccupied with physical apperances. It’s really affected me. I think that being positive and not focusing on those things in your home are a great idea, and while your child will hear things from others both inside and outside the home, you can always talk to them about it later, or they will ask you. Maybe make a rule in your home with your kids its not OK to talk negatively about anyone even themselves, and maybe they will pipe up when your friends say something. I think that would be hugely impactful 🙂

  • HTPDad June 6, 2012, 3:29 pm

    All your friends and relatives are aware of the ‘fat talk’ concept – just say ” we don’t want (fat talk, homophobia, racism)that kind of conversation in our house”. Even though BabyHTP will hear it other places, at least it will be explicit at home it’s not acceptable.

    Note to some of your other readers – nothing hurts like a disparaging remark from a parent – my heart goes out to you.

    • olympia June 6, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Eeek. While I can agree with you on an intellectual basis on the value of not allowing ANY fat talk in front of a little one, I find it hard to imagine telling someone not to say “I’m so fat”, etc., when with kids. Not that there wouldn’t be value in not allowing that- I just find it hard to imagine. I guess I have an engrained belief that you’re allowed to talk about yourself however you like. It’s interesting, thinking about how your opinion of yourself can affect others.

      • April June 6, 2012, 6:21 pm

        Sure, you can say what you want about yourself…but you do not have the right to speak however you want in someone’s home and remain welcome there. Same goes for in front of their children.

        • CaitlinHTP June 6, 2012, 7:53 pm

          This is a tough one for me but I’m leaning towards agreeing with April, esp because of how she phrased it. I would never want to engage in talk in front of a child that I knew their parents found upsetting (like, for example, cursing <– no big deal to me but perhaps to the parents).

          • olympia June 6, 2012, 10:36 pm

            I’m just imagining how it would feel to tell someone who’s all, “I’m so fat and hideous” to stop saying such things because kids are present- it would feel so awkward! Of course it’s not good to say such things in front of kids, but people who say such things are obviously feeling awful already; how do you keep from making them feel worse? It’s a conundrum.

  • Juliene June 6, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Number 6 on my list literally made me laugh out loud. Haha! I delivered the day before I was due and actually walked 3 miles that morning since I knew I wouldn’t go into labor on time. So moral of the story keep up the exercise.

    As for body image my mom never really talked a out her weight positively or negatively but my grandma and aunt who were overweight really talked negatively. They called me overweight even when I wasn’t and that definitely led me to binge eat and become overweight. I want our son and future children to be aware of what they say and how it affects those around them whether it’s good or bad. It’s a constant battle but I would have no problem saying something to the negative self talkers.

  • Eliza June 6, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Congratulations! What an excited time…I highly recommend reading Sharon Lamb’s book, “Packaging Girlhood.” It offers a deep cultural analysis about the ways that femininity is constructed, as well as practical advice for responding to the comments girls can make as they process all the information they get.

    My best friend has a 5-year old who is deep into a “princess stage” and often talks about the “prettiest princesses,” and all that. My friend struggled with this, and found the book helpful because rather than forbidding the sources of information that can impact girls, the book encourages you to help your daughter deconstruct and analyze the information she receives.

    I believe there is also a “Packaging Boyhood,” but I haven’t read it. However, the one book I always recommend to parents of boys is “Real Boys.”

    • CaitlinHTP June 7, 2012, 9:18 am

      Adding this to my list of books to read! I love books about this kind of stuff. Thanks for the rec.

  • Jess June 6, 2012, 3:34 pm

    My mother has very bad body image self esteem, which stems from depression that went undiagnosed and untreated for about 3 decades. As a child I was always concerned with getting and being fat. Mum went on fad diets and I watched, getting ready for when I would have to do that too.

    I ended up tipping the scales at 192lb. I decided enough was enough. No fad diets for me, I would just stop eating crap and go to the gym a couple of times a week. Well, it worked and in the past 5 months I have lost 20lb, I love to workout and I feel good about myself.

    My mother, on the other had, has just resigned herself to the fact that she is fat (morbidly obese) and chooses to eat badly and not exercise much. I can’t help her anymore.

  • Jen June 6, 2012, 3:34 pm

    I think my propensity to pick myself apart physically stems from perfectionism far more than my mom’s attitude toward her own body. My mom never really talked much about dieting or criticized her appearance other than in a joking, self-deprecating way. I’ve always been extremely self-critical and have unreasonably rigid expectations for myself. Negative self-talk about my weight/looks are part of my internal dialogue, but I know that physical appearance is rarely at the root of this. For example, I say I feel flabby and need to work out more, but it’s more than that–I really feel lazy and undisciplined, but a physical flaw is sometimes easier to confront.

    And I don’t think any of that comes from my mom; on the contrary, she’s very laid-back and accepting, and has always helped me be less hard on myself.

  • Kaylee June 6, 2012, 3:34 pm

    On the breastpump-buy your own. They are meant for one person. I bought the Medela Pump In Style in the Tote and love it. My daughter is 9 and a half months old, and hasn’t had to have a drop of formula. I use this pump 2-3 times a day (except for weekends) since I stated back at work in November and have had no problems with it, so even though it is pricy, the amount that I have used it makes it more than worth it to me.

    Regarding negative self talk, this is very difficult to me. I have always been somewhat overweight, except for a few years in college when I went on weight watchers. However, since graduating college, getting a full time job, getting married, and now having a child I have gained all my weight (and then some) back. I really struggle with talking negatively about myself, internally and externally. I just feel like everyone else is thinking about it, so I want to say something about it so they know I know how bad I look.

    One of my biggest fears as a mother is that my daughter will some day feel the way about herself that I feel about myself. Regardless of her size, I want her to know that she is worthy of praise and love and respect…I still really have a hard time not talking about myself, I even catch myself talking to her about “how fat her momma is” which I know is horrible. My husband always gets on to me when I do it, and I definitely want to stop, it is just such a hard habit to break.

    I think my influence was my mother. She has been overweight my whole life, and would always make foods taboo, which made me have a bad relationship with food. She also constantly (to this day) maked comments about my weight, maybe not so obvious, but she will say thing like, “did you just get those jeans out of the dryer? They seem tight”, or “is that the same dress you were wearing a couple of weeks ago? it looks smaller”. I told my husband if I ever act like that to my daughter to slap me in the face, (not literally of course) because I never want to make her feel bad about herself.

    Sorry this is so long, congratulations on your precious baby and I will be working on this issue along with you!

    • Kaylee June 6, 2012, 3:50 pm

      2 comments about my comment.

      In my first paragraph about breast pumps I sound a little aggressive/judgmental, and although my daughter not having a drop of formula is a source of pride for me because of my beliefs, I in no way judge those that use formula, it was just another way to state my positive feelings for my pump.

      Secondly, obviously I meant “would make” as “maked” is not a word 🙂

    • Lisa Marie June 6, 2012, 4:45 pm

      My mother makes side comments all the time just like that. I am 25…and have extremely low confidence. I think i got it from her. She tells me the truth when something looks bad…and will comment on something i am eating. Her excuse is that if she cant tell me then who can?

    • CaitlinHTP June 7, 2012, 9:22 am

      Thanks for the boobie tips!!!

  • Emily June 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

    I think this is so important. My mom recently told my sisters and me (no brothers) that when we were growing up, she didn’t want to pass on her poor body image and eating habits to us. I think she succeeded.

    First, we NEVER judged other people or ourselves based on appearances. She didn’t have to teach us not to do it; it’s just that she and my dad never did. I think that this in particular is one of those things that children always learn from their parents. I’m still horrified when people discuss other people’s weight or looks and they never understand why- because it’s always been done in their families. So even now, if our pants are feeling a little tight or we’re breaking out in crazy acne, it still sucks, but it’s not completely debilitating. I never knew how many other parents commented on their children’s weight or other aspects of their appearances until I went to college, and it’s still so disappointing to see how many do. I think if you can limit your comments to compliments rather than criticism, that’s a huge step in the right direction.

    Second, we only kept high quality food in the house. Yes, we had some cookies and ice cream and Ritz crackers around, but my mom cooked and baked for us constantly. Our dinners were home-cooked, real food, or “better” fast food, like pizza or Chinese food. McDonalds was for special treats only. I think this really taught us to appreciate good food, and to appreciate the appreciation of good food, if that makes sense. To this day, we all love food and everything that’s associated with it: big dinners together, cooking, going out for special meals… I think that viewing food with excitement and appreciation, rather than as the enemy, is a huge part of a positive relationship with food.

    Finally, she never focused on how MUCH we ate. If we didn’t feel like eating dinner, we usually didn’t have to. If we wanted to have three bowls of ice cream after dinner, we could. No food that was kept in our house was ever completely off limits (within reason- no ice cream for breakfast), and when we went to friends’ houses and were thrilled to find dunkaroos or other junk food, she didn’t make an issue out of it. I think it helps that we didn’t really like junk food that much after being spoiled by good food.

  • Kim June 6, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I definitely think one of the most important things is that you walk the walk. My mom knew it was important to tell me looks don’t matter, but she has also had very disordered eating since I was eleven or twelve (which is when I developed an eating disorder). Also, even though she knew it was important to tell me looks don’t matter, I think it’s important to acknowledge that other people think they do, so if you feel those pressures, they are legitimate feelings! I think my mom wanted so much for me to not turn into her that she shamed me in some ways for having those feelings, thinking being dismissive would result in me also being dismissive of the pressure to be pretty, skinny, etc. (they didn’t, and it made it worse!).

    I’ve often thought reading your blog though, even before the bun in the oven announcement, what an awesome kid you’re going to raise, and what a healthy body image they’ll no doubt have! Total confidence.

  • Amanda June 6, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I have a two year old boy and we are dealing with this issue now. The first thing I would say is that even though he is still a baby (in my mind anyways :)), he is extremely observant. I know that he is listening to everything we say, so we are trying to be extra careful about what we say and how we say it.

    As for body image, my tactic has been to teach him about being healthy. I use that word often with him, whether I’m talking about meals (“What a healthy supper that is! Look at all those fruits and veggies!”) or his sleep tendencies (“Yes, you have to go to sleep Owen because you need sleep to be healthy!”) or his activity levels. One day he asked why a woman was running by our house, so I told him that she was exercising to stay healthy and strong.

    As a result, at the age of two, he has a keen interest in health and what it takes to take care of his body. And hey, if it helps him sleep easier, even better 😉 He is so proud when he picks healthy food out of the fridge, or when he takes a good, long nap and says “Owen healthy Mama!”

    Everyone is different, but to me, I want him to have a solid foundation in being healthy. Rather than talking about how skinny or fat or tall or short or whatever we are, we focus on being healthy in our house and I hope that stays with him, even if it’s subconsciously.

    (I should also note that in talking about what’s healthy, we don’t focus on what is unhealthy. I don’t want to create food guilt issues.)

    • Rachel June 6, 2012, 4:46 pm

      I don’t want this to sound rude, but when I read your comment it makes me a bit uncomfortable. An exaggerated focus on being “healthy” can backfire and be just as negative as a focus on being slender or beautiful or what-have-you. It’s a slippery slope to feelings of guilt and self-hate from not acting in a way that is “healthy enough.” Just please be careful!

      • Amanda June 6, 2012, 6:23 pm

        Hi Rachel,

        I responded to this comment but it appears further down…it begins with “Not rude at all!” 🙂

        • CaitlinHTP June 6, 2012, 7:53 pm

          Good discussion 🙂

  • Megan E. June 6, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I grew up an only child of a single mom. She was and is a GREAT mom, generous and loving and fun. But, she definitely worried about her weight and went on diets, was always trying to lose the last 10 lbs. She never ever said anything about my body except that I was beautiful and perfect just the way I am, but I of course felt like there was always something that I could improve and that dieting was acceptable, even expected, of all women.

    I remember as a little kid showing her a Christmas ornament of a little pig standing on a scale with a worried look on it’s face. I thought she’d like it because it reflected what she always did, but she was mortified. I am too, now, thinking that I did that! But that was the body image culture in the family.

    My mom still worries about her weight and watches what she eats, but I know she is trying to stay healthy in her 50’s. As an adult, I feel I have been able to keep negative self talk to a minimum, but I worry too about my future kids and my 7 year old step sister, E. I took my mom aside recently after she made a comment about how she was always hungry but didn’t want to eat more and gain weight. The comment was made in front of E and I’m afraid this talk will influence what she thinks is the “right” attitude toward food, exercise, and body image. She’s a healthy, active little kid and that should be her only concern ever, not her looks or what society thinks.

    I think you are right to be mindful about your effect on BabyHTP and I look forward to seeing how it plays out. You will be an amazing mom 😀

  • Lauren June 6, 2012, 3:40 pm

    Such interesting topics today! My mother definitely has eating issues, as do all the women on my mother’s side of the family, but she never spoke negatively about her body or anyone else’s. I certainly have issues but I don’t have a skewed vision of myself thanks to my mom. My parents also taught me that exercise is fun. My father is a roadie cyclist and my mother swam threw her pregnancies. They often included me in their activities and my husband and I hope to pass that on to our son. He’s run, cycled and swim with us and we hope to remain active for our own benefit but also to benefit our family.

  • Rea June 6, 2012, 3:41 pm

    We had a Medela PIS that was passed around through…oh I don’t know how many new mothers at my work place. I think I was about user number 5, and it was still going strong several years later when I left. I just got new containers and tubing from the hospital. I don’t see any difference between that and renting one. (Gross story…for baby #2 we were living in a different state, I ended up needing a rental pump when we came home from the hospital. DH went to pick it up and the first time I used it the thing REEKED of smoke. I made him take it back and exchange it because there was no way I could sit there and pump with a machine that exhaled smoke stink with each pump.)

  • Sarah F. June 6, 2012, 3:42 pm

    What a great topic!

    I remember growing up and my mom telling me “If you keep eating like that, you’ll be as big as this table” or we’d go for ice cream together and my mom would see an obese person and she’d make a comment how it made her not want her dessert. I think my mom has an extreme fear of being fat (for reference purposes she is 5’7 and weighs 120 pounds- she is tiny!) and that was definitely passed on to me.

    I’m 5’11 and 140 pounds and for so long I was so afraid of suddenly putting on weight and not meeting our culture’s standard of beauty. To have a 6 foot, 120 pound model sister also did not help. However, the biggest thing that helped me is surrounding myself with people who loved me no matter what I looked like, and for getting involved in activities because I loved them and not because they burned calories.

    Having a mom such as yourself who’s aware of these issues and talking about them- I think that’s the best start you could give your child.

  • Jenna June 6, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Growing up, I always thought my mother and her body was so beautiful. She wasn’t necessarily always a size 4-6 more like an 8-12, but it was the way she carried herself and participated in life. She set the speed for our family to be sporty and active, eat tons of veggies and have ice cream on movie nights, too. I was taught strong bodies were great because they enabled you to be a good defender on the field or swim fast, but there also wasn’t very much self-focus directed to bodies. When something didn’t fit in the dressing room, you just got a different size or a differently cut item. It wasn’t a big deal. I don’t think I ever heard my mother say anything disparaging about her body, except maybe about the one hair that occasionally grew on her chin that had to be plucked 😉 Sure I had awkward times growing up that I wasn’t thrilled with every aspect of my body, but I think my mom(and my dad’s) attitude about bodies and what they modeled for me, helped these episodes be few and far between and short lived.

  • Rebecca June 6, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I guess I haven’t ever given a whole lot of thought to how my mom’s body image played into mine. She does have kind of a crappy view of herself, and I think I might have picked that up… Weird.
    My dad is skinny. I got his metabolism. He’s lighter now than he was in high school, and he’s always been thin. That’s weird for me to think about. I mean, I’ve never been overweight (I wonder if being born underweight have anything to do with that?? Heh.), and I’m at a relatively healthy weight, but sometimes I do think I could stand to at least exercise a bit more. Watching my dad count calories and refuse certain things really annoys me, which I’ve mentioned multiple times to different people. =\

    I had a Psych prof who shared a story of someone she knew who told people to never use the word “big” to describe her daughter (“You’ve gotten so big!”) because he daughter (who was like six or something) was taking it negatively and thought she was fat. It broke my heart to hear that one little word can impact someone like that.

    One of the ladies at church is always trying to be positive with the little girls. Every time I hear her greeting one of the baby girls, it’s always, “Good morning, gorgeous girl!” or something like that. It makes me happy. And my roommate this past year was constantly calling people “lovely.” At first I thought it was weird, but over time I started to think it was really cool. I got used to hearing it, and I kind of miss it! It always made me think.

  • Regina June 6, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Maybe the negative body image women will see what you’ve written here and take that to heart. If they’re close enough to be involved with your baby, they are probably close enough to be following your blog, no?

    • Caitlin June 6, 2012, 3:52 pm

      Naw. They don’t read (not tech savvy). That would’ve been a good passive aggressive solution though! LOL

      • Ali June 6, 2012, 4:44 pm

        LOL, I read the first part of your response “Naw, they don’t read” and immediately thought you meant they were illiterate…HA

        • CaitlinHTP June 6, 2012, 5:53 pm

          haha wait ive never discussed the side of my family that is illiterate!? jk.

  • Mer June 6, 2012, 3:53 pm

    My mom spent my entire childhood overweight and depressed, but she was always so positive towards me. So even though she wasn’t an ideal example of health, my self-perception wasn’t based on her own body image, but rather came from her positive words to me. Ever since I can remember, my mother always had postive affirmations for me- about being pretty, smart, active, clever- whatever. And I beleive that those words are the source of my self-confience today. They did not make me conceited or self-centered. I realize I’m not Alebert Einstein and Angelina Jolie rolled into one (not even close). And I still have some ‘bad hair’ days and engage in negative thoughts about my body. But they dont control my life.

    • Stephanie C June 6, 2012, 4:40 pm

      I had this same experience. My mom didn’t have terrible self-esteem/body image, but she did comment at times about her being overweight. My mom was always telling me how beautiful I was and how she was proud of the work I did at school (it was average – trust me. But apparently, compared to her I was amazing). Upon entering high school is when a lot of my friends struggled with eating disorders or diets (I’m talking 15 years old here). I attempted once just to fit in, and I couldn’t do it. I love food to much, and it was hard for me to justify limiting myself. Especially since at that time, I never really felt “fat.”
      The one thing that affected me was that my mom was always comparing my body to hers. Sometimes she would tell me “You’ve got my metabolism, but once you get to your 30s it’s going to lower! That’s when I gained all my weight.”
      I don’t think her negative view of herself really affected me much. I still don’t diet. MY problem is that I eat for comfort. Anytime I was sad about a boy, or whatever – my dad would run out and get me a pint of ice cream, chips and soda. I’m more aware of this now. I still do it to some extent, but I try to limit it. I’ll treat myself to a small amount. I’m glad my mom was so encouraging, and that I wasn’t affected by my peers.(Whew – that was long)

  • meagan June 6, 2012, 3:54 pm

    My ILs are TERRIBLE about this. They are so ridiculously body-focused. All of them. My MIL and SIL think they’re fat; my BIL is obsessed with training, and all the women he dates have to be a certain ‘super-fit’ type. Occasionally my MIL will pick up my kid and coo (baby talk–so it’s okay! /sarcasm) how fat she’s gotten. For reference…C, my toddler, is in the 5th percentile.

    Now that C is almost 2, it’s time for my husband to talk to them about it. We discussed it and said that we’d give it two years–thinking that it was some sort of phase–but at two, C can now understand a lot. I had an eating disorder, and they make me uncomfortable. I struggle with setting a good model for C. We don’t need any other factors against us.

    MH and I decided that the first talk will just be him. The next one will be a family discussion. If there has to be a third, especially as she gets older, then I think we might not visit them as much (or at all).

  • Brigid June 6, 2012, 3:55 pm

    My mom is amazing, and she really wanted me to have a healthy relationship with food and my body. She told me all the time that I was beautiful, and she never forced me to clean my plate (which her parenting books said can lead to disordered eating). At the same time, however, I watched her diet constantly. Half the food in the house was the “diet” or “lite” version of actual food (i.e. Snackwell Cookies, Diet Rite soda, etc.). I’m not really sure I can blame my late-adolescent disordered eating on those things, but I remember them vividly, and they are a culture I do not want to invite into my home when I do have kids.

    As for other people’s behavior, I don’t have any idea what the right tack is. You can’t control it, of course, but I know exactly what you mean about wanting to keep it away from your child. The good news is, as the parents, you and your husband are your child’s primary influences, so you can control your own image talk. Obviously, your child will eventually spend time around all kinds of other people, and you have no power over how they talk, but I believe building a foundation of love and respect for your body and the food you use to fuel it is the most important thing. Your home will be absent of the negative self-talk, and that’s so important.

  • Christy June 6, 2012, 3:57 pm

    Yes definitely get a breast pump! And you can get one used and just buy new tubes. 😉

    • Katie June 6, 2012, 5:06 pm

      I’ve read that most breastfeeding professionals recommend that you get a new pump but if you do get a used one, I believe there are some that are considered “safer” than others. I think (you’ll want to check on this!) the Ameda Purely Yours is considered safer b/c it’s a “closed system” (meaning the milk doesn’t leak into the tubing) versus the Medela which is not a closed system. Only what I’ve read- I am currently pregnant so no experience yet.

      • Jamie June 7, 2012, 7:44 pm

        My coworker offered me her Ameda Purely Yours and I called my midwife to ask if its sanitary and safe to use a used pump. She said women have been doing that since breast pumps came onto the scene and as long as you get new tubing, it is okay. She acknowledged there is debate about this, but she feels its totally fine. I am comfortable using this pump and more comfortable knowing this particular pump is a closed system. Reading some of these comments about not using a used pump is totally making me second guess everything (I’m 22 weeks now so I’ve got time to think about this more) and the slightest part of me would love to get a new pump, but I trust my midwife.

        GREAT dialogue about body image too. I think about this all the time as a mom-to-be. As a teenager, I had a very tough time with an eating disorder, but years of therapy, reading lots of books on the topic, and practicing yoga helped me get to a place of acceptance and mostly positive body image. I feel like it is one of my biggest goals as the mother of this amazing baby girl growing inside me to nurture in her the freedom of a positive body image. Once I figured all this out, life became much more free for me. My dad was/is VERY body obsessed and I think although he’s a good guy and loving dad, he seems to place too much importance on female appearance which is something I heavily internalized. Although friends and media definitely played into it, I feel the biggest impact is from the messages you send to your kids (through action, indirect comments and definitely direct comments). At least that is my experience.

        Caitlin, I think you’re going to be an amazing mom and the messages you send to your child will make a lasting positive impact. Sometimes when I read about the work you’ve done with Operation Beautiful, and the way you think about this topic, I just want to hug you through the computer. You totally get it. Thank you for all you do.

  • Hilary June 6, 2012, 3:58 pm

    My mother told me I was beautiful but my appearance was never the sole focus of our communications. I also never/seldom heard her speak poorly about herself. So although I heard negitivity at school and had poor experiences, deep down I developed a confidence that weathers whatever size I currently am.

  • Elyse June 6, 2012, 4:00 pm

    Awesome post–I love how thoughtful you are being about pregnancy and parenting, it’s really inspiring!

    I think the best thing is to lead by example and as many others have pointed out, be careful what you say to the child because those comments can haunt for years!

    You are going to be a great mom though, just thinking about this ahead of time shows so much!

  • MichelleMc June 6, 2012, 4:01 pm

    I honestly have zero memories of any negative self-talk coming from my mom’s mouth. I DO have a lot of memories of going with her to the gym as a little kid, watching her do workout videos at home, and eating healthy food and snacks. I never saw her restrict herself, and we often had desserts in our house (of the ice cream, brownie, pudding variety)and pancakes or cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings. My mom always told me how smart and capable I was, and many other uplifting things about myself that built my confidence without being centered around my appearance. Although she certainly told me I looked nice, and taught me how to take care of my appearance, etc…

    She played basketball in high school and college, and as a formet athlete, constantly encouraged me to go outside. She always wanted to go on bike rides, swim or waterski (we lived on a lake), walk after dinner, and get me involved in any sport that caught my interest – everything from dance and cheerleading, to basketball and downhill skiing. I have since realized that watching her do these things formed the basis of my own healthy habits (both physical and mental).

    I sincerely admire her so much. And even after she gained some weight in her 40s, she took up running, made some healthy changes in her diet and lost 30lbs! She is now in her 50s and the same size/weight she was in her 20s. I have many times throughout my life heard her discuss her desire to be “fit and healthy”, and NEVER “thin”. I have definitely had some of my own negative self-talk in general, and being around other people who are negative tends to make it worse…but the bottom line I always come back to is knowing I am strong, smart, and capable, and taking pride in knowing what my body can do and enjoying the feeling of physically pushing my own limits. I also know it is within my power to change my own thoughts, attitudes, and outlook on anyhting (including my appearance), regardless of what others do/say. And I learned that from my mom.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats June 6, 2012, 4:02 pm

    My mom’s body image has definitely affected me. She never really lost the baby weight from my little brother and after seeing how thin she used to be it’s easy to see how it’s bothered her and how little quirks like not feeling good in what you wear or always trying to lose weight have rubbed off on me, along with the negative body image

  • meagan June 6, 2012, 4:03 pm

    On the breast pump–I’d buy it before (or now ;). I bought mine (Medela double pump) used from a trusted friend, and truthfully, after using one I’m not really sure how they could be contaminated. The tubes that attach to the motor are about two to three feet long, and everything else is separate. All the individual pieces that the milk might touch you’d probably buy new, anyway, and are able to be sterilized.

    I would get the best and highest-powered one you can afford. It’s highly individual, but if you do have low production issues a good breast pump can really help. Also, they’re much faster than the manual or single-pump styles.

  • Courtney Leigh June 6, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Really interesting post.

    1. My mom didn’t drop any babies, but she did fall down the stairs while carrying my baby brother. He was fine. She had stoved ankles and had to sit on a inflatable donut for weeks.

    2. In some places you DON’T have to name the baby before you leave the hospital. That’s how Picabo Street got the name Picabo when she was a toddler after all. Check with your county register of deeds to see. I’d ask them instead of someone at the hospital, as the hospital could give you faulty information on accident.

    3. I agree with the posters who’ve said that my peers influenced my body image way more than adults in my life. I think as long as you are open with your child when shim hears these comments (and is old enough to understand them) they’ll understand that it’s not a great behavior. Especially if on the way home, you mention “Did you hear Aunt So and So talking about her diet? She’s so fit. I really dislike that the way females are portrayed in the media makes her feel not enough…etc.” I wouldn’t correct the behavior in front of the child, but at a different time, maybe even proactively sit the person down and say, “I really want to my child to be as confident and both physically and EMOTIONALLY healthy as possible. I’m concerned that when you talk bad about your body, she’s going to get the idea that she needs to do the same blah blah blah.”

    I think it’s something that will depend on many different factors, but I’m sure that you’re positive influence at home is going to help tremendously.

  • Katie Cooke June 6, 2012, 4:04 pm

    I would love to give advice about negative self talk but i am still dealing with that myself. if you come up with somethign good, let me in on it!

    however, about the dropping the baby thing: my sister was carrying her baby down the stairs the other day and she fell, and wouldn’t you know it my sister is banged all to heck but that sweet little baby girl has not a scratch on her.

    i know it sounds weird and having no kids myself i find it hard to believe sometimes, BUT accidents happen. yes, however, like most moms you will find a way to take the fall anytime.

  • katie June 6, 2012, 4:06 pm

    My mother is an amazing woman, she did so many things in my life that I am and will always be in awe of- raising 3 children as a (mostly) single mother being the a big one of those things. However, she was never confident about herself as an adult. She was always dieting, always complaining about needing to lose weight, and always praising me when I did either of these things (I have never been a small girl- being 6 ft. tall sort of gets your weight on up there even if you are “normal” sized). I didn’t think about how this made me feel then, but as an adult and mother of my own 2 boys (and one more on the way- boy or girl, we don’t know yet) I realize that it really made me focus on weight and diet in a fairly obsessive and negative way. And I still do. I have always wondered if I would be able to change my ways, especially if I have a daughter. I truly hope that I can convey a healthy self-esteem so that I can instill such in my children. It is definitely something that I think about and worry about as they get older…

  • CAClarke June 6, 2012, 4:08 pm

    On the breast pump question- I had a Medela In Style that I got a few weeks before hand (local lactation center had a good sale, so I got it) and I’m really glad I did. I consistently overproduced milk for the 13 months I breastfed, no matter what I did. Which was great for building up a frozen supply, but not great for painful (PAINFUL) engorgement. I think it’s pretty common for this to happen to a lot of women shortly after child birth (it usually goes away pretty quickly), and the only relief I could find was to pump just enough to relieve some of the pressure (not so much your body thinks it’s feeding someone). If you don’t think you’ll be using the electric pump much or at all at first, I highly suggest trying the Medela hand pump. I thought they were the dumbest things ever until I got one to keep on my nightstand (much less likely to wake up the husband) and bring with me in the car. I think it was like $30. I ended up keeping my electric one at work and if I needed to skip a feeding here and there at home, I used that one. Also, another suggestion, either get one of the “bras” that holds the breast shields in place (good for work, you don’t have to remove your shirt) or take an old sports bra and cut out two little slits- hands free!

  • Ashley June 6, 2012, 4:09 pm

    Not gonna lie I was always terrified to carry my daughter up and down the stairs when she was an infant. I was sure I was going to drop her, or trip and fall or something. Oy.

    • Earthy Nicole June 6, 2012, 6:31 pm

      As someone who’s seriously clumsy, I feel your pain. I held onto my daughter with such fear going up and down stairs!

  • Cori June 6, 2012, 4:13 pm

    You may be closer than you think. The night before I went into labour – I had 2 braxton-hick that lasted 10-15 mins each! If I’d had a third, I would have had hubby take me in to the hospital. The day I went into labour – I had none…but I couldn;t get within 3 inches of anything – my belly was so sensitive. And then, I was batch cooking for the freezer and realized I hadn’t peed since lunch (it was 5pm and this was unusual at that point in my pregnancy) and figured I should try. Took 2 steps and my water broke just like that. 9 hours later – two babies.

    Yes – you can buy a used pump. Just replace all of the parts except for the pump itself. You can easily buy the pieces separately – new hoses, valves etc. Medela is great for spare parts being easily findable. Buy the best pump you can afford. I ended up pumping exclusively, despite my best intentions to nurse. Having bought a really good pump was such a godsend.

    I was never made to believe I was beautiful by my family. Not called pretty or smart or anything. Not even told I was beautiful by my parents on either of my wedding days was heartbreaking – because that is the one (er two) days of your life you are SUPPOSED to be told you are). It took many years into adulthood to see any worth in myself. It was only when I flipped the switch for myself that I started to realize it was their shortcoming not mine. Sure – I’m no supermodel, but I don’t think I’m hideous. And I am smart and funny and creative and kind and inventive…and those qualities are far more important than anything else anyone can say.

    I don’t think you need to worry about setting a good example for them – you LIVE that good example. Heck – you kinda wrote the book on it.

  • Sally June 6, 2012, 4:16 pm

    I’d say I grew up with some polar opposites. My mom was a little heavier while I was growing up and she talked about dieting a lot. I was a tall child for my age and thus weighed more than my classmates. I remember writing out diet plans for myself before I graduated the eighth grade, and concerned about what pants size I wore (I was wearing juniors clothes well before my classmates were out of their girls sizes).

    On the other hand, my mom was very open about her body in a healthy way (I used to sit in the bathroom with her while she took baths at night and we’d talk), and she explained her stretch marks were from having my brother and I in a proud way.

    I still struggle with self image and looking back I wish I wasn’t so preoccupied with weight when I was a child. I’d definitely be careful about that – and what media you I’d let me child consume (my babysitter/grandma raised me on Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless).

  • Marie June 6, 2012, 4:17 pm

    I’ll never forget my grandma taking me clothes shopping when I was around 11 yrs old and telling me in the dressing room that if I didn’t lay off the ice cream I’d have thunder thighs in a few years! That hurt a lot and made me very self conscious. I think your dad had good advice. I’m excited about the new OB book!!

  • Colleen June 6, 2012, 4:21 pm

    I borrowed a breast pump from a friend, because I didn’t want to spend $400 and end up not using it. I think the pump itself is fine to borrow/buy used just don’t use the accessories. I got a bag of brand-new Medela stuff from the hospital – Two sizes of breast shields, tubes, connectors, all kinds of good stuff.

  • Meg June 6, 2012, 4:22 pm

    I have actually thought about this topic a lot. For me, it was all about watching my parents and subconsciously learning their habits; my dad always reached for fruit as a snack, and as a result, I do, too. My mom never purchased diet food, like when Snackwells were popular and I wanted to get them she said no, but I could have regular cookies. No pop or artificial sweeteners, just lots of real, healthy food (including dessert!). My dad was always very active and invited us to participate in things he loved, like biking, skiing, and ice skating. In the end, it did an amazing job of creating a healthy sense of self. I plan on doing the same when I have kids. Act how you would like them to act, eat how you’d like them to eat, and work how you’d like them to work.

  • Katie June 6, 2012, 4:23 pm

    Buy a used pump!! All the parts that are used should be sanitized before you use them (used or new) and they can all be bought brand new for significantly less than a new pump even if you buy extra parts after purchasing a used pump. I’d totally sell you mine!

  • Laura June 6, 2012, 4:27 pm

    I personally did buy a used breast pump off of Craigslist! It was barely used and the woman obviously didn’t include any of the parts that would connect to your body and the tubes. So you are pretty much just paying for the pump unit itself. Then I just registered for the replacement pieces that would actually carry milk and touch my body! I ended up paying a little over $100 for a $500 pump!

  • lori June 6, 2012, 4:32 pm

    On breast pumps – I would either rent one from the hospital, it’s very common or definitly have one by the time the baby comes. Otherwise you may find yourself full of milk and soooo desperatly needing to get some of that goodness out of you, and that is not when you want to be looking for one in the store! Experience 😉

  • Rachel June 6, 2012, 4:35 pm

    first of all, you can buy a used breast pump! it’s just a machine & you can buy all the extra parts. hell, if we lived closer, i’d sell you mine! it’s currently collecting dust 🙁 and definitely get one in advance. it may save your husband from having to go out & buy one for you. i hear that’s embarrassing 😉

    anywho, from a very early age, i can remember my mother struggling w/ her weight & body image. a lot of her feelings of inadequacy came from HER mother. my mom yo-yo dieted for as long as i can remember. but throughout her struggles, she was nothing but positive, encouraging & loving towards us kids (1 boy, 2 girls). if i ever voiced any discontent w/ my physical self, she would very lovingly tell me i was nuts! she taught us that there are far more important things in life, than worrying about your own perceived imperfections.

    when i found out was having a little girl (who’s now 3) i remember kinda freaking out. like, omg, i have to teach this girl to love herself, not have an eating disorder, etc. but then i just remembered all the positive love that my mother gave me. i’m not saying i don’t still worry about those things, but i think that if i continue to be a positive presence in my child’s life, it could end up being a non-issue.

    ultimately, no matter how you slice it, society/pop-culture invades every crevice of our lives. so even if we do our damnedest to limit what our children view, someone somewhere will plant that little self-doubt bug in their ear. it’s our jobs as parents to be their touchstone. if you teach them love & compassion for others then they’ll develop it for themselves as well.

  • Rebecca June 6, 2012, 4:37 pm

    You look great! So excited for you!

  • Olivia June 6, 2012, 4:38 pm

    On the breast pump … the reason they are considered single use devices is because breast milk can get into the pump itself and spread infectious diseases. Yes, you can buy replacement parts (tubes, flanges, etc) but milk CAN travel down the tubes toward the actual pump. Trust me, it’s happens to mine regularly.

  • Annabelle June 6, 2012, 4:46 pm

    I never once remember my mom being on a diet, or complaining about her weight when I was a kid. She always had healthy food, we ate together most of the time, and we had treats but it was never a big deal. She exercised a few times a week, but generally just let healthy be normal.

    All of that had a huge impact on me. I’m pretty much the same as her, and have always been a healthy weight. It is honestly strange for me whenever I’m around people who are truly unhappy with their bodies because that isn’t how I was raised at all.

  • Ginnean June 6, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Regarding your random thoughts:
    1- My baby is almost 7 months and I still get scared every time I see stairs.

    5- I bought the Medela PISA (used a 20% off coupon and gift card)ahead of time and I’m glad I did because I started using it the day I got home from the hospital. My milk took awhile to come in, which meant my baby was always hungry and very fussy. I would feed every 2 hours and pump right afterwards to try to get my milk to come in faster.

    8- We knew the sex of the baby since I was about 18 weeks along, but could never settle on a name. We went home from the hospital with “Baby Girl” and were given 3 days to come back with a name. It was torture. I’m still not sure how I feel about the name Juliette.

  • Katie June 6, 2012, 4:53 pm

    I’m four weeks from my due date and I totally feel you on #6! I laughed out loud when I read it b/c that is EXACTLY how I feel. 🙂

  • Sarah June 6, 2012, 4:54 pm

    I got conflicting messages from my parents. My dad was very straightforward and told me I was beautiful regularly, no matter what. My mom would say similar things but it was her behavior (yo-yo dieting, fat talk) that also made an impact.

    I went through a few years where I behaved like my mother, and decided that was a shitty way to live. Now I live more like my dad wanted to instill in me. While I automatically mimicked my mom’s way of living at first, it was those things my dad said that helped me to think there must be another way.

    I am beautiful no matter what 🙂 That’s a good message for a girl to get from her dad especially.

  • Kristen June 6, 2012, 4:57 pm

    Good for you for thinking about this extremely important issue right now! This is a major topic in our household right now, as we have an almost 9 year old daughter (and a 7 year old son, but he appears happily oblivious to concerns about body image). As you know from coaching, girls are WAY more aware about what they are hearing and seeing around them then we give them credit for. I grew up with a mother who was ALWAYS on a crazy diet, and that certainly impacted the way I view myself today (despite the fact I am estranged from my mother). I wish more then anything that my daughter could be immune to the pressure that women face still today, but I think it is naive to really hope for that, and more beneficial to tackle the issues straight on. For a long time I tried to protect my daughter from hearing anything negative, especially regarding body image and looks, but recently I have come to realize that our children are not always with us, and though we try to shield them with our mommy armor, the truth is, we need to empower them to be self thinkers who have make decisions on their own. The need wisdom, and that is born out of honesty. I will say, however, that I have made it very clear to my friends and family that it is inappropriate to openly discuss diet and weight in front of my highly aware daughter. My MIL in particular, is always counting calories and talks about a calorie like it is poison. I finally had to explain to her that the message she is sending my daughter is toxic itself, and I forbid the discussion to continue. In our house, we refer to calories as precisely what they are – units of measurement for ENERGY – we NEED them to live! Yes, we emphasis that there are healthy choices to be made when selecting food, but I surely do not what a food obsessed young daughter to grow up in an already hyper obsessed society.

  • Kristen June 6, 2012, 4:59 pm

    PS: That almost nine year old daughter of mine was due on 06/13/2003 (same due date as you!) and she was born a week later on 06/20/03, after I was induced by my midwives. Here’s a toast to your baby coming before my daughter’s birthday! ; )

  • clare @ fittingitallin June 6, 2012, 5:02 pm

    I was JUST talking about this topic with a girlfriend. I am well aware that all women have body image issues, but I am so appreciative that my mother NEVER talked about it in front of me. She never mentioned looking or feeling fat, eating too much or too little, or anything like that. We were brought up trying to eat balanced meals and playing sports and there was no discussion of appearance. Yet somehow I still ended up with an eating disorder..hmmmm

  • Allison June 6, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I actually wanted to comment on your breast pump comment 🙂 I bought a used Medela pump off of ebay and saved roughly $150.00 by doing so. When I was at the hospital they gave me a Medela packet with all new pump parts. I’m not sure if yours will do the same but you can use a used pump and just get new parts! I also was very thankful to have a pump right away because my milk didnt come in till day 4! When I got home they suggested pumping to help my milk along. It also helped to pump once my milk came in and I was extremely full and my daughter couldn’t drink all of the extra milk!

  • Mary June 6, 2012, 5:03 pm

    My mom has been on and off of weight watchers for as far back as I can remember and has always struggled to maintain her weight. I’m not sure she remembers this at all, but she said something so hurtful to me when I was in 6th grade. My best friend was catholic and making her confirmation, so I needed something nice to wear to the church. Around 6th grade I went through a chubby stage, as I think most girls do at some point. I remember coming out of the fitting room and her making this face…and being like “Geez, Mary, you need to stand up straight and try to suck in that stomach or something.” Defining moment. The first time I became aware of my body and how something might be “wrong” with it.

    Looking back I think she was probably coming from a place of fear, that I would struggle with weight the same way she did. I’m not sure she ever even criticized my body again. But I’ll never forget that moment because I’ve been aware and unhappy with my body ever since (even though my chubby stage ended and my weight is perfectly normal). I’m 23 now and I’ve been fighting negative self talk ever since.

    I guess my point is that nothing I had heard or read up until that point stuck with me, and that YOU are going to be the biggest influence on your child especially if its a girl. I think as long as you keep doing what you’re doing your child will grow up with a great self image 🙂

  • Bethany June 6, 2012, 5:03 pm

    My mother hated her body. She has been overweight her whole life and her self esteem plummeted because of that. Depression and sadness towards my sisters and I threw my older sister into an eating disorder, and me into overeating and drug use. I was 23 when I finally decided enough was enough.

    I don’t blame my mother for her body issues, I blame her mother for never building her up enough. I blame the outward influence she had growing up for breaking her down. I decided to break the cycle, and if I am ever blessed with children I will to the best of my ability do the same for them.

  • Lyndsey Christine @ Polish and Gloss June 6, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I was blessed with great parents. My father never mentioned my weight unless he knew i was trying to lose some, and it was always encouraging. My mother never talked about weight, her weight or mine. She is thin and I was until HS. When I gained weight, no one ever said anything to me about it. When I decided I wanted to eat healthier, my mother started making me healthy lunches for school, and we added more fish and vegetables to all of our diets. Even my brother, who has a solid 6 pack, has never said anything about my weight, when I did negatively talk about it, he sad he didn’t see it. I was blessed for this. I absolutely believe this is why I don’t have a problem with my body.

    On the other end of the spectrum, my neighbor was always talking about her weight, dieting, and trying to exercise to get rid of her large thighs (this woman was only 120 pounds), her daughter in turn developed an eating disorder ten years ago and has not recovered from it…

    My advise Caitlin, it is YOUR actions that will most affect your childrens personas. Raise them well with the ideas you mentioned above, and they have a pretty good chance of turning out, just fine 🙂

  • Julie June 6, 2012, 5:10 pm

    My daughter is 12, & I have been doing all the things that you plan to do for years. I agree that body image & self-esteem are SO important. If my daughter is exposed to negative talk or observes some other negative activity (whether it’s a stranger, friend, or even Grandma!), I just wait until we’re alone, & I will bring it up & explain why I disagree w/ what was said or done & how it could have been handled better. I try to lead by example, but not be too preachy either because I don’t want her to obsess about what she eats or how much she exercises or how she looks.

  • Abby June 6, 2012, 5:11 pm

    After giving birth to my older sister and me, both of my parents “let themselves go.” I don’t remember hearing a lot of negative self-talk, but I know they weren’t happy with themselves. Somewhere along the lines, my parents both became fitness fanatics and pushing 50, I’d say my mom is the happiest she has ever been. What I do remember is my parents passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I seemed to pick up the same attitude and don’t feel like I’ve personally struggled with self-image (okay, maybe in those ugly middle school years!).

  • Kelli June 6, 2012, 5:13 pm

    I think it is important to realize that both men & women can & do have poor boy image & resulting issues. Both of my parents were almost always on some type of diet growing up, & both commented on their own weight & size negatively, as well as a lot of negative talk about fat people in general. Then when I became a teen & developed curves, they freaked out that I was getting fat & told me for the rest of my high school & college years that I had a pretty face, or that I could be so attractive if I’d slim down, etc. It made me feel so ashamed of my own body, which, looking back, was a very healthy size & pretty sexy shape, just not very typical of a 9th grader! Anyway, I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time & effort to eliminate fat talk from my life, although it comes up in my head sometimes still I think I’ve made a lot of progress. I have told my parents already that I don’t want people to discuss their or other people’s percieved flaws in front of my children, although my first child isn’t due until the end of the summer. I figure setting those boundaries clearly before they have time to come up in front of my kids is best. I know we can’t protect kids from hearing negative talk, but I don’t want it to come from the mouths of those who love them most.
    Also, my mom fell down the stairs with me when I was about 6 weeks old. She said my head hit every single stair on the way down but she couldn’t stop or move me without letting go. I turned out ok, so even if it happens there’s a good chance everything will work out. 🙂

  • Courtney June 6, 2012, 5:18 pm

    My parents set a bad example for what it means to be beautiful and/or healthy. They’d regularly go on deprivation diets, where there wouldn’t be much food in the house “because we can all stand to lose some weight” and they’d plead with me to wear make-up and more feminine/revealing clothes “so that boys will like you”.

    Regardless their bad example…I didn’t give in. The boys that would like me because I wear make-up and revealing clothes–I wouldn’t like them. I’m happier in my own skin, with or without make-up, since I’ve moved away from them–and now, I do like to wear feminine clothes 🙂

    Your attitude will positively impact your child moreso than others’ negative attitudes/body image. And I’m sure you’d talk with them after hearing someone engage in negative self-talk.

  • Becca @ Blueberry Smiles June 6, 2012, 5:27 pm

    My mom always had a really healthy body image- she was thin, but I never once heard her say she was on a diet or say anything negative about her body. She ate balanced meals based on what she felt like and if her clothes were tighter, she just ate a little less for a few days. It’s interesting though because her parents were both overweight, so I’m surprised she didn’t have issues. However, despite growing up w her as a model, I still struggled with eating disorders and body image…but I think it was more influenced by friends and the media, much of which is hard for a parent to control.

  • Hillary June 6, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Honestly, it was my DAD who had a bigger impact on my body image, both positive and negative. I was a heavy kid/teenager/young adult, and my dad is a health fanatic. I remember being overwhelmed when I was younger, thinking I could never keep up with my dad. When I started losing weight in college, however, I realized that I had been neglecting my biggest resource all along! My dad ended up becoming my favorite workout buddy: he’s a great motivator but he’s a little competitive, too. He stuck by me every step of my weight loss journey, and we still love working out together today!

