We’ve all said it. Whether it was out loud, in your head, directed at someone else, