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In which I promise not to call myself fat

Dear Anne and Evelynn:

Here are the lies, my dears:

You are only as good as you look.
You are only lovable if you have a rock hard body.
You can conquer your feelings of inadequacy by being skinny.
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
Everyone judges you by how you look and talks about you behind your back.
Beautiful is defined by your culture (and so it is beautiful to be frightfully skinny with bolted-on boobs and an identi-kit face).
You are not worthy of love if you are not beautiful.

I’m raising you in a world that thinks you’re only as good as you look. And you’re being raised by a woman who is still overcoming these lies herself. 
The other day, I did an exercise video at home. You were with me, Annie, while the two littles slept and we leaped and kicked our way through jumping-jacks together. “Oh, Mum!” you glowed, “Even your tummy is having fun! Look at it jumping around!” and for a moment, oh, it stung. I just gave birth to Evelynn two months ago and so yes, my tummy is “jumping around” when I jump around and part of me wanted to sit down and cry for the sudden cacophony of worthlessness and shame that rose up but then you were there. You were there, looking up at me, having fun exercising and I thought, no. No, I will not cry about how I look in front of you. Instead I told you that this was fantastic and yes, my tummy was having a marvellous time. When you asked me why we were exercising, I had to lock my lips tight against the “to lose weight because I’m fat because I just had a baby” that threatened to spill out and instead spoke of having fun exercising for energy and playing together to be healthy and strong and hey, later, did you want to go bike riding?
I am looking for the small ways to spare you just a few battles of body-image that seems to strangle and entangle so many of us in the war against women. Like the girls that post their supper every night on Facebook for “accountability” and the ones that over-exercise to punish their own bodies. The ones that starve themselves and so carve their own flesh with the word “Forgotten” and “Invisible.”  Like the ones that are apologetic to their husbands because they have a body marked by childbirth.  The ones that are terrified of aging.  The ones that feel like they are never, no, never not keenly aware of how they look or what they ate or what they will be eating, the ones chained to a scale or a number or a glossy Photoshopped-ideal. 

Sure, I will talk and teach and train but I am learning this: you will sing my songs.


And so I will sing a song of wonder and beauty about womanhood for you to learn from my lips.

I will lead the resistance of these lies in our home by living out a better truth.

I will not criticise my sisters for how they look or live, casting uncharitable words like stones, because my words of criticism or judgement have a strange way of being more boomerang than missile, swinging around to lodge in your own hearts.

I’ll wear a bathing suit and I won’t tug on it self-consciously. I will get my hair wet.

I will easily change my clothes in front of your Dad, proud of my stretch marks that gave us a family, of breasts that nourished his babies.

I will prove to you that you can be a size 12 and still be sexier than hell.

I will prove to you that you don’t have to be all angles and corners, that there is room for some softness because you all love to hug on my soft bits, burrowing into my arms and my breasts to rest for a while.

I will eat dessert and raise my glass and laugh my way to deeper smile lines.

I will celebrate your own beauty, my tall girls, but I will do my best to praise your mind, your heart, your motives as much as I praise your beauty.

I will not let the words “I’m fat” cross my lips – especially in front of you, my beautiful girls.

I will celebrate beauty where I find it, in a million faces uniquely handcrafted by a generous God with a big tent of glorious womanhood.

I will tell stories of women and surround you with a community of women who are smart and strong, crazy and hot-headed, gentle and kind, women who love and you will see that this is what is beautiful, that a generous love is the most gorgeous thing you could ever put on.

I love you.

Mummy

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Anne, Evelynn, journey, parenting, women
  • http://mosaicsynapse.blogspot.com/ Pam Elmore

    Oh Sarah… a beautiful vow, and so well-said.

    And, should I ever meet your children, I vow I will engage them in conversations about what they like to do, and what they’re reading… rather than commenting on how they look:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      That article is amazing, Pam! Wow! Thank you for sharing that. Definitely taking it to heart. (And wouldn’t it be so cool if you could meet my tinies?)

      • http://mosaicsynapse.blogspot.com/ Pam Elmore

        If my life and travels ever take me to your area, you’re the first person I’m looking up. I’ll bring Legos.

        • http://www.nahuli.blogspot.com cjcris23

          I re-read this post so often and just saw these comments – Pam, you and I have conversed on Facebook thru mutual friends a few times, and now I see you on here! Always love what you have to say…and that article made the rounds in my Facebook newsfeed, and I love it. Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    Oh, Sarah, I love this! What an amazing example you are setting for your children!  I remember my Mom trying so many diets as I grew up- and she was never that overweight. She was a woman who had birthed two children.  I watched as my Dad loved her but still told her that she could stand to lose weight.  And I wondered if he really did love her if he could say things that made her cry and made her feel less.  Thankfully, he doesn’t say those things anymore and Mom is focusing more on being healthy, than losing weight.  When I’m tempted to think I could lose weight, it’s often tied into insecurity and the legacy that losing weight will solve all of our problems.  I’m glad your daughters won’t inherit that same legacy.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I certainly hope and pray that they don’t inherit that legacy, too. It’s such a real form of bondage for me, too, that I kick against and seek freedom from all the time, too. We all need grace here, dont’ we?

  • http://heartsoulexchange.blogspot.com/ Heart n Soul

    Wow!! … a generous love to put on…. yes, we should all celebrate beauty in so many other things…. and celebrating a beautiful heart is a great place to start. I just posted on fb a great quote by Anne Frank – ‘ Think of all the beauty still around you and be happy.’ Womanhood and femininity are so much more than a look… we so short change ourselves when this is all we see. Fabulous writing and so beautifully said. http://heartsoulexchange.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that is a fantastic quote, Kay. Thank you for sharing that, luv.

  • Suzanne Schaffer

    Beautifully written Sarah! Your girls are blessed to have such a wise mommy :)

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Suzanne – such a nice surprise to see your name here!  Hope you’re doing well.

  • http://simply-rea.blogspot.com/ Rea

    Love this. The temptation is for me to think ‘oh, I have boys so it isn’t as important’. But it is. For me, for them, for the girl-women that will one day enter their lives. How I talk about myself, how I SEE myself still matters.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You’re right, it always matters, as much for our boys, too. 

  • http://dawnreneemom-theotherside.blogspot.com/ Dawn Miller

    Beautiful post. I have just turned 40 and find myself constantly concerned about the changes that even diet will not overcome. I have carried 8 children in my body, and lived a life to care for my family. I should not be sad that I am in size 11 jeans and that I have crows feet and flabby arms. I should be proud of who I am, what I have accomplished and survived, and of the beautiful children and grandchildren that God has blessed me and my husband with. Beauty is so much more than what we observe with our eyes. Thank you for reminding me not to obsess over things that really don’t matter!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You’re right, Dawn – we should be proud of these bodies and what we ahve done with them. It’s the marks of accomplishment, of truly living our lives!

  • Michelle W.

    Wow Sarah – one of your best!  Really struck a chord with me….

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Michelle. xo

  • lindseyfoj

    Wow! 

    Yes!

    Beautiful!

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    sarah, this is why you are my favorite blogger, hands down.

    fabulous. every grace-filled, life-affirming word.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Oh, Suzannah – I love you, girl.

  • http://www.redandhoney.com/ Beth Ricci

    Wow, thanks so much for writing this – you are truly gifted. I identify with so much of this. My 3-yr-old little man, whenever he sees my belly, says “mommy, did you know your belly is squishy?”. Yikes. Yes, I say, and that would be YOUR fault (I say with a smile). 