  • Jillian @ Reshape Your Life June 6, 2012, 5:34 pm

    My mother and father for that matter to this day have very negative body images; always wanting to be a little thinner or change this or that. It DEFINITELY played a role in how I felt about myself growing up… I considered plastic surgery at a young age up until I was about 20 years old, I had a very unhealthy relationship with food (that I’m still struggling with today) and I really battle with the “if I just lost XX amount of weight I’d feel a lot better”. It’s a constant battle and it’s something I am completely conscious of at all times.

    I don’t have kids but it’s something I definitely don’t want to pass on to my children; I think the best way to tackle it is to set a standard in your home and do your best to be a positive role model… As for the other stuff, just talk to them, explain to them why other people say those things about themselves and why it isn’t necessary, and give them the tools they need to set a good example for others. I think you have your head on straight about this so I don’t think it’s much to worry about. Just keep the line of communication open and you will be fine!

  • Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama June 6, 2012, 5:39 pm

    I didn’t not have a pump before my first baby and I really needed it. When my milk came in I was sooooo engorged that my daughter was unable to latch on one side. I absolutely had to pump to relieve the pressure. I literally had to run the the store at 6:30 in the morning to buy a pump. It was awful. Have one ahead of time just in case!

    As for the body image question-it was really a non-issue in my house. I don’t remember my mom ever even talking about her body. We were always an active family and any body talk was related to what we could do physically. (ie I have big calves and that was only talked about in relation to me being a fast runner so I never thought of it as a bad thing) I think as a result I’ve always had a healthy body image. Even when I gained “the freshman 15” in college and asked my mom if she noticed, she was really nonchalant about it. She said something like, yes I noticed, but it’s normal and you’ll lose it. Sure enough, I did lose it that summer without really trying-just by going back to my regular, healthy eating habits I’d gotten away from that year. So I think the best approach is to not think about it too much or make a big deal about it.

  • Lindsay June 6, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I had a very healthy body image growing up and I think it was alot to do with my Grandmother. To this day I have rarely heard her say anything regarding anyones appearance whether good or bad. She always chose to say something about their personality or their character and it was usually something positive. It taught me that whats on the inside is truly what counts and although I was not the most beautiful child/teenager, I never knew that, I always felt confident, and that I was good enough, and that I deserved all the best in life.

    However, you can’t keep your kids from watching tv and seeing magazines but what you can do is instill in them that character is always more important than appearance. When you are observing someone or meet someone new instead of thinking what pretty hair or eyes point out something about WHO that person is for example, “what a great laugh she has” or “she is so kind” some trait that isn’t physical and hopefully your child will learn to do the same! It definitely worked for me.

  • Tricia June 6, 2012, 5:52 pm

    As a former chubby child, I would just like to say that no child should go on a diet! When I was about 10, my parents tried to get me to lose some weight, but they did it all wrong. They brought in special diet foods for me while my siblings and parents were able to eat the normal (yummy) stuff. My sister, though, has done a good job at this with her kids. She just talks to them about stuff and is honest. She answers their questions. And she exercises with them and without them! They will try any food in the world and they are very aware of health and diet. My dad has type II diabetes and they know what that means and how it impacts him. Oh, and they’re only 7 and 9. Like you said, just lead by example and be consistent. Your baby is going to be in excellent hands!

  • Amanda June 6, 2012, 5:57 pm

    It’s so interesting that you posed this question, as I have been thinking about it for the past week. My mother was never good enough for herself. Always trying to lose weight and judging herself too harshly. I grew up seeing that, not having an example of a healthy attitude. Unfortunately the criticism turned to me. I was labeled as fat. I was always fat to them. Looking back on it I get so mad. If they only knew how deeply those comments affected me. Even now at 26 whenever my mother says something about how I look it’s like stirring the pot. I get angry and she doesn’t understand why. I’ve come a long way in accepting myself and appreciating what my body can do as opposed to how I look. I guess I’d try to raise children with the same amount of balance. Teach them not to judge, teach them to be happy and grateful.

  • BroccoliHut June 6, 2012, 5:59 pm

    My mom has always had a pretty negative self-image and unfortunately passed that on to me. Now, you can’t blame an eating disorder on any one thing or any one person, but I think her constant negative comments about her body certainly contributed to my development of anorexia in high school.
    Anyway, you’re awesome for thinking ahead and trying to encourage a positive self-image for your child!!

  • m June 6, 2012, 6:02 pm

    I have actually thought a ton about this now that I also have a little one on the way…

    In short, I grew up in a house where my mom definitely struggled with her weight. In her complete defense, she quit smoking when she became pregnant, and then when I was young my father almost died and was in a hospital for over a year while my mom was left essentially as a single parent, caring for two young children and also trying to work full time. In short, she put on weight….

    Most of my childhood I watched her struggle with weight and I cannot say that it definitely did not impact me, but what impacted me more was watching her overcome her battle and finally get healthy (even if that didn’t come til she was in her late 50s). She knew she wanted to become healthy, she simply didn’t know how to do that in the best way.

    Was their fat talk in our house? Yes. I cannot recall a specific incident, but I know my mom had issues getting dressed for formal things…

    More importantly (much much more importantly in my opinion) there was a LOT of positive talk in our house about other things. Yes, my mom struggled with body images (my father did too, but that is a whole other ball game…he was always thin but his own father was morbidly obese so that definitely impacted his lifestyle), but she never made life about our appearance. We were encouraged in so many ways that I think both me and my siblings derived confidence that was completely independent of our appearance – school, sports, friends, etc… that was what was always emphasized in our home and I think that is what truly makes a difference.

    In short (given how long this post is), I really don’t think you will be able to “protect” your child forever from fat talk (nor did you imply that), but I think what is key is whether you want to focus on it… I think giving attention to people’s negative talk (even if simply asking them not to do so) will only spark curiosity in a child’s mind about why this issue is SO important as opposed to the many other things in life. I truly believe the key to self esteem is to find value in things other than body/health and the best way to do this is by encouraging those aspects of your child’s life rather than trying to protect them from every negative comment.

    Either way, I know you will set a great example.

  • Amanda June 6, 2012, 6:21 pm

    Not rude at all! I get what you’re saying, but maybe I wasn’t entirely clear. I guess what I was trying to say was that we are replacing the all too common discussions about weight or appearance with generic references to being healthy. It’s not like we wake him up every day and quiz him on being healthy or chastise him for eating his favorite cookie :). I see it as getting a head start on something kids learn in elementary school ( we learned all about the Canadian Food Guide, the importance of fitness, etc.) I’m just doing it earlier in his life, but not in a forceful or overly obvious way. So, rather than talking about the size of my hips or the fact that his dad would like to have muscles one day, he hears about us exercising or helps us pick out produce at the farmers market. I don’t see that as a negative thing at all.

  • Sara June 6, 2012, 6:40 pm

    I grew up with a mother that constantly criticized her weight and body–especially her thighs. She was never over-weight and was an average size. I clearly remember one time when I was in elementary school, we were sitting on the dock she told me to make sure I didn’t have “thighs like she did.” I actually promised (?!) that I would exercise and eat right so I would have thin thighs. I had no idea what was really going on in that conversation, but I do believe it was the start of my excessive preoccupation with my weight and size. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and have a really hard time believing my mom when she says I’m beautiful, etc because at each stage of my life I’ve always been heavier than my mom when she was at the same stage. Never mind that we have different body types! “If she didn’t like her body how can I like mine?” It is hard to take a compliment when the giver (my mother) has always believed herself to be fat or ugly. It is a cycle that I’ve just recently recognized and have worked hard at breaking. Slowly, those negative and disorder thoughts are going away and for the first time I’m using exercise for me not as a way to “get thin” or fulfill a stupid promise from years ago. Oh the webs we weave!

  • Alexandra June 6, 2012, 6:49 pm

    You know what you are doing- lead by example, question the media, challenge other’s thoughts, GOOD books and television shows that promote good body image and self esteem, reminding a child to be THANKFUL for their body. I’m a huge believer that involvement in sports and exercise do these things (especially martial arts).
    I hope these suggestions help, but in all seriousness Caitlin, you’re a PRO in this department.

  • Earthy Nicole June 6, 2012, 6:51 pm

    My mother definitely had a negative impact on my body image, but what she did and said were things so obviously wrong, I don’t even need to say them. As far as other adults, when I look back I remember being told how cute or pretty I was, which is something I try to remember with my daughter. Now that I’m older, and maybe not so cute or pretty, I sometimes wonder if that’s all I ever had going for me. Of course, I know this isn’t true but it is something I have to battle. I try to have different talks with my own daughter. I do, however, notice when we meet new people (or even friends and family) that everyone always wants to say “Oh, look how cute she is!” which makes me uncomfortable. Of course, they mean well, but it reminds me of how adults treated me when I was young. I might say thanks but otherwise disregard the comment and change subjects. When I meet other little girls, I’m very conscious about pointing out other qualities about them that I find admirable. I wish more people thought like you, Caitlin, because it’s scary bringing a kid into this world where people can be so superficial and blindly cruel.

  • Morgan June 6, 2012, 7:37 pm

    I suffered from an eating disorder that sent me to the hospital for 6 months of my life. Although I love my mother dearly, she was the main cause.

    I’ve been over my eating disorder for many years now, so it doesn’t phase me as much, but my mom still talks about her weight, the gym, her appearance and all of that 24/7. If you ask friends, they would say that all my mom talks about is how much she exercises. It was horrible for me growing up.

    Now that I have a 6-month-old daughter of my own, I’m really strict about what is said around her. There is no yelling in my home. ( I grew up with tons of yelling.) There is no “fat talk” in my house. There is no poor body image talk in my house. My daughter is just a baby, but I want her to have a different life ohhh so badly.

    I hope she’ll always know how wonderful, smart, beautiful and important she is.

  • Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! June 6, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Ha, your worry about dropping the baby while on the stairs made me LOL…as my mom dropped me as a baby (because she saw a spider crawling on my baby blanket!), though I wasn’t dropped down the stairs. But instead, I apparently fell down the stairs while in my baby walker! Somehow I landed right side up (my dad swears I did a flip in the air while going down the stairs in that baby walker)! But I’m totally fine 🙂 No brain damage, and I was a decent student (almost 4.0 in high school, magna cum laude in college and law school).

    As for the body image thoughts, cheers to you! I wish my mom would have thought about that issue. Like many women, she criticized herself, and passively-aggressively criticized my weight while I was growing up (she still does it to my sister, as my sister is overweight and hypothyroid). I try not to be too hard on her, but I do think I would have had a more positive image of myself while living in my parents house if my mom had a more positive idea of self-worth.

  • Ellie June 6, 2012, 7:59 pm

    I don’t think there is ANYTHING the matter with telling someone you don’t want them to talk negatively about themselves in front of your child. Let them know you don’t want your child to learn that behavior. The person talking that way must, on some level, know that is unhealthy behavior. Maybe thinking about how it affects younger generations will make them change their behavior.

    On a related note: I went to a screening of “Miss Representation” recently. It deals with body image in girls and women and it’s really great. If you haven’t see it yet you really should.

  • Molly @ Duchess of Fork June 6, 2012, 8:06 pm

    I went to visit a friend and her 12 hour old baby in the hospital last month. Before my visit I had horrible images of dropping her baby! It didn’t happen- thank goodness. 🙂 You’re amazing and beautiful, Caitlin. I can’t wait to meet your little miss or mister. Hope these next few days and weeks are easy for you.

  • Kayla June 6, 2012, 8:07 pm

    What a fabulous topic!

    I have to tell you, first, that I share a similar concern and I’m not even pregnant (yet!). My mother-in-law is a notorious negative self-talker. She quit smoking, gave up fast food and lost more than 40 pounds on Weight Watchers about 10 years ago (good for her). She has a small (no, teeny tiny) frame and doesn’t need to lose any more weight. But she eats like a bird and talks poorly about her diet in front of us all the time. And, to top it all off, she constantly plies us with treats–chip dip, loaded brownies, chocolate candies–even though she knows we try to limit that stuff as much as possible; and then, she’ll justify that the chip dip, for example, is “not that bad for you” because she made it with fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese, etc. She doesn’t even eat REAL FOOD; she relies on WW brand yogurt, low-calorie bread and artificially sweetened beverages. I want to say something, but I can’t because a) I know nothing will change and b) I don’t want to hurt her feelings trying to get her to see my way.

    I firmly believe her views toward food and her body dramatically shaped my husband. He didn’t eat any vegetables except corn, carrots and potatoes (not a vegetable) until he and I were seriously dating and even more so when we were living together. He notoriously ate PopTarts, Toaster Strudel and cake for breakfast, downed can after can of regular soda and ate his fair share of fast-food burgers and tacos. His mother never set good food examples–never encouraged him to eat his veggies and try new things and to limit the junk; she just let everything slide because it was easy–and she continues to set a poor example. I worry about my children.

    My mother and frankly most of the adults in my life growing up were not at all judgmental about weight and body issues–for the most part. My mom is heavy, my grandmas were heavy, my aunts and uncles are heavy. They always told me I looked beautiful and focused more on my smarts and skills than my clothes and appearance. My friends–classmates, really–were the ones who were mean and teased me for being fat. I never let it bother me (I was pretty strong back then, amazingly.) because I was focused on getting good grades and excelling in my after-school activities.

    I made the change to get healthy on my own. I saw how hard it was for my mom to find clothes that fit and flattered her. I saw my grandma die of a stroke. I saw my grandparents take pill after pill for things like blood pressure and cholesterol. I didn’t want to be like them; I wanted to be around for the long haul and really have something to feel good about–besides my brain. I did it sort of incognito; I wasn’t living at home, so my parents and friends didn’t really know. They noticed when I came home from college or when they visited and complimented me–and I was proud! My mom still hasn’t really encouraged me or understood me through the last year or so of trying to lose weight, tone up and eat well. I always thought she thought it was silly. She even told me I should consider giving up marathon training when I was having a busy week early on in my plan. But then she came to my first marathon and watched me cross that finish line, and I think she understood. I give her a lot of props. She’s really cleaned up her diet in the last few years, but she still doesn’t really exercise because her hips give her trouble. I wish she would just go for walks, but I know that’s tough. My dad, on the other hand, got real about his health and fitness (not sure why, really)–started eating better and running and cycling–and lost a bunch of weight; he’s been perhaps my biggest supporter, and I bet he doesn’t even know it, because he’s led by example: We eat healthy meals, yet still have treats. We go for runs together. We talk about what it means to be healthy and feel good. I never thought I would have that in common with my father, but I love that I do.

    This comment is super long! I’m so sorry. Moral of the story: Children learn by watching their parents, relatives and other trusted adults. You will have a small battle in teaching your child to view his or her body, food and exercise in a healthy way, rather than the way his or her relatives do. Good luck. I know that you will do so well because you’re thinking about it and making a plan for how to raise your baby…

  • Johanna June 6, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Not a mom yet ( trying) but my Husband also has red hair and I hope we have a red haired baby and he said no way! Lol You look great! Good luck 🙂

  • Claire June 6, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Oh wow, this is something that weighs on my mind constantly. I have 2 young daughters and a little son too. My mother bless her heart was a terrible body image role model. She was always speaking negatively about her size and this really rubbed off on me. I distinctly remember in my mid twenties noticing one day that my grandmother, my mum’s mum, was exactly the same. Despite never having been overweight, I suffer every single day from crushing body image problems. I spend so much of my time thinking about my size and what I’m eating. The only thing that helps is to run a lot – that seems to make me feel a bit better. Anyway, when I had my daughters I was determined not to model poor body image to them. I never talk about how I look, I never talk about good and bad food. Instead I try to model excellent eating and exercise habits, and I’m sure to always speak about the value of people by their actions, not their appearance. I don’t talk about anyone’s body size, and I always focus on wanting them to grow up healthy and strong. I think I’m doing an OK job. I’m just grateful that they can’t hear what goes on inside my head!

