Rewind two years and four months. I was at the OBGYN five months pregnant. It had taken me two and a half years to get pregnant, two and a half of the hardest years of my life. Infertility is awful! I already loved this little being growing inside me and I just knew he was a boy. I could feel it.
At first he wouldn’t uncross his legs so that the ultrasound tech could confirm his gender. Then twenty minutes later he finally moved so that everyone could see. He was… a girl!
I like girls. I am one. I never didn’t want a girl.But I had never thought of myself as the mother of a girl. I was terrified, for reasons I didn’t really understand. Now, as the mother of an amazing, funny, strong, beautiful girl, I know a little more about those fears. How I got from there to here is connected but complicated. Here is my attempt to explain it:
I went on my first diet in third grade and struggled for the next twenty-six years with body image, weight and the idea of what it means to be healthy and/or pretty. Like many American women, my happiness, idea of beauty, body image and confidence were wrapped up with my female identity in such a tangled mess that I didn’t know if I would ever be able to see any of it clearly. What did it mean to be healthy- not just skinny (I spent a good fifteen years just working towards that), but really physically, emtionally, socially healthy? Was that even something I was capable of? I wasn’t (still am not most days) sure.
But now there is this little two year old carbon copy of me running around my house asking me things like “What’s that?” (boobs was the answer) and refusing to eat vegetables. I need to be able to show her an example of what healthy, happy, beautiful girls look like because I want her to have a fighting chance at being one. So I’m on a mission to become one myself. I’m writing right out here on the internet because it forces me to be more reflective.
I’m a teacher by trade, something I love and have dedicated a large chunk of my life to. What I know from teaching is that you don’t have to have all the answers to start. My students ask me a new set of amazing, never-before-have-I- thought-about-that questions every week. What I know is that there is power in saying ‘I don’t know. How can we figure that out?’ So this blog is sortof a huge inquiry project. I have questions. Maybe some of my readers have the same questions. I know that reflecting and communicating are both really important to the learning process. So I hope the reflective journal that is my blog can get me (us if you want to come along for the ride) a little closer to some of the answers.