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Ha! Good response!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jenmonique1971 Monique Vining

    Sarah, thanks so much for posting this.  I come from a family of skinny minnies and I’m not.  I sometimes feel self conscious when I go home to Arkansas because I’m the fat one.  My mother and sister are both obsessed with appearance and weight.  My mom is probably 95 lbs and she weighs herself first thing every morning.  My sister works out constantly and is always on some crazy diet.  She is a slave to the scale, she updates her status every day with what she’s eaten and how she’s exercised and on “weigh in day” she is always upset.  My sister is one of the most beautiful people I know and it bothers me that she can’t see that.  I bet she doesn’t weigh over 130.  Anyway…..I struggle with feeling good about my body because I feel judged by my mother and sister.  They don’t say so to my face but I know how they feel.  I am 5 ft 4 in.  I have no clue what I weigh because I threw my scales away years ago.  I didn’t want to be a slave to it like my mother and sister.  I wear a size 12 or 14 depending on the brand.  Would I feel better if I weighed 10 pounds less?  Sure.  Would I be happier?  No, because happiness isn’t dependent upon what size I am.  Thank you for reminding me of that.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Good decision to throw away the scales – I might ahve to do the same. Good call, friend. xo

  • http://sacredeveryday.ca/ Jenn

    Oh Sarah…I’ll eat dessert and toast to this post! I love the part about surrounding them by a community of smart and strong women.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      So, so true. I need help in raising them up, I love the village!

  • http://profiles.google.com/pzy001 Tabitha Schultz

    So well said. This is a promise that I’ve made to my girls too, to not complain about the size of my bottom, the ugliness of my hair or the wobbly tummy. I am who I am and will strive to be healthy, but not to become something unattainable and unnecessary.   With God’s help.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Exactly – it’s not about not being healthy or not pursuing health and wellness, it’s about also having a healthy, Godly respect for our bodies even as they age and change. Right on, sister.

  • Canita

    This is definitely something to be conscious of as my daughter is really starting to pay attention to what is said around her.  I remember being praised/getting attention for being super-thin at school and then starting to think I was fat during college when my mother began to verbalize her displeasure with her own body as she hit two children and middle age.  Mamas are powerful creatures!

    And I second the article linked below about talking to girls!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      It’s funny, isn’t it, Canita? How even the compliments can hurt in the end because then we think we’re only valued for how we look? Just the overemphasis on outer beauty (or the lack thereof) can think the rest of our personhood doesn’t matter as much. And yes, you were right on about the article – that was FANTASTIC!

  • http://theoutdoorwife.com Nish

    This, and you, are a beautiful sight. God has been gracious in gifting your words to us, your readers. 

    You, my friend, are LEGIT. :)

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Too legit to quit, that’s me, all right. ;-)

  • Brenda

    I love this, and I wish my mom had known this when I was young. I also love this poem:”If yourpockets were happy with coins and into a fancystore they brought youwhere would the eyes of women fall?Our clothes chat with other clothes as they pass,though who but a sweet young creature could careso much about howthey look?But if a mirror ever makes you sadyou should knowthat it does not knowyou.”- Kabir, Love Poems from God

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      That’s beautiful, Brenda – thank you for sharing that with me. I’ll be chewing on it for a while now.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Sigh.  If my mom had been able to sing this lovely song when I was growing up, ,what a very different life I might have had.  And if I had been able to sing this lovely song when my girls were growing up, what a very different life they might have had.  

    Mamas are so powerful, so powerful – in ways they often do not know or understand.  Now, looking back over a long life, I can better understand where my mother’s incessant fears about appearance came from – a difficult binge-alcoholic dad and a mom who was absent a lot, working so she could get out from under that husband and 4 kids in 4 years.  ALL the focus was on looks, but all my mom’s deep insecurities were based on her feelings of abandonment and shame.  And man, those fears did a number on me.  I over-reacted by gaining weight as an adult, somehow trying to prove that I was somehow enough by being bigger. So much pain connected to all the tangles of this particular saga – being a woman in western culture, being raised by broken human beings, being broken human beings ourselves.