  • Kristen June 6, 2012, 8:12 pm

    It wasn’t until I spent a lot of time with my mother in law that I realized just how lucky I was that my mother never, ever talked about the things she didn’t like about her body. It just isn’t in my mum’s nature and I’m so thankful for that. Now that I’m around my mother in law more, I genuinely don’t know what to say when she talks about her body…and some of the things she’s said to my sister in law are just not cool. I’m not surprised that she (my SIL) doesn’t feel great about her body.

  • Ali June 6, 2012, 8:12 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now but have never felt compelled to leave any comments but your question posed to your readers struck a chord with me.
    I may not be married yet and still don’t have kids but at almost 28 years old, your point in number 8 is something that has always concerned me if I were to have a daughter.
    Growing up, as far back as I can remember, I have memories of my mother refusing to eat meals, skipping breakfast, lunch and dinner and just eating a bit of ice cream at night for “desert” all the while smoking loads of cigarettes to surpress her appetitite.
    My sister and I always tried to get her to eat dinner with us but she rarely would. This had a tremendous impact on my sister and I yet we internalized it in different ways. Because of my mom’s eating habits and her constant criticisms of her body (and mine as I hit puberty), I gained an incredible amount of weight as a rebellion against her and my sister started starving herself her freshman year of high school in response to my mom’s apparent hatred towards me.
    No one else really impacted me. I never paid much thought to my thin friends’ negative comments about their bodies outside of the “are you crazy? I’ve got a good 60lbs on you and YOU’RE complaining?!” haha

    I think it’s incredibly important to raise our daughters to have confidence in their bodies, to appreciate the things their bodies do for them and teaching them the importance of being active without driving them to eating disorders. I guess it’s a difficult balance to strike but I’m sure you’re do well. 🙂

  • Jen June 6, 2012, 8:12 pm

    Great post! I was ver self conscious growing up…due to people outside my family. I have two major goals for my daughter ( currently 9 months)
    1) Ensure she does what she loves ( regardless of money, power, image, anything. Just do what she LOVES for her “career”)

    2) somehow ensure she is confident, healthy and never has an issue w/ body image. …ummm yeah…how the hell does one accomplish that in this world???

    I’ll be reading all the comments. 😉

  • Michal June 6, 2012, 8:16 pm

    I’m not pregnant (or even in a relationship), but I think about this a lot too. My family is obsessed with weight, and not in a good way. It wasn’t until I moved out that I started to really get the idea of accepting your body type and making healthy food and fitness choices. And even if I said to my family someday, “I want to raise my child with positive self-image, so please don’t talk about the following in front of her/him…” I know it wouldn’t work. I think that maybe you have to address those things head on with your child: enforce the positive self-worth and talk about how sad it is that a lot of people give into poor self-image. That it’s normal to struggle with it, but you are beautiful and can make healthy choices no matter what.
    I’m looking forward to reading the other comments on this!

  • lizzy June 6, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Bottom line: You can’t shelter your child. No matter how much you try, they will be exposed to those things. As you said, you can lead by example and teach them, but they will still be exposed. Whether it is your friends or if it is on TV/magazines/etc, your child has no way of escaping it. Your job as a mother is to teach your child how to deal with situations, rather than sheltering them from them.

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction June 6, 2012, 8:26 pm

    My mother did not view her body in a “bad way”, but I do have vivid memories of us going to the mall, and her in the dressing room complain about how “nothing fit” or how she was “fat”. I also remember her constantly being on diets, but she always ate rather healthy.

    I think you should just try to influence him/her to the best of your ability while you are at home, and then trust that he/she will know the difference between right and wrong in his/her on life. I myself am a control freak, but things like this we just cannot control, therefore in my opinion it is best to just as much as you can, and let the rest be in fates hands 🙂

  • Shannon June 6, 2012, 8:30 pm

    I love this post! I think about this too!! I’ve actually played out a conversation in my head that I would have with my mother about moderating her body image talk (note: it’s mostly negative and she’s a very healthy and fit woman) in front of any child of mine. They say that 50% of children of mothers with disordered eating will having some disordered eating in their lifetime. So for me, it’s about showing them how to love their body and the differences between our bodies in general by leading by example. My mother always told me how beautiful I was and how beautiful my body was and how I should be proud of it, but at a young age, it became apparent that she didn’t feel that way about her body. It didn’t help that I’m the spitting image of her–seriously, our bodies are pretty identical. So of course, this has led to a troubled relationship between my mother and I and her ‘body talk.’ Thankfully, she didn’t influence me enough in that way to push me to an eating disorder, but she certainly makes me very aware of my body when she is around. My sister, however, has struggled with an eating disorder and I can see so clearly how my mom’s body image issues are linked to my sisters–the feeling of self worth that accompanies how their body looks or how they stay in control.

    Sorry so long!! I guess the bottom line is, I think you have to show your kids you love YOUR body. Show them how to appreciate what they have and differences between people and they will always have an example to look back on when they’re struggling.

    ps. i love your blog, been a long time reader and i am very excited for your new baby! i’ll be sending some serious momma vibes your way so that you can let your body do everything it needs to to bring the little one into the world. good luck!

  • Jolene (Homespun Heritage) June 6, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Very thought provoking as always!

  • Crystal June 6, 2012, 8:33 pm

    They say you can’t leave the hospital w/o a name, but you can. You just have to fill in baby girl or baby girl for the first name then file a name change later. My second was a home birth and had no name for 2-3 days b/c we couldn’t decide. We didn’t file the birth certificate for 6 months either.

    Breast pumps might be covered by insurance. Mine was 100% with my first b/c we hit the deductible and out of pocket max.

  • jen June 6, 2012, 8:39 pm

    i love this body image topic, it is so important that we show our children an excellent example, even if we are sometimes faking it. i grew up in a house where as a child i had 3 adult sisters and a mother who constantly self bashed. every diet and workout video went through our house, as well as constant talk about how horribly they felt about themselves. i remember thinking the most fun thing was writing up new diet plans. i even remember one thanksgiving sitting on the floor writing up “The American Diet” where you pretty much ate 3 slices of toast a day and 2 apples. i have thought that im fat since early childhood, and have critizied my body since at least first grade. it is something i deal with every day, and i know so much of it stems from me thinking how normal it was to hate your body as a child. we have to stop this cycle we do (i say we bc i think its a huge problem for females. i do not yet have children, but when i do its something i know i will be careful about, bc so much of my past shaped my body umage today.

  • Amy D June 6, 2012, 8:39 pm

    My mom’s negative self talk greatly effected me and my sister. My mom is 5’5″ and about 110 pounds. While she never said anything bad about us, she was constantly saying how fat she was and what a cow she was. My sister and I took it different directions – she fought with anorexia and I became a closet over eater.
    We both have fought for years to become happy with our body image and for the most part we’re both there. We’re mid-30s so it took us a while. Trash talk is amazingly powerful.
    Sorry I don’t have any good suggestions about what to tell other people when they are doing it. I usually just say something like “hey, you should be nicer to yourself. You deserve it”.
    You’re going to be a great mom! You guys have so much love to give. 🙂

  • Kelly June 6, 2012, 8:48 pm

    What an interesting topic. Wow. I have never thought about this before! I remember my mom always either being on The Zone Diet or drinking Slimfast shake. But I also remember her eating the same family dinner we ate, going to restaurants and eating dessert. I actually never verbally heard my mom engage in negative self talk and only as I got older did I realize what those Slimfast shakes were for. My mom also never exercised a day in her life. She hates to sweat! But she and my dad always encouraged my brother and me to play sports, go swimming and so forth and she was always our biggest supporter. My mom is naturally thin and so I never really thought about her weight or my weight growing up but I was also a thin child and teenager. I was involved in Caristy sports and was very self confident. As an adult I am so insecure. I am still athletic and in great shape but have been so jaded by the media and their definition of how women should look that my childhood innocence and security is long gone. I know how I feel about myself has nothing to do with my childhood. I guess my very long winded point is that you can do everything right as a mother Caitlyn and how your baby thinks when they grow up may not be a product of how they were raised.

  • Staci June 6, 2012, 9:00 pm

    You look so amazing; really, really beautiful.

    To answer your question (which my friend and I have talked about in depth), I have huge insecurities and a lot of it does, unfortunately, stem from my mom. She has always had very low self-esteem despite seeming outwardly confident (which I guess I come off like as well) and is super critical about her body.

    I am much the same and I hate, hate, hate it. I have promised myself, though, that I’m going to do everything I can not to pass the same on to my (hopefully) children. I have a six year old son now and frankly. his fascination with body image comes from his dad. He constantly talks about how fat his dad is (because he says it). But, he and I just don’t talk that way. I do think it’s easier with boys; there just isn’t much pressure but it certainly does still exist.

    I think you’re going to set a good example in the way you talk, eat, stay active, etc. Your child will feed off from that. You won’t be able to shelter him/her completely, but your example is the one that will matter most.

    Good luck this week!

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats June 6, 2012, 9:04 pm

    This post is making me tear up! Mainly because I’m struggling with this issue myself right now. My mom was a great healthy role model – she ran, biked and worked out for a long time, while still maintaining a family and a job and then getting her masters and doctorate. We ate healthily but she still indulged in her favorite things, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I heard her say negative things about her body (when she wasn’t as active mostly). I, on the other hand, was a chubby teen and then an obese young adult and always had negative things to say and think about myself. It’s gotten better as I’ve been more comfortable and lost weight and changed my lifestyle, but the times when I’m under stress and don’t workout or something else comes up, the negative Nancy is still there.

    It’s so hard! Part of me thinks “If you don’t like something, then change it” and part of me thinks that the negative body imagine/fat talk/not so nice comments are also something that we do as a society to keep ourselves from being “too” content or too happy with ourselves or not perfect, especially as women. “It’s not “okay” for me to be 30lbs overweight and be happy with it – I need to be skinny!” Sigh. It is tough, but I do know that you’re going to be an amazing, amazing mom 🙂

  • Lee June 6, 2012, 9:08 pm

    My mom (a single mother) was constantly talking about her weight when I was growing up, although she never said a word about mine. I was a chubby kid/teenager and when I lost like 30 lbs in my 20s, my mom acted like it was the best thing ever and even though I got to a point where people were starting to think I was too thin, my mom never did. The fact that she was so excited and happy that I’d lost weight and talked about wanting to eat like me really was difficult. My grandmother is the same way and it’s really hard for me. I’ll eat like a cookie or something and she’ll be like, “I cannot believe you ate that!”

  • Patricia June 6, 2012, 9:11 pm

    I’m in my second month of exclusive breastfeeding. It certainly takes some lifestyle juggling, but the benefits are very rewarding. I also have a medela swing pump, I have used it a couple times but found that my milk flow went way out of wack afterwords, and it took a couple days to get back to normal. I would recommend getting your pump before baby comes so you have it just in case. I originally thought i needed it to be new, however if you borrow or get used you can sterilize it and have no worries. In the end its all your own preference. best of luck with baby htp!

  • Katie O June 6, 2012, 9:12 pm

    As someone ho just gave birth, I had to comment!
    No. 5 – I didn’t, but ended up sending my hubby out for a pump after my milk came in and i looked like Dolly parton from engorgement! I just got a handpump – Medela Harmony and i love it.

    No. 6 – I had the same feeling … Except… I was in early labor for 4 weeks before giving birth to our peanut. when it comes down to it, the baby fits… I’m not sure how, but they do! (and once you’re pushing, you don’t care that they’re coming out your vagina!!!

  • Duffy June 6, 2012, 9:13 pm

    I actually had TWO breast pumps given to me. It’s kind of insane. If you want one, I’ll be happy to send it over to you. It’s used, but you just buy all the new hookups and stuff. At least that’s what I’m planning on doing. Both moms also gave me all their old plastic bottles, and that was what weirded me out. You have to heat those bottles up so many times…it can’t be good for the plastic, no matter whether or not they’re BPA free.

    You look amazing. Somehow manage to enjoy this last week. It’s sure to go by so quickly, and then everything changes in a heartbeat. We have 8 weeks to go. Hopefully I’ll look half as good as you do!

  • Angie June 6, 2012, 9:17 pm

    My mother was always trying the latest diet and always felt like she had 5-10 pounds to lose, but my dad has always been overweight but, worse, a compulsive eater. I was chubby as a child and became a morbidly obese adult. At the age of 29 I reached my own healthy tipping point and began to work on my eating and exercise habits and am now almost 90 pounds lighter (and have gone through 4 pregnancies!) at the age of 41. My younger sister and brother have never had issues with their weight, so I don’t know if the genesis of my weight problems are from watching my parents or from a real genetic predisposition to compulsive eating like my father. I have learned tricks for myself that help me with willpower, like buying things individually packaged or individually packaging them as soon as I get home from the store.

    The question of how to be a model for my kids is a question that I struggle mightily with in my house. We are very careful about what our kids eat and try to teach them about the benefits of eating lots of different kinds of foods. They have been known to read labels and tell us the relative merits of their breakfast cereals! My husband and I are both very active and are frequently training for races, and we make it a point to tell them that sometimes they have to give mommy or daddy time to exercise before we do something with them. The ones who are old enough are all involved in sports to some degree and do a lot of active outside play. My worry is that I am too neurotic about it and worried that they will have the problems that I had. We let them have treats, but we are measured about it (my daughter’s best friend has an all-carb lunch plus a candy bar every day with no fruit or veggie in sight, which she resents). My daughter is in 3rd grade, and she and her friends already compare their weights and clothing sizes…sigh.

    • Carly June 6, 2012, 9:24 pm

      Congratulations on your weight loss – way to go! That is really inspiring. Sounds to me like you are doing a great job being a positive role model! 🙂

      • Angie June 7, 2012, 8:30 am

        Thanks! It will always be a struggle for me, but I can’t imagine going back to the person who wore a size 22 and couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. Now I do triathlons and half-marathons and can race after my kids all day long!

  • Angie June 6, 2012, 9:19 pm

    I meant to say that my daughter resents her friend’s lunch because she wants candy every day!

  • Sandy June 6, 2012, 9:35 pm

    Breast pump can be rented at hospital. If you don’t buy one before, you need to rent one before you leave. Your milk will likely not come in till you get home. Baby will be pissed if your supply needs to go up and you don’t have a pump. Warranty doesn’t transfer for used pump, but you can borrow a motor from a friend and buy new attachments from target

  • Alisa June 6, 2012, 9:38 pm

    What an interesting topic – one I’ve actually been thinking a lot about lately…(sorry for the longish response). Kudos to you for thinking about this before having your baby!

    Growing up my mother never criticized me, though she did say things like “I feel so fat,” and was either on or off a diet (with no healthy middle ground). She also categorized foods as good or bad. Though she didn’t make comments about me, she would often comment about other people (admittedly, I was a tiny kid, and my parents were more worried about my eating enough than that I was too big). I didn’t realize until recently how much this was all in my head.

    When I was unsure of myself or felt I wasn’t attractive, my mom was always supportive and reminded me that I was smart beautiful (even if I couldn’t see it). I think that’s awesome.

    When I was living at home after college, we were watching TV and I pointed out that one of the actresses had been on a show we used to watch a long time ago (when this actress was maybe 9-10). She commented “wow, she got a little chunky since then” (umm..hello? she’s not a little kid anymore). I finally flipped out at her and told her how it made me uncomfortable. If she’d been thinking these things about others, of course she was thinking them about me (even if she wasn’t telling me). What still amazes me is that she was shocked by how I felt. I’m glad that we had this conversation, but I sometimes wish we’d had it earlier.

