Helping Your Daughter With Body Image Issues

At barely six-weeks-old, I was forced to engage in my daughter’s body image battle.

I visited the office of my periodontist in an effort to overhaul my terribly messed-up, post-pregnancy gums. With an hour round-trip to his office, my husband and I deemed it wise to keep our unpredictable eater close to her food source.

I set her car seat on the floor by my exam chair and mentally prepared for the poking and prodding ahead of me. As the doctor entered the room, he stepped around her car seat and then bent down to peer under the canopy protecting her.

“This is the new baby? Huh?”

Smiling, I nodded in affirmation.

“Red hair, huh?”

“Yes, we were a little surprised.” I replied. I babbled something about it coming from my dad’s side and how those genes must be strong. After only six weeks with a red head, I had learned that, “Who has red hair in the family?” usually came next. But, he surprised me.

BabyComparedtoWhoAllrightsreserved“It’s a shame about the thing on her head. Will that go away?”

This wasn’t the follow-up question I expected.

What Did You Just Say About My Daughter?

Taken aback, I stammered about it being a birthmark and not really knowing if it would change or move. What I really wanted was for him to just shut his mouth and start working on mine so we could get out of there.

At the tender age of six-weeks, my daughter faced the harsh reality of her first appearance assessment–her newborn beauty brought into question by a man sixty years her senior.

My first test as a girl mom. My first chance to figure out how to defend my daughter in her battle to be beautiful while, at the same time, trying to manage my internal reaction to someone’s criticism of my offspring. . .

And I failed. I froze. I said nothing.

Smiling in the Mirror

She’s seven now. To be honest, our biggest challenge in the body image arena is that she spends too much time smiling at herself in the mirror. She gets lost in her own happy expressions and then forgets to brush her teeth well.Body image positive girls shirt to help girls with bullying and healthy body image

Praise God.

Last year, right after she turned six, she noticed that mark on her forehead. The same one the periodontist was so “kind” to point out. It’s lightened up quite a bit since she was born, and hardly as noticeable. But, for the first time, she asked me about it. I watched her push her hair over it until it was fully covered, and then move it back again to compare.

“It’s a birthmark,” I told her. Then I showed her mine. I explained that most people have a special mark somewhere. Quickly bored with my birthmarks speech, she went back to playing.

I still have time. 

And, I’m no longer paralyzed by fear as I think about helping her in this battle.

Read more from this Helping Your Daughter With Her Body Image series!

 

Raising Confident Daughters Quiz from Compared to Who

3 Comments
  • Annie
    April 9, 2015

    I’m thinking the best thing my mom could have done for my body image would have been to duct tape my dad’s mouth shut when I was 11 or 12 and not take it off until I graduated high school. Loved my daddy and am sure he meant well but he was kinda clueless…

  • Denaye
    April 9, 2015

    What a beautiful little girl. I look forward to this series–this is one of my greatest fears about having a little girl someday…how do I teach her treat her “imperfections” as unique and special features?

    • Heather Creekmore
      April 10, 2015

      Thanks so much, Denaye! Yes, helping our daughters…a daunting task. But, encouraging to know that God won’t leave us alone in this task. He’ll help us and he has the BEST answers, right? 🙂 Thanks again!

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