    So I thank you for this beautiful, musical vow. And I pray that you will keep singing it, loud and clear.  And that others will catch the song, and find themselves humming it when they least expect it, but where it will do the very most good – in the presence of their little ones, their kids and their grandkids.  Thank you, Sarah, for once again opening your veins and letting beautiful, life-giving red stuff flow down onto the page.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You are so right, Diana – we’re more powerful than we can even admit to ourselves. And you, too, my friend. xo

  • theSooz

    Oh, I needed this today!  

    Thanks so much.  

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You and me both, sister-friend.

  • http://mommyinggrace.wordpress.com/ Dayna

    Oh Sarah, I hope I will return to add a new (more coherent) comment later, but for now I just want to say thank you. And my girls will certainly thank you too.
    I don’t think we can ever be too forceful or intentional in refuting those “lies.”
    You and your generous loving heart (and brilliant wit) are glor-i-ous!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thank you, luv. This was more than coherent and such a gift. 

  • http://asteadyinvitation.wordpress.com/ Kathleen

    Beautiful!

  • Naomi Liddelow

    Another perfect post. Really you are turning me into one of those bobble head dolls, the amount of nodding I do when I read your posts.
    I am all the way in Australia living a parallel life with my three tinies 3, 2 and 5 months.  I identify with just about everything you have to say and I just wanted to say your writing rocks, you are a favourite blog at the top of my very fat favorite list and God is using you to touch this life (and I’m certain many more).
    Thankyou.
    Naomi

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Naomi – that means a lot! And it’s always nice to find a friend in the same spot of life! We can cheer each other on from the middle of it all.

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

    “Everyone judges you by how you look and talks about you behind your back.” 

    Oh, I struggle with this lie SO MUCH. This is the one that has stopped me so many times. And it is such a lie! More than anything else the past few weeks of starting the Couch to 5K training, that has been the lesson I’ve learned over and over and over again. It makes me kind of weepy right now just thinking about all of the stories that I’ve heard and the encouragement that I’ve received. I love how that lie is being knocked out, and is helping me overcome the others.

    This is a lovely, lovely post and you are an amazing woman. Thank you so much.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Your Couch to 5K journey is so inspiring, Alise! I just love following along with you as you do this because it’s healing a lot of us as you find such support and joy in it. xo

  • http://ministrytomotherhood.com/ Becky

    So beautiful.  So true.  

  • jesicainmt

    Thank you for speaking to and from my heart. 

  • http://www.faithandcoffee.com/ Rev. Eric Ledermann

    Sarah,

    I am a husband and a father of two beautiful and active children.  I love your writing–your honesty is refreshing, your tenderness touches me in places I rarely allow, and your compassion for yourself and your family is heartwarming.  I especially appreciate this post because it speaks to an issue that continues to plague our society: the issue of IMAGE.  And I want you to know, that though few will admit it, men experience many of the same feelings of guilt and self-displeasure, though I am sure it is different.  We look at the magazines at the checkout counter at the grocery store, magazines like Men’s Health, and, yes, even Playboy, and look at men’s abs and think to ourselves deep in the recesses of our minds, “I wish I had those six-pack abs, instead of this kegger belly that blocks the view of my children when they hang on to my legs.” 

    I work out.  I try to eat healthy.  But my body and my life schedule to do not allow me the luxury of making it my primary goal in life to have that Beach Body look no matter how much I wish for it. 

    Again, though few will admit it, and I am sure the social pressures are very different for men and women, we of the male persuasion also struggle with body image, self image, and self-esteem issues as a result. 

    So, thank you for your gracious writings and for the inspiration you offer so many. And I hope that my wife and I will be able to raise our children to judge others by the “content of their character” rather than a media-reinforced image of “perfect” and “acceptable”.

    Peace and blessings,
    Eric

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much for bringing this perspective, Eric. I really value it. I suppose because I’m not a man, I feel it’s harder to write to my son about body image but I do have him in mind, too, as I model out a beter truth here. You have helped me so much with this and I appreciate it as I raise him. Peace in return.