    I think what’s so interesting is that she and I have very different ideals of what beautiful is. It’s partly generational (she won’t leave the house without makeup, while I only own mascara; I love having muscles and feeling strong, while she prefers to be slender). But at the end of the day, we’re supportive of each other.

    • Alisa June 6, 2012, 9:40 pm

      One other thing (a positive) – my Mom never made me feel like looks were the most important thing. She’s worked full time my whole life, and has always volunteered and been a great mother. That, too, is important in terms of having a positive role model.

  • Amanda K. June 6, 2012, 9:41 pm

    lots of people have commented that it’s gross…but i have a used breast pump. i got new parts, i just use the motor.

    and i love what you say about being a good example. my mom taught me to be active and healthy. one of my earliest memories is of us doing an exercise tape together when i was like 3. i dressed in my leotard 🙂

    i often say negative things about my body (like, UGH! i’m so fat today!), and i’ve told my husband to help me cut it out now that we have a child…for my sake and for his. why fill their head with nonsense instead of an empowering, healthy mindset?

  • Katherine June 6, 2012, 9:44 pm

    I’m a new reader to the blog and really enjoying it! I’ve thought about this topic a lot. I grew up with a vet positive self image and I think a lot of it came from my dad. Sure my mom always told me I was beautiful, but there was always something about the look on my dad’s face when I walked out in my Sunday school clothes, or dressed up for a dance. He always smiled and told me I was beautiful, and I truly believed him. To this day (I’m now 27 and happily married), I love getting dressed up when I know I will see my dad and he still tells me I’m beautiful :). I think fathers are so important in forming the way way girls think of themselves as they really are the first men in our lives.

  • Christina June 6, 2012, 9:52 pm

    1. The name thing is funny because the doctors thought I’d be a boy (this was way before regular sonograms) so my parents only had a boys’ name picked out (Christopher). They had to pick a name before they could take me home, so they changed it to Christina. We laugh that it took them 3 days to figure that out.
    2. This post is interesting- it made me realize I grew up before body image was a very big thing for girls (at least where I grew up, in a pretty rural area). And like the popular TV shows were Punky Brewster and Blossom so pretty attainable body types. 🙂 But I’d also say that kids are pretty resilient, and if you set a pretty good example, they’re likely to end up with a balanced body image.

  • Jen June 6, 2012, 9:54 pm

    I have 3 little girls (5.5, 4 and 9 months), so I think about this all the time. My mom is not a good role model- she’s a closet eater, and never really eats normally in front of other people. Plus, she analyzes every food, talking about whether it’s healthy or not, etc- hard to enjoy food that way! She’s always saying she wants to lose weight. My dad is also constantly talking about health, weight, trying not to eat too much etc. (Neither of my parents are really overweight, just not as thin as they once were).
    Anyway, I made the decision that the cycle stops here, and I will NOT expose my girls to this way of thinking. I got rid of our scale once I noticed the kids were showing interest in weiging themselves (we had a babysitter who used it in front of them). I make a point to eat with them- mostly healthy, but also some treats, so they see that it’s not all or nothing. Same with exercise- they know I do it to be healthy, but they also see that it’s not my entire life. Basically, I try to model healthy habits (which I think includes not being healthy 100% of the time) and show them that they are loved no matter what.
    Also- I’m pretty sure you can leave the hospital with no name on the birth certificate, but it’s a huge pain to get it added on afterwards, so much easier to decide before you leave!

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner June 6, 2012, 10:15 pm

    I’m so jealous of babies with hair since mine has NONE. Bald babies are beautiful too! And as far as a used breastpump – I borrowed mine from a friend who wasn’t able to breastfeed. You have to buy all new things for it (bottles, shields, tubes, etc.), but $50 compared to $300 is way better!

    I’m not sure my mom’s body image really affected me. I mean, I knew she was unhappy with her body since we constantly had diet everything in our house and she was on Weight Watchers multiple times, but I still thought she was beautiful. I did however suffer from poor body image myself growing up and remember trying to diet all through high school + college. It really wasn’t until I was pregnant with a daughter that I realized my opinion of myself had to change. I stopped counting calories, I allowed myself dessert (ice cream) every night if I wanted it, and I stopped trying to lose weight and instead focused on being healthy. I’m sure other people’s negative thoughts will influence her, but I know that I will be the MAIN example in her life, so I know I have to set the bar high so that she has a positive body image of herself. And, it’s made me more confident and I’ve never loved myself more that I do now. I think babies do that to you though.

    I’m so excited for you + Kristien! Can’t wait to see that bald or redheaded beauty!

  • Tiffany T June 6, 2012, 10:20 pm

    This topic is SO complicated.. I come from a hispanic family where the norm for women is to be ‘short and stacked’. My mother, on the other hand, was tall and thin…and she HATED it!! She was always telling me how cute my shape was and how she wished she could have a more shapely figure. Although I was surrounded by women who mostly had my shape, I still really wanted to look like my mother.. I honestly don’t know what the ‘right’ answer is for this topic, but the fact that you’re even thinking about it is a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned =)

  • Jillian June 6, 2012, 10:21 pm

    This post was a big wake up call. I gained a few pounds over the Winter and although I have taken the appropriate steps toward better health I have been a major fat talker lately. My poor boyfriend can’t even compliment me without me blowing it off. Thank you for reminding me of the impact of the messages we send to others, even if we are talking about ourselves. I really do appreciate having a body that can do so much and I need to focus on that.

    My mother never verbally put herself down in front of me as a child. However I did see her drinking Slim Fasts as meals and eating different meals than what she cooked for us, things she considered to be healthier (but definitely weren’t) and then snacking late at night. As a teenager I started to become unhappy with my appearance and adopted her habit of eating processed junk food disguised as health food, depriving myself and over indulging later. Thankfully in the past few years I have learned the importance of eating real food (with the help of blogs like yours). So while my mother’s words or lack thereof did not have an effect, her actions did.

    We learn from the past and I have no doubt your child will have the best examples as parents, who can talk the talk and walk the walk. 🙂

  • Julia H. @ Going Gulia June 6, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I’m not anywhere near having a baby, yet I actually have thought about that question, too….probably because I dealt with some serious body image issues in that past & want to make sure my children NEVER experience that. Honestly, I feel like my parents did a great job of raising me to have a positive body image, and that my issues had nothing to do with anything they ever raised me to believe. I don’t remember my mother ever looking in the mirror and commenting negatively about how she looks, and I think that’s SO important. Also, she always had a healthy relationship with exercise while I grew up–she loves walking & uses that as her main source of exercise, making sure to do it every day because she enjoys it, but never going overboard.

  • Katie of Cabbage Ranch June 6, 2012, 10:39 pm

    I was just thinking the other day about self-image as learned, verrrry subtle behavioral choices. My mom wouldn’t swim with us very often- and we were always in the water as kids. She said she didn’t want to get her hair wet, but I think she also was self-conscious of her appearance in a swimsuit… I don’t remember what she looked like in a suit (other than always being SURE she was the prettiest lady wherever we went), but I do remember my disappointment that she wouldn’t swim and play with us. With my daughter, I promised myself I wouldn’t miss out on those times with her. My little girl doesn’t care about my cellulite so neither do I! 🙂

  • jameil June 6, 2012, 11:02 pm

    I thank God for my mother so often on this issue! She has always taught me to love me for me! It didn’t matter how much negativity I heard outside of the home, even when my mom was disappointed in her own size, she didn’t let that filter down to my sister and me. Any body issues that try to arise for me are completely external from hearing it far too often. My mom taught us that a proper diet and exercise are the only way to truly maintain your weight. No crash diets. It frustrates me that she doesn’t follow her own advice and neither does my sister but she set the foundation and I love to follow it. She’s also always been big on not needing makeup to be beautiful. I have multiple friends whose parents have always had horrible things to say to them about their appearances. I’ve had to have very stern talks with my father about the way he discusses weight with his daughters and he’s gotten so much better.

    I love the message of operation beautiful! Your awareness of the issue makes you so much more equipped to combat it in your home. One thing you can do is reinforce to baby htp when that person leaves how important it is to be nice not only to others but to yourself. I can only listen to the negative self talk for so long before I intervene with my friends. Speak life!

  • Laura June 6, 2012, 11:21 pm

    My mom focused on our strengths and accomplishments, and never mentioned anything about our looks, or hers.
    She eats healthfully and taught my sister and I to do the same. However, despite all of this, I still developed an eating disorder at age 15…

  • Ericka June 7, 2012, 12:06 am

    I was fortunate enough to grow up with a mother who led a very balanced lifestyle, and I can definitely say that just watching and listening to her over the years made a tremendously positive impact on me. She was super active and ate pretty healthy, but she also loved to bake and ate plenty of sweets. I don’t remember her saying too much to me one way or another about what I “should” do or “should” eat…she just led by example. And I ended up with a pretty healthy body image and sense of self.

    There is one instance that sticks out in my mind as a teaching moment, though I doubt my mom even realized it was one. We had watched a movie about Karen Carpenter, the singer who died from complications due to anorexia. At the end of the movie, my mom said something along the lines of, “That’s so sad. She was so very talented. It’s such a shame that she died so young because she was worried about how much she weighed.” I was pretty young when she said this, but what my mom said clicked for me – this woman was a beautiful, talented singer, and that’s how everyone else measured her, not by how she looked or how “skinny” she was.

  • Kyla June 7, 2012, 12:07 am

    My brother’s brother in law(and best friend!) is the oldest of three brothers and when he was 4 and his youngest brother was less than a year, his mom did trip down the stairs and broke her leg. She was carrying laundry though luckily. Can you imagine having three boys(!) and not being able to do anything but sit? That woman is a saint!

  • Katheryn June 7, 2012, 12:16 am

    Growing up, my mother always talked bad about herself. Her looks, her personality, everything. I know she did this because of her mother (her mom abused her), but hearing my beautiful and talented mother talk bad about herself made me question myself. Unfortunately, I became my worst critic as well. After having children I realized I didn’t want it to continue. I have gone 8 years without bad mouthing myself out loud. I still have inner battles, but that will take more time and at least I’m doing better than my mother did.

  • Ramona June 7, 2012, 12:27 am

    Girl! I LOVE YOU! You rock!

    Keep on, keepin’ on!

  • Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana June 7, 2012, 12:44 am

    I think it it’s so great that you are cognizant of how even “harmless” commentary from parents or friends can influence young ones. My parents always commented on people’s weight…if they gained weight it was as if they were a bad person and vice versa. My mom also used food as a reward, which definitely had an effect on me. Overall, I think it best to not comment on those things at all, but instead emphasize the qualities that you value in people besides their physical appearance (I have no doubt that you will do this, of course!)

  • Laura WL June 7, 2012, 12:48 am

    I love this! I think my mom’s view of her body had a profound impact on how I view my own. My mother cared about her appearance (she liked to look nice and occasionally would wear lipstick/paint her nails) but she was/is an extremely pragmatic person. I was taught since I was a young girl that your body is useful. It allows you to play for hours and gives you strength to weed and work and that “beauty is as beauty does.” My mother also has had breast cancer since I was very young (3 y.o.), which profoundly impacted my view of life/death and womanhood. She was plunged into menopause as a 34 y.o. woman and had one breast completely removed. To this day she is sort of indifferent to the scars breast cancer have left on her body; she’s frankly just thankful she’s alive. Growing up with a mom with only one breast and scar tissue who wasn’t afraid to strip down naked taught me that what your body looks like truly doesn’t matter, and it is only who we are that is of lasting consequence in this life. I never felt pressure from her to be “thin” or pretty… She always told me I was beautiful. As an adult I’ve never worried about whether I looked “good” in a bikini bc my mother never did. She’d throw on a swimsuit and jump into the water… .

    • Denise June 7, 2012, 8:21 am

      What an inspiring mother to have!!!!!! Good for her for looking at her body how God intended it…as a vehicle to LIVE LIFE….and GOOD for you for being blessed by being exposed to such a POSITIVE OUTLOOK on life and body image…….

      We should ALL do that…..just throw on a swim suit and JUST DIVE INTO LIFE!!!!!!!!

    • Jamie June 7, 2012, 8:10 pm

      wow, your mom’s awesomeness puts me on the verge of tears. seriously.

  • Claire K June 7, 2012, 1:32 am

    My first blog comment! I am going to be a Junior in college and my mom and I had this exact conversation recently. My BF’s mom is extremely restrictive in what she eats (I truly have only seen her eat a real meal once) and this upsets me to no end. When I was a child, my mom NEVER talked about her need to lose weight/be healthier around me and my siblings. She always led a healthy life and fed us nutritious food. Simply leading by example, which you clearly do, will set the tone for your child’s body image. I’ve always been taught to work with what you’ve got and after hearing it for 20 years, I know that to be nothing but true.

  • Jessi @ doctorate housewife June 7, 2012, 5:20 am

    Wow, the number of comments really speaks to how much this issue has touched so many of us. My story is a little different. I was the thin kid. I’m tall and when I grew, I grew fast – like 6 inches in a summer fast. When you grow like that, you can’t eat enough to put on weight. Everybody always told me how thin I was. They had this admiration in their voices and I loved it. Then one day I stopped growing and I filled in a little. I was still thin with a low BMI, but people stopped commenting (or at least they didn’t comment as much). My dad said something to my mom like “She’s got hips” (which at that point were literally bones). I couldn’t fit into juniors clothes because they were too short and had to buy large sizes just to get some extra length. Nothing fit right. We had to weigh ourselves at school for some health thing and all of a sudden I knew I was heavier than my peers (I was also a good half a foot taller, but somehow that didn’t matter) – I felt fat. I struggled with this feeling for a long time, oscillating between thinking I was too thin and thinking I was too fat. The main driver wasn’t that someone was telling me I should lose weight, it was the fact that fewer people were telling me I was too thin. I guess all that to say that telling girls (or boys) that they’re thin or beautiful or special or whatever can backfire. The trick instead is to help children build their confidence not based on their image, but on their effort, their projects, the things they work hard to do and achieve, the times they struggled to get better at something, the way they were kind to the mean kid even though it was hard. Caitlin I totally understand your fear. It’s something that definitely worries me about having kids (even though hubby and I aren’t quite even there yet).

    A book that really helped me change my perspective is Mindset by Carol Dweck. She’s done some amazing studies (particularly with children) that will blow your mind. It really turns all the things we were taught to believe about success and failure on their head.

  • Jen June 7, 2012, 5:27 am

    She didn’t intend to, but my mother played a large roll in my negative body image. She was always dieting, worried about that her tummy wasn’t flat enough, so much that I developed a complex about my tummy. Her famous words when I would reach for a second dessert as a child was “you don’t want that to ruin your girlish figure…”. I was never overweight, and always active, so it wasn’t a health issue. One thing I strive for is to set a positive body image example for my baby daughter, and to teach her that beauty comes from within. That is why I have become involved with GOTR–bbecause I could use the lesson too!

  • Laura June 7, 2012, 6:01 am

    First of all you look stunning! My mother was and still is unhappy with herself and her body. I am not sure if this caused it but I grew up to develop anorexia for 8 years of my life. Now I am completely recovered and see the value of self-love. I always know that when I have kids I will model what it means to be confident and love yourself even the parts of myself that are hard to love and that others don’t!