  • http://www.singingthroughtherain.com Kathryn

    This is beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  • http://jessicatelian.wordpress.com/ Jessica T.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this.  Having just had a daughter and having another two-months-postpartum belly…it very much hit home.  Thank you.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You know it! We are both right there, eh?

  • Jessica Mueller

    A breath of fresh air…my size 12 butt appreciates. 

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Your size 12 butt is just right. ;-)

      • http://www.redeemingthetable.com/ Kamille Scellick

        I’ve lost some weight this year & I’m reminded of my husband saying pre-weight loss how hot he thought my butt looked (then & now).  So whether it be a size 18, 12 or 6–it’s good.
         

  • http://www.wavethestick.com Alexis

    I may be biased, being mom to a boy, but as has already been noted – it’s as important to sing this song to and for our sons as well. Our society does them no favours in terms of what they should expect a woman to look like, to be. They see the same images of women in popular culture as our girls do. We need to inoculate them against the tyranny of perfection as well.

    So very beautifully said, Sarah. Thank you.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I completely agree, Alexis. You are right on and I’m learning as I go, for sure. 

  • http://www.thefarriswheel.blogspot.com Jennifer Farris

    Beautiful post.  Thank you.

  • http://www.susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com Susie Finkbeiner

    Oh, this spoke to me! Thank you. 

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Young Mom

    Saving this one. I threw out my scale years ago, because I know myself, and I can’t handle keeping track of the number.  This is such a beatiful reminder of how we are beautiful and we need to let ourselves be beautiful for our children too, so that they in turn will see their own beauty. (Something I need to remember 7 weeks Post Partum!)
    My mom was naturally tiny, people always used to joke that it was impossible that she had as many chidlren as she did. She used to criticize how she had no boobs, and that she envied mine, which made me self-concious. As a short size 10 teen, I hated my body and wished that I could be smaller, and dieted again and again. My mom would praise me when I lost weight. I know she was trying to be encouraging, but I felt worse than ever when that number on the scale inched up again. My Dad always criticized fat people, and talked about how I just needed to have self-control, and then I would be a “healthy” weight. So yes, parents are powerful. And boys are just as vulnerable, I’m married to a sweet gorgeous guy who’s parents criticized for style choices and acne. Old messages die hard.
    Sorry to ramble. This post hit a chord.

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      No need to apologise, friend. We are all rambling a bit on this one, aren’t we?

  • Michelle Witherspoon

    Thank you. I needed to hear that. So easy to lose perspective.

  • http://jewelsandtreasures.blogspot.com/ jewelsntreasures

    Sarah, if I link to you again this week on my facebook pages, you are going to think I am stalking you, lol! But seriously, this post was what I need to read. I’m really struggling with my weight. :( I’m also trying to teach my girls to think positively about themselves. I must remember this post!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Well, you’re such a nice stalker that I don’t mind at all. Ha! xo

  • http://servantslife.com/ Stacy

    Oh, how I love this.  I wrote a similar post just today to be used on another site next month.  With 3 little girls, I feel a burden to instill in them a sense of worth and beauty.  They have, far too often, heard me complain about the extra pounds or the stretch marks that 3 little ones bring.  I want them, instead, to know that they are far more beautiful than any mirror could show.

  • Laura Goddard

    Amazing.  AMAZING.

    Thank you for this.

  • http://www.redeemingthetable.com/ Kamille Scellick

    possibly the most beautiful letter written to daughters.  The mama bear comes out to not just protect their physical, but their mind & soul.  Yes, yes, yes!  I think about these things too with my two little loves.  

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Absolutely – we protect their hearts and minds and own “persons” as much as their beauty.

  • http://ihaveitchyfingers.blogspot.com/ Jessica Jensen

    Thank you

  • Cali4niachef

    Hoorraayyyy!!!! This was a wonderful post!!!!!

    SHARING!!!!!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Glad you liked it – and thank you, luv!

  • Jtwilcox07

    Thanks for this post, made me cry, because  you DESCRIBED ME to a T!   I have a new baby and am a size 12 and have been having the hardest time with being “large” since before giving birth I was a size 6.  So it has been frustrating shopping for my new body, but reading about being proud, I just had a baby and breasts that nourish our children, I NEEDED to hear that and know that we can still be SEXY as Heck at a size 12, THANK YOU!!!!

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      So we’re both in the same boat – what a nice thing to find others alongside us, eh? xo

  • Jenn

    I needed to hear this today – thank you for the encouragement!

  • Lex

    Wow…this is exactly what I needed…Yesterday I was on the phone with my oldest daughter who is with my ex husband for the summer, and she told me that she was getting fat..She is only 5. I told her she is being silly and even if she did gain weight she would be absolutely beautiful. Then she proceeded to say that her stepmother told her “If you keep eating like that, you will become fat like your mother.” Initially, I was pretty angry, however I quickly ended the phone conversation with my daughter before she could tell how upset I was. It saddens me that a woman who is supposed to be a role model to my children will tell them hurtful things about their mother. So, as I read your post I vow to strive harder to accept myself..flaws and all…and even my extra pounds.. and set a better example for my darling children. Thank you for those inspiring words :)

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      How complex, Lex – praying for you as you live out a better truth for her to follow after. And thanks for stopping by to comment.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you so much for this

  • Areid73

    Since I am not as eloquent as you are, I’m going to print this and share it with my daughter when she is old enough to understand it! And in the meantime, I will live it so she will hopefully already have it in her heart!! So wonderful – thank you!

  • http://www.mombodfitness.com Celeste@MomBodFitness

    Sarah…I loved what you wrote here! It is so important for women to have good self-esteem and stop comparing themselves to others.  I am a mom of 3 and actually work in the fitness industry and specialize with helping Pre/Post natal moms get their core strength back.  I don’t do it to help women “get the perfect body”  I do it because the body does take a toll through childbirth and I believe women deserve to be told how to restore proper muscle function to avoid issues such as Diastasis Recti, stress incontinence, prolapse, back pain and bad posture.  I don’t pretend that every woman should have a six-pack or that stretch marks are preventable. I don’t believe in dieting, just healthy eating, splurge in moderation and enjoy exercise..whatever that is for a woman…gardening, chasing kids, walking, running etc.  Thank you for writing such an important topic that every girl should grow up knowing.

  • Ali

    I love you.   That is so well written and so true.  

    The other day a friend mentioned something about her daughter’s sick tummy and said, “She’s still afraid to eat.  Man, I wish that would happen to me.”  The poison of her words stung me as I stood their with my 3-year-old little girl.  
    Never mind that this woman is rail thin.  It amazed me that she thought nothing of saying these words within earshot of my daughter.   I still can’t get over that.

  • http://professordarnell.com Amy Darnell

    Bless you and your daughters.  I plan on sharing this with as many of my students– male and female– as possible.

  • http://www.themamabus.com Lois

    Excellent perspective, very well written!  I have 7 children, and it is so important to have a realistic expectation of a woman’s body after having children both for our sons and our daughters!

  • Ness in Part

    I love this post. Like all of your posts, Sarah, it is beautiful and moving and inspirational. I read it and thought, “Yes, yes. I can be this. I will be this.” Until I read, “I will prove to you that you can be a size 12 and still be sexier than hell,” and I got that sinking feeling in my stomach. Oh, maybe this is not me, maybe I can’t do this, maybe I don’t count. I’m not size 12, haven’t been in a while, may never be again.
     I had wanted to write a comment and remind everyone that there are women who don’t meet this mark either. Who aren’t 12, or 14, or 16, who are bigger, and yes health is important, but size is not indicative of health. I wanted to remind everyone to include the larger sizes, to not set a “better” mark to meet, a bigger size then the media standard of 4, or 6, or 8, because someone will still not meet that mark, someone will still feel fat and ugly, because they are larger than it. I wanted to write as a gentle “don’t forget us,” and I realized that really, I wanted to write all this because I want so badly for someone to tell me that it’s ok. I can be all this. I am beautiful and wonderful. I can be “sexier than hell” even though I’m bigger than a size 12.