  • Charity June 7, 2012, 6:36 am

    I really don’t remember any adult in my childhood having any opinion on body image. I do however remember a horrible moment while clothes shopping with my mom. Once I hit school I was always shy and had a weight problem, I was the chubby kid. I don’t remember how old I was maybe 10-11 and was shopping for pants with my mom. The “kids” pants were getting to small for me and she said to me “If you keep growing at this rate we’re never going to be able to find clothes to fit you” and she was very upset that I was so fat. That stayed with me a very very very long time.. :S Infact I can still hear her saying it plain as day.

    On a side note with the breast pump thing. I’m sure your hosptial has them to be rented, I’d rent one for the first while to ensure your milk comes in then go buy one once you’re sure its there. My friend spent 200$ on a nice electric one before the baby arrived, and her milk never came in due to meds used to induce her. I have a manual one a friend lent me (which all you need to do is buy new sheilds) until we know my milk is here then we’re going to get a nice electric one 🙂

  • Heidi June 7, 2012, 7:00 am

    My mom had a terrible body image! (Although I always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world!) And that definitely trickled down to me. I remember thinking I was “fat” for the first time in 5th grade. Now-looking back on pictures from that year, I was most definitely not fat in any way. Now I have 2 daughters-ages 4 and 1. I try REALLY hard to not engage in any negative self talk around them. My 4yo will say things like, “Mommy goes to the gym and works out so she can be strong and healthy.” I like that she got that message.

    However, I can’t control what others say around my girls and I worry about that-especially now that my oldest is in preschool. She comes home with things sometimes that I have no idea where she got them. For example-we never use any racial slurs or say anything at all about race. We are white, but live in a neighborhood where we are the minority, so I always thought my kids would have no prejudices because they were exposed to so many different nationalities from an early age. My 4yo came home from school last week saying she didn’t like a girl in her class because she “was brown.” We had a long talk about that. She heard it from another student in class. I guess I’ll just keep dealing with those types of things as they come up.

    As for the breast pump. I borrowed one from my SIL and just bought new tubing and valves. If you have a friend who has one she isn’t using, you could go that route. Also-many hospitals will rent them and some insurance companies will even give you one for free. (Our insurance company didn’t do that, but they did send us a free car seat!)

  • Tania June 7, 2012, 7:31 am

    My Mom always had me on diets growing up. I don’t remember her own body image at all it remember xplicitely having a conversation with her one day in HS where she mentioned she’d love me more if I wasn’t fat. Someday….maybe….

    • Earthy Nicole June 7, 2012, 11:11 am

      That’s really tough. Ya know, my mom passed a way a year and a half ago and looking back now, I think she wanted me to be the person she couldn’t be. For X amount of reasons, she wasn’t happy with herself and wrongly thought saying things to me about my weight would somehow make me become thinner, therefore making her happy. Of course, even at the height of bulimia, she wasn’t happy. And she died a very sad alcoholic. It’s too much for any child to live their life for someone else so as long as you’re happy, Tania, I think that’s all that matters. xx

  • Leslie June 7, 2012, 8:05 am

    I bought a used breastpump, BUT she had only used it twice. She just didn’t make any milk. I would not recommend using one that someone had used a lot. But, if you’re strapped for cash, it would probably be okay. Milk doesn’t actually go into the tubes, so as long as you bought all new accessories…

    And this is one of my main parenting concerns, also. I am someone whose Mother never talked about her weight, dieted, etc,. but still developed anorexia and bulimia. After almost dying a few times and getting the (expensive) help that I needed, I am confident saying that I am recovered. I now have a daughter and I would do anything to keep her from going through what I went through. For me, the disease wasn’t necessarily about my body or weight; those were simply the things I could control. Because of this I feel that not only am I responsible for creating a healthy body image for her and setting a good example, but also creating self worth and helping her feel in control of her life.

    Ah, children. They change everything.

  • Amy June 7, 2012, 8:24 am

    Suggestion about the breast pump — rent the one from the hospital and decide how breast feeding goes then purchase one. I purchased just the motor portion off of ebay (not supposed to, but did) and then bought all new parts. I’m glad I did this because breast feeding/pumping has not gone well for my daughter and I. I would have felt horrible if I had spend close to $300 on a brand new pump and then not been able to use it!

    Also, things all work out somehow! After 11 weeks of baby, some things get done, some don’t and I’m perfectly fine with that.

    Lead by example and BabyHTP will be just fine!!!

  • Samantha June 7, 2012, 8:44 am

    #5 – is a used breastpump gross?

    When I was pregnant with my first, my aunt gave me her Medela Pump In Style (but bought new hosing and attachments for me) and it was a lifesaver! It works just fine and it was so nice to save the money a new pump would have cost. The attachments are not very expensive (valves, “horns” – the part that actually touches your body, and the hoses) and as long as those are new everything is perfectly safe and hygenic.

  • Emily June 7, 2012, 8:46 am

    Very good question. By the age of 7 I could recognise that my mother was being bullied by my father about her weight. He’d call her names like “Belgium” and “fatso” and Dad wondered why I don’t have as much of a bond with him.

    My parents are still together and the bullying continues, but as I am facing my own weight issues my brother does what Dad does to Mum to me. I can’t afford to move out but my mental health is waning staying.

    I know you and Kristien will be AWESOME parents and role models and that is above all the most important thing. I didn’t really pay great attention to other adults view on body image and morals other than my parents:)

  • Sara June 7, 2012, 9:02 am

    Every time one of those Dove commercials about self-esteem come on the tv, I cry. I was an insecure girl. I felt ugly, unwanted, unpopular … you name it. Anyway, I’m glad there’s a lot more awareness out there about having a healthy body image–between your site and books to the Dove campaign and organizations like Girls on the Run and Girl Scouts (I was a Girl Scout!) My mom and Dad never really said anything negative that I can recall. They were always supportive and loving and while that is great–when you want to be accepted by your peers, it doesn’t help. Not sure what the answer is!

  • Rachel V June 7, 2012, 9:07 am

    You pose a very good, and meaningful, question. In my household my mother hardly ever mentioned beauty as a quality. I received praise for my grades, athletic ability, etc. It’s not that I was never told I was pretty, but it wasn’t stressed. When I had to deal with the inevitable teasing/bullying in the tween years (you’re too thin/too short/flat chested) my mother would highlight my other qualities and because of her confidence in me I had confidence in myself to brush off the negative comments.

    It was only when my mother hit menopause and struggled with her own weight gain did I ever hear any negative self-talk from her. By then I saw it for what it was, her struggle, and I never internalized any of it.

    So, I think like the other readers have stated you will do a great job leading by example, showing him/her a healthy lifestyle, and an appreciation for them as an individual.

  • Jessica G. June 7, 2012, 9:32 am

    This is such an interesting and important topic, and I think about it frequently even though I have absolutely no plans to have children in the foreseeable future! Weirdly, I don’t think I’d considered my mother’s role in shaping my views on body image until you posted this; I’m really glad that you did, because I think it’ll be a great way to get a sense of what works!

    In my case, I cannot remember my mother ever, ever making negative remarks about her body, or anyone else’s for that matter. I’m not sure if she made an intentional effort not to for my sake or not (and I plan to talk to her about it now!), but I think it definitely helped me maintain a positive and healthy body-image. On the flip-side, we really never talked about health either, so eating well and exercising was something I figured out on my own much later.

    For me, I think it was also crucial to my confidence that I was SO interested in other things as a child. Honestly, my appearance was the last thing on my mind for a good many years, because I was an extremely engaged child who loved reading, science, computers, art, crafts, etc. etc. etc. My mom called me an “information sponge,” and my parents always SUPER encouraged all of my interests. That’s why this piece (which I think you talked about when it was first published) hits so close to home: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html

    I’m so, so happy that as a child my self-worth came from feeling smart, and good at art, and well-read (and being told those things!) and not from being pretty or cute or whatever.

  • Jessica June 7, 2012, 9:49 am

    I am the oldest of 6 children, and I truly believe the best thing my mother did to encourage a healthy view of ourselves – our physical, mental, and emotional selves – was to be involved and let us be ourselves. I remember vividly making snacks with my mom when I was in preschool and kindergarten, laughing about the crunchy noise celery made and discovering my lifelong love of peanut butter! She took us on walks every day and we found how fun riding a bike, pulling a wagon, or sprinting a block and waiting for her could be. From the beginning, she taught us that a meal included a vegetable, a fruit, a “grain” (for lack of a better word!), and a protein – a model I still use today! When I wanted to chop all my hair off (*shudder*), she let me. I was wonderful the way I was, hair or no hair.

    I have always been a relatively successful athlete and, as a result, never really struggled with body image, but my sister began to gain weight as she hit puberty, prompting hidden concern from my mother. In spite of that, mom never treated her differently from the rest of us. She encouraged healthy eating habits and supported her love of dance. As a 21-year-old now, she is the most secure person I have ever met. Her doctor suspects now that the weight gain among other issues are due to female problems and is working to get it figured out, but her joy in life is still more beautiful than any slightly insecure model. I love that about my sister, and credit my mom with her even-keeled, loving response!

  • Stace June 7, 2012, 9:59 am

    I know you already have a million comments here but I found this topic to be very interesting because I tell people all the time about how my Mom influenced my thinking about my body.. alll the time.. in a good way. Growing up, I noticed alot of my girlfirends moms would make comments to them about the weight or how clothes looked on them etc… in a negative way like “oooh, you have gained a few pounds and are getting a little chunky” stuff like that. It always blew my mind how many girls I talk to had moms who would say stuff like that becuase my Mom NEVER did. She always told me I was beautiful and taught me to be a good person overall.
    Now, dont get my wrong i did not go through my younger years not having any confidence issues at all but it certainly didnt rule my life dispite middle school years full of bullying and being over wieght. I did get upset at times and wished i could just wake up pretty and skinny at times but it was not a constant battle. Id feel sad for an hour and move on.
    I guess my point here is that even though i heard the negative talk from other girls and their moms etc…. my own mothers words are what stuck with me through life. Alot of my girlfriends from that time have grown into still being my best friends now and they will be in my wedding. Alot of them still struggle with these body images now and we are all around 29 years old. I dont. I am not skinny and i do work at the healthy eating/excersizing balance but strictly in my mind its for health not for vanity. I wish I could make my friends see they are beautiful too but like you said in your post, it has no impact on behavior.
    Lastly, I have realized that my fiance and I are both the same way about beauty and self confidence. We both have moments but they are very far and few in between and that makes me confident that i can teach self love to my someday children.
    I think your child will learn mostly from what he sees from you and your husband more than anyone else and you already have a great start. Now I will patiently stalk your blog as I wait for he/she’s arrival!!!!

  • Willemijn @ Run Eat Travel June 7, 2012, 10:10 am

    When I grew up I used to love to look at my mom picking her outfit for the day and dressing herself. Little did I know that all her picking on her body didn’t do me good later on. I am exactly like her in front of a mirror!
    Also because she was always on a diet and food obsessed, I took that over from her since I was 12. Now I’m 23 and not living with her since I was 17 (moved to dad) I hope I have a better body image.
    But I don’t know if this sounds stupid, but I know I’m beautiful or have a nice body, not because of me, but because of all the men in my life. Not because of dad or my brother, but because of my lovers, male colleagues, guys on the streets and going out…
    Now I’m trying to get/keep a good body image from myself, not from anyone else.

  • allpointswhole June 7, 2012, 10:30 am

    I was told all the time how “fat” I was and encouraged to starve myself. This did flow over into parenting my first son but I’ve recognized it and stopped it with my second.

  • allpointswhole June 7, 2012, 10:32 am

    Clarification: I never encouraged my son to dirt but did talk about it around him

  • Carolina John June 7, 2012, 10:40 am

    You’re huge! It’s so fantastic. You’re going to pop that baby out any day now and I can’t wait. So excited for you.

    Babies start out as a blank slate. You can teach them to become anything. Sure they will have some innate traits, such as being stubborn. But you can still shape them into anything you want them to be. Just roll with it.

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) June 7, 2012, 10:49 am

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following you and your pregnancy and look forward to your posts each Wednesday. They are always thoughtful and have brought up interesting topics. You look beautiful and can’t wait to see the little guy/girl (we didn’t find out the sex either).

    Thinking of ya over these next couple of weeks.

  • Whitney June 7, 2012, 11:01 am

    A little anecdote about why getting dropped down the stairs as a baby was a huge blessing in disguise…
    My dad dropped me down the stairs on his first father’s day, walking down our polished wood steps in socks to greet a smiling bunch of parents, aunts, uncles, and in-laws. He slipped and I went flying and landed on the floor screaming bloody murder. I ended up breaking my right leg and had to be in a full-body cast for the first 6 months of my life. Awful. HOWEVER, in doing x-rays and scans, the doctors discovered hip dysplasia that they probably wouldn’t have found until years later, when recovery would have been much harder for me. And while baby-me was recovering, my grandmother moved in to help my mom with all the extra effort involved with a completely immobile baby. My grandma actually passed away a few months after my cast was removed, and my mom always talks about how grateful she was that she got to spend so much time with her while she was living at our house during that time. So the moral of the story is — there are no accidents! You’ll be a great mom, and even if things look like they’re going horribly wrong (aka dropping your newborn baby down a flight of stairs), they just might be what’s supposed to happen. Good luck! 🙂

  • Lydia June 7, 2012, 11:01 am

    One of the best gifts my mother gave me was a positive body image. My mother wasn’t all that fit or in shape and carried extra weight, but if it bothered her she never said a word. She didn’t give me self confidence by telling me I was beautiful, she did it by NEVER discussing weight/looks AT ALL about anyone. She never commented about other women being fat/thin/beautiful/ugly. It just didn’t come up so then it wasn’t something we ever talked about. I knew if I was insecure she’d just say I was young therefore I was beautiful. Everyone young=beautiful in her mind.

    So I guess that’s what I’ll try to do with my kids, make it a non-issue. We eat healthy food bc it makes us strong and nourishes our bodies, not bc bad food makes us fat. Share your body concerns with your peers, not your children.

  • Aunt Beth June 7, 2012, 11:03 am

    Hey. A couple of things. At the hospital we have many breatst pumps which are used by many different Moms. The parts that actually touch you are part of an individual kit, so getting a used pump is not gross so long as it is basically clean and in good condition.

    Second, I have to say I’m kind of hoping for a Sunday birthday since it is your Grandpa’s 95th birthday. We are thinking of all three of you!

  • Moni Meals June 7, 2012, 11:27 am

    You look so amazing Caitlin. Just Glowey, glowey, glowey! I was pretty fortunate to have a mom teach self-worth at a young age. Really liked this post.

  • J June 7, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Growing up in a group of five girls, my parents constantly compared us — especially in aspects of apperance and weight. I was always the fat and meaty one… so in college I starved myself for a while until I lost my period and realized that I am what I am and to move on. I still have an unhealthy relationship with food and feel bad that I bring up my negative body image with my soon-to-be husband more than I’d like. While I am generally fine with my body now, the feelings return whenever I am with family.

  • Susanna June 7, 2012, 12:56 pm

    I have body-image issues and I had a bout with anorexia as a teenager. I adore my mother, but it all traces back to her. For as long as I can remember, she complained about her weigh, dieted, and praised me as a child for being thin like my father…I remember going on a crazy fad diet with her “for fun” (I did not need it) when I was 11 or so. I did not see the effects of this until I hit puberty, when my body changed and I began hating myself. I have lived 6,000 miles away from my mother and the distance has helped me heal, but deep down I am still dissatisfied with how I look. In my 20s I used to be angry at her for passing this crap onto me, but now I feel bad for her. She was doing her best and she did not consciously try to hurt me. She is a beautiful woman, even in her 70s, and when she was younger, she was truly stunning. I wish she could have loved and appreciated herself a little more!