  • http://www.adamshome.blogspot.com Erin Adams

    Sarah – you keep bringing it.  Again and again and again.  You make me laugh aloud, ponder deeply, take steps to change & nod my head & say amen.
    I was raised by parents who did not focus on outward beauty.  I just felt loved for me.  I am so grateful.  But, that is not to say that I never heard the lies & that I never fell into believing them.  They are everywhere.  Hopefully, we can ground our kids in their worth at home, so they don’t get knocked right off their feet, once they leave the house.Here’s a good quote I read, thought you’d like – “The woman wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.”~Naomi Wolf

  • alisoncreamer

    Love this! Thank you for posting

  • Jesus_girl2016

    Wow! What a wonderful mommy you are to your little girls!  Now I want to be a mommy like you.  I struggle every day with wanting to be slimmer and beautiful like my two sisters (who also aren’t happy with their bodies :P ), but I never realized how my view of my body can affect others.  I wonder how much affect it has on my sisters too.  Thank you for the inspiring view of the body.

  • Anonymous

    So inspiring. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    thank you i have been feeling bad about gaining over 40 lbs after having 2 babies back to back but reading that made me feel like its ok to breath and it was worth it!

  • http://sacredbe.blogspot.com/2011/06/raising-hell.html rain

    oh dear friend…this brings tears. thank you for this truth revolution.

  • Christine

    Amen Sister! x x x x :-)

  • Kimberly VanderHorst

    I’m in tears. This, your words here on this page, is beauty.

  • http://sincerelyjill.com/ Sincerely Jill

    Never been to your site before, but I saw this beautiful post on facebook. Thank you for this; thank you for reminding this girl/woman to not believe the lies.  Because I so easily believe them.

  • Alisha Hunt

    I love this so much… I have tried to switch to this mindset over the last few years. I had a baby 8 months ago and have been super concerned with my body again… This beautiful post has re-softened my heart towards myself. Thank you. Your daughters will be so thankful as well.

  • http://lisamckaywriting.wordpress.com Lisa McKay

    Thanks for this post, Sarah. I’m 36 weeks pregnant and feeling veeeery… round. Such a good reminder for now and for later.

  • Kamika

    Thank you for writing this, I just gave birth to my daughter two months ago and need to remind myself of these things more often

  • Daniloudoan

    I found your site through another friend of mine and this is so inspiring! On this journey myself!!! Just had baby number three and feeling all those things! I have an Evelyn too who is almost three and I hope I can show her the true beauty of life. On this journey with you!!

    Danielle from New Hampshire

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4Q7VCJ34XRTW2WQHZLTVJ47NQE Luminara

    This post really touched my heart. Thank you.

  • 1peter18

    This is great and it applies not just to weight issues.  Growing up my mom always hated her hair, would complain loudly about it.  Spent an hour before going anywhere trying to ‘fix’ it.   Really my mom has nice hair, shiny, wavy and smooth, but she didn’t think so.  I’ve always loved my hair.  Recently I went for a change and got my hair cut short.  As soon as I saw it looked like my mom’s and all I could think was, ‘it’s sooo ugly.’  I worked through it, but it is so important to atleast keep those negative thoughts to ourselves, because especially as we age most of us look more and more like our parents.

  • melissa

    so perfect. i think of this often. i am cultivating her future. her mindset about her body and her appearance. i am daily conscience of my words and the weight they carry. i pray to always uplift her. make her feel beautiful and valued. but you are right- “she will sing my song” so i must believe it for myself first.

    grace and peace

  • Sheleen

    I just have to say that your posts more often than not, move me to tears. Keep it comin’. Love your voice.

  • cranbrookhillbedandbreakfast

    thank you thank you thank you for this beautiful post. passed it on to all my friends :)

  • http://www.lisajobaker.com/ Lisa-Jo Baker

    Yes, I am going to sing this song right along side you, sister!

  • guest

    Thank you. Having just had my first daughter (and third child) 2 months ago, I am definitely struggling with these lies. That little voice that whispers nasty things about my wobbly bits and dreads the coming of swimsuit season. Thank you for reminding me that beauty is not relegated to a size 6.

  • Amy Kaeding

    Thank you for writing this and reminding me that I am not the only one who wants so much better for my girls!!! BRAVO!!! Your intelligent, strong, well spoken and honest.  That my friend is sexy as hell!!!

    http://www.amykaeding.blogspot.com

  • http://morningstarr.typepad.com/ Dina

    I waded through so much insecurity in my youth based on how my image never mirrored the girls in the fashion magazines I loved looking through. Vowing to not allow my girls to be led into the same trap is hard to keep. Vowing to never lead them by example is one I live to keep. They know where Sexy lives, it’s a term of endearment they often hear their father say to me. They know what she looks like: average, smiling, serving, loving, content, secure. Sexy for now doesn’t mean: erotically attractive. It means: the one he’s committed to loving; one who has accepted and dances in the beauty that God has granted her.

  • God Loves Women

    Thank you so much for this post! I grew up with a mum who was permanently on a diet and with two parents who were very “fat-ist”.  From as young as I can remember (about 6) I was petrified of getting fat.  I didn’t eat anything and saw myself as needing to be thin.   When stuff went wrong in my life one of my coping mechanisms was stopping eating and although I would never consider myself to have had a serious eating disorder I defined myself by weight.

    Praise God I am no longer defined by anything other than His love and thank you so much for this beautiful post which truly will enable your daughters to never go through the hurt I have been through.

    Blessings to you!

  • rinzu rajan

    A very open and heartfelt effort.! Lovely.!

    http://www.rinzurajan.blogspot.in

  • Gretchen

    Thank you!  A wonderful and needed reminder.  I have sons and need to remember that my words about myself will influence their picture of a beautiful woman.  They have an amazing example in their father and I want them to know his loving words are accepted and not dismissed because of my insecurities. Thank you for your words.

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  • Cortney Jones

    Thank you.  I had to share.  And “I PROMISE TO SAY BETTER!”  I recently had my 6th baby.  (My 5th daughter).  I owe it to my girls to have a better self image.  Thanks again for pointing the “lies” out.  And for writing the “truth”!

  • http://www.crystalhadidian.com/ Crystal

    Marvelous. Thank you. 

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  • Anonymous

    I read this a couple of weeks ago but came back to it today because I couldn’t come up with the words to affirm myself but I knew you did. Thank you.

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  • EndlessCycle

    When I had children, I too swore that I would never utter “I’m fat” in front of them. My daughters are now 9 and 7 and I have stuck to that promise. I wanted them to know there is more to life than counting calories. I wanted them to know that they are lovable no matter HOW they look. Even if I still sometimes have trouble believing this myself. I have good days and bad days. I struggle, oh do I struggle. But I NEVER EVER EVER want my daughters to go through an eating disorder like I have for the last 20 years. And reading this “Like the ones that are apologetic to their husbands because they have a body marked by childbirth” made me want to cry. Because I am apologetic at times… but much of mine comes from the fact that my husband does not like my post baby body. And that hurts. ALOT. Yes, I know I do not weigh what I did before kids… I don’t need the reminders from him. And then I start to think, well I’m supposed to honor my husband and if he wants me to be in shape, I should be trying harder. So I guess I get stuck in a never ending cycle…. sigh.

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  • http://wildflowerramblings.wordpress.com/ Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings

    Agreed. My mom said it about herself in front of me at least a thousand times and thankfully I came out confident, unscathed. And now that I have a daughter, I love my stretch marks, how could I not?! Thank you for these words, more beautiful than many of us could try to think.

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