  • Angie All The Way June 7, 2012, 1:45 pm

    In addition to ingraining and reaffirming the specific positive messages in your child (i.e. self worth, self esteem etc.), my approach to “combat the rest of the world’s” negative influences on my son is that I’m trying to ingrain a general positive/optimistic outlook on just about everything – constantly pointing out the beauty in things that are often overlooked, the upside to just about anything “down” on the surface etc. My hope is that this general attitude will take root in his way of thinking in general and influence his overall perspective – planting a bit of mental “ammunition” against the negative junk. My son is only 22 mths and I might be totally naive, but my hope is that over time, if he develops this outlook in life, he will ride him over and above all of the negative garbage that could get him down later. I sort of view it as the “you can teach a man to fish” adage where you can tell someone that they are smart, beautiful etc., but if you teach them to see this as a general way of thinking leading by your example, hopefully it will have a great impact than the momentary impact of a compliment.

    At the end of the day, he will always know that’s he the bees frigging knees in my world, no matter how old he gets 🙂

  • Amy H June 7, 2012, 1:53 pm

    I’m not going to add my own story, but in short, yes, my mother’s self-image and eating issues certainly influenced me and I do believe led to my own eating disorder.

    I really just wanted to commend you on bringing up such an important, and somewhat taboo, issue. You are changing the world, my friend. Being conscious of these issues is the first step in solving them–I have no doubt you will be a wonderful mother and role model for your child. Thank you!

  • Sarah T. June 7, 2012, 2:00 pm

    I struggle with my own body image issues but I am very careful not to say anything negative about myself in front of my daughter. I may think it but now I recognize the thoughts and push them away. I also make sure to tell her that not only is she beautiful but she’s smart and funny and talented and a myriad of other things so she knows there is more to life than what’s on the outside.

  • Amber K June 7, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I think your worries are very common, but I also believe you will do a great job as a mom. Especially because you are actually concerned with how you will raise a child with self-esteem.

    Far too many parents don’t think anything about how they are going to raise their children. They just go through the motions and think they’ve won if the kid is still alive at the end of the day.

  • Jessica June 7, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I don’t usually comment on blogs(although I read yours and others all the time) but your #6 made me laugh out loud, so I just wanted to say thanks! I needed a good laugh today. 😉 I hope your labor goes great! You’re going to be a great mom!

    Good luck! PS: I’m saying BabyHTP is a girl 😉

  • Laura June 7, 2012, 5:06 pm

    I love this post…what a wonderful thing that you are already so concerned with your unborn baby’s self-image. It’s something many mothers dont consider.

    I have a wonderful relationship with my mom, and I think of myself as having a healthy self-image. Growing up my mom praised me for many things….academic acheivements, sports, and my physical apprearance. But she didn’t harp on any one thing. When I was older…in my late teens…about to start college…she told me (and I’ll always remember this until the day I die) “There is nothing you can do that will be worse than the mistakes I’ve made, or that could make me stop loving you.” I still dont know if that’s true…the part about the mistakes. But I do know that there’s nothing I could do to take her love away. I have tears in my eyes thinking about that comment, and what an unconditional mother’s love really means. As a result of my mother’s whole-hearted acceptance and non-judgemental attitude, we have a great relationship that i can only hope I am able to pass along to my child one day.

    Lots of love and light to you Caitlin as you embark on this exciting journey! I am not a mom, but I know a good mom when I see one, and you’re going to do great. 🙂

  • Charmaine June 7, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Eek as someone who waited til birth to find out the sex, it is SO WORTH IT. We almost forgot to check after I popped him out, hehe!

    You will have enough milk to breastfeed. There is a chance that it will not be comfortable at first; more than a breast pump, you will probably need lanolin at first (safe for babies). This is to rub on your nipples before and after you nurse. I needed it for about 2 weeks before my nips got the hang of things. I used my manual breast pump the night my milk came in since I was so engorged (porn star boobs hurt) and the baby did not care to nurse at that time. After that, I only pumped when I wanted to go out for the evening or workout in the morning. Have confidence in yourself and your body – you’ve had a healthy pregnancy and carried your baby to term. Breastfeeding is primal but it’s not unattainable!

    Also – my mother has spoken terribly of her body for as long as I can remember. She also made comments about my body when I was in my teens (my breasts were referred to as mountains and cantelopes). In my early 20s, I started working at a bakery and gained weight – my entire family commented on my figure. So in college, I started running marathons obsessively. I finished 3 before I graduated. I went on to run 10 more just to keep my weight down. I don’t really have suggestions for positive body talk around children – I know that my husband and I are working to lead by example. We exercise with the baby and let him watch us run/swing kettlebells and we want him in the kitchen with us while we’re making nutritious food.

  • Katrina June 7, 2012, 8:33 pm

    My mom has been overweight my entire life. She was perpetually on a diet and always coming up short. The one thing I distinctly remember her saying about her weight was, “Don’t you ever get fat, Katrina. It’s horrible.”

    As a young child, this didn’t affect me too much because both my parents and most of my friends’ parents were overweight too. Both my older brother and I were always VERY active in sports; I played softball, basketball, and flag football. My weight never was an issue until about my junior year of high school.

    After I had put on maybe 10-15 pounds (still at a healthy weight) I could hear my mom’s words in my head, “Don’t ever get fat.” I have literally been terrified of gaining weight for my entire adult life, and that’s not a fun way to live. Perhaps if my mother phrased her advice in a less threatening way like, “I have some health/eating choices that I need to work on/this is not my ideal weight,” maybe it would have not instilled such a fear in me.

  • Nicole June 7, 2012, 9:04 pm

    This is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind knowing that we’re going to have a little girl. I want to ensure that she has a healthy body image, something I’ve struggled with since I graduated high school.

    Funny, I don’t remember having an issue prior to college or recall my mom’s own fat talk growing up. I either didn’t recognize it until I was older or she didn’t start until then. All the time I hear her complain about her weight, and while she is active, she’s not fueling herself properly. She’d prefer to not eat and exercise a lot in order to achieve her elusive goal weight.

    I’ve managed to drive my husband batty with my quests to lose weight. So much money wasted over the years with things that just didn’t quite work for me. I topped out early last year in the 190s, which was really scary for me mentally to approach to 200 lb mark. Thankfully I found a form of exercise (hip hop fitness!) I loved and eventually proper portion sizes worked their way into my diet so that by the end of the year I was down 30 lbs.

    A big reason to lose the weight was so that when I did finally become pregnant, I didn’t have all that excess weight to carry around. Sure, I’ve gained more so far with this pregnancy than I had wanted at this point, but I’m okay with it. One thing that is key for me is to make sure I make an effort to look “cute.” I’m embracing the bump and showing it off instead of trying to hide it with frumpy oversized clothes.

    OMG, I am also terrified of where the baby is supposed to come out, LOL. But really, that’s where I prefer she exits as opposed to the alternative.

  • Caitlin Shaw Henig June 8, 2012, 12:51 am

    I was also a nameless newborn, and I left NY Hospital as “Baby Girl Shaw.” They didn’t officially file for a name change until I was 5!
    Good luck with labor. I was not well prepared for my first labor experience, but with my younger son, I had better coping techniques and while I was in a lot of pain, I did not suffer.
    It sounds like you’ve done a lot of work to prepare yourself and I hope that you are proud of the work that you’ve already done to prepare yourself for labor, delivery and parenting.

  • Alison June 8, 2012, 4:56 am

    A used pump is not a big deal at all – I got my Medela pump in style from a friend, who got it from a friend, and it is still going strong with me pumping twice a day at work even though it was used with 6 kids before me! There is nothing unsanitary about it because the milk only touches your parts (it doesn’t even go in the tubing – the tubes just pump air). I got a whole set of new tubing/parts from the hospital with the pump I used with the lactation consultant there. My hospital also sells new parts for really cheap (like $5). I was nervous about a used pump, but after seeing how it works, I know as long as you have new tubing/parts it’s totally safe. My doctor even said the “one person per pump” rec is just out there because pump companies want you to buy new.

  • Steffi June 8, 2012, 6:34 am

    My mother commented negatively on herself constantly. She also criticized other people, mainly unknown to us, as we passed them on the street, at the mall etc. This really affected me, and still does. I never feel like I’m really good enough, perfect enough, beautiful enough, thin enough… It really matters! The outside (of the immediate family) influence is bigger than it was in my late 80’s childhood, but it is home from where the core values typically come from, the ones we return to in adult age when the teenager-student phase is outlived.

  • Katy @ HaveYouHurd June 8, 2012, 9:36 am

    My mom never talked negatively about herself and never talked negatively about others appearances but somehow I still managed to have issues with my own body.

    I think though that if my mother would have been super worried about body image that I would be WAY worse off than I was/am. I think you can only do so much as a parent and that society is going to take it’s toll. The fact that you are being conscious of this topic is a great step though. You’ll do great!

  • Beth June 8, 2012, 9:48 am

    Good luck – you look fabulous!! Cant wait to hear the good news of sweet babies’ arrival 🙂 Enjoy these last days of being just the two of you and get sleep!

  • Lindsey June 8, 2012, 12:06 pm

    This is a really interesting question, Caitlin. I’m actually in the process of applying to Ph.D programs and I want to study mothers and daughters, attachment, body image, food intake, etc. The question you asked us is the question I ask myself every day.

    I would just like to start by saying that I am not placing blame, but now that I’m an adult I better understand the impact my childhood had on me as an adult. There wasn’t ever a time that I saw my mother restrict her food intake or self-harm, but I remember the constant criticism she placed upon herself. She would pinch her stomach and call herself fat, and make faces when she looked in the mirror. Her ability to take a compliment is still absent. Even now, she talks about how much she weighs and how she’d “like to lose five more pounds.” She is 56 years old, is 5’11 and weighs 140 lbs – always was able to eat pretty much whatever she wanted and comes from a family of bean poles – by NO means anything short of a freak of nature. Anyway, I grew up only knowing that negativity and I began to look at myself the same way at a very young age. I was anorexic and bulimic throughout college, cut myself and still struggle to this day with looking at my body and accepting it as is. Thankfully – I’m pregnant (I was due two days ago) and the experience has taught me so much about appreciating my body in a different way. Sure, there are days when I don’t like what I see, but I realize that it’s not the most important thing in life. I’m active, healthy, and want to set a good example for my son and I will do everything in my power to do that. I absolutely worry that he will see me look down on myself and that drives me to not do it. It’s not about me anymore it’s about my family and setting a good example. So, in a nutshell, I know my mother’s body image had a negative impact on my body image. I do believe that there is something ingrained in a person that makes them more susceptible to eating disorders or self-harm (e.g. my two older sisters had no such problems but I did..why? All of our needs were met, equally loved, educated, etc) but I also believe that it takes something to trigger that behavior, and for me I firmly believe it was what I grew up seeing from my mother. I love her with all my heart, but I wish I would have known better, or been strong enough to overcome the negativity.

    To address the second part of your question…I didn’t appreciate or necessarily understand the unconditional love my father gave to my mom and sisters & I until I was older. But he gave it, all the time, still does, and really just…loves. He’s taught me to see the bigger picture and accept people, and myself, for who they are. I married someone who gives me that same unconditional love, and I have my father to thank for that. Without him, I wouldn’t know what kind of man I deserved. He helped me to see in myself what he sees in me – and now I’m lucky enough to have a husband who does the same. Although it may not be as common for men to talk about their own body image, let alone their daughter’s or wife’s – I think the father figure is really important for young girls to resist the negative self-talk.

    I could write a book..but I think you caught my point. Great post – very important topic and I hope to hear more!

  • Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 8, 2012, 7:09 pm

    WOW, great discussion, ladies! I don’t want to go into my personal history too much, but I did want to add one tidbit to this post. If you haven’t already, check out Courtney Martin’s book, “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.” As a part of a Georgetown student group, we brought Ms. Martin to speak at Georgetown about her history with body image. The book centers on a lot of the ideas discussed here 🙂

  • Finding a skinnier me June 8, 2012, 7:17 pm

    When I was really young my Mom was obsessed with being skinny but as she got older she just wanted to be healthy. She ran consistently for her sanity (single Mom of two girls whew), ate healthy and she was a wonderful influence, always telling my I was beautiful.

    When I hit puberty, my health condition kicked in and I gained weight. We really didn’t know why until I was in my 20’s. So I went from being naturally skinny and sporty, to bigger and bigger. Combine that with a few other lovely symptoms from my health condition and I was a wreck as a teenager.

    My mom worked hard to encourage healthy eating habits and exercise. My Dad (they were divorced since I was 8), was more negative, always harping on me about my weight, starving me and making me do physical labor.

    This wrecked my self esteem and I started eating junk food to fill in the gaps. Pretty soon I dropped out of softball, volleyball and cheer leading. I became a sullen teenager, who hated her body!

    I have been struggling with self image for years. BUT now I am in my late twenties, working my butt off to lose weight, struggling to overcome my health condition and shake that voice in my head that says I am “fat.”

    I think if you are a good influence, lead my example and talk to your kid constantly about self esteem, you will be doing your job with flying colors!!!!

  • Veronica June 9, 2012, 11:09 am

    My oldest is named Christian, my youngest is Micah. When I picked their names, I tried to think of when they’re 25 years old and introducing themselves to a pretty girl (hopefully not in a bar…) I wanted names that sounded good when they’re MEN rather than “cute” as boys, even if that means they have to grow into them.

    I feel bad for some boys whose mothers gave them those names that sound so cute when they’re toddling around at age 2, but wont be associated with a strong handshake and strong character when they’re older. I didn’t want girls to hear my son’s names and immediately write them off, so I stuck to neutral names. I want their character to ultimately make the first impression, not their name.

    Then again…. my future 25 yr old sons will be hitting on a slew of Mackenzies, Madysons, Izabellas, Sophias, and Reileighs. Gag. ^_^ Oh well.

  • Kelsey June 9, 2012, 2:57 pm
  • Lele June 10, 2012, 2:46 pm

    You don’t have to name your baby in the hospital in the US, or at least you didn’t in 1988 when I was born. I, too, was “the baby”, but only for two weeks instead of six (!)

  • Alex June 12, 2012, 10:09 pm

    Wow just wrote a huge response but deleted it to make it more concise. Basically, my Mum is a larger woman, she has a lot of self confidence, and I saw her go on Weight Watchers once, but I don’t think that impacted my frame of mind about food.
    When I was living at home I was very skinny – I grew up very tall and played a lot of sports and ate meals as large as my brothers and Dad and stayed skinny. Retrospectively I think Mum was probably making my serving sizes as big because she was worried about my being underweight – but at the time I didn’t notice a thing.
    I was always confident about my looks as well, a lot of that was probably due to Mum’s confidence.
    I never weighed myself ever, weight wasn’t something that concerned me.
    I began to worry about my weight when I went to uni and eating the food that the hall I stayed in cooked me made me put on weight. I’d always been a skinny girl but something about the food didnt agree with me and although looking back I didnt put on that much weight, I was very bloated – I overheard someone (a boy, sigh) telling one of his friends I looked pregnant – have never been able to get my confidence back since. I continued to be bloated and yuk for a year, then started exercising properly again and lost some weight, then basically stopped eating except for 1 omelette a day and got really skinny, got lots of compliments, felt good about myself – but this wasn’t sustainable, started work and am now about 10kg heavier than my ideal weight.
    Trying to get back down to my ideal weight healthily now, but my confidence is more important than the weight.
    Basically what I’m trying to say is – be confident yourself, it will rub off on your child (at least it did in my experience). You can’t protect them from other people saying mean things, but you can at least give them a fighting chance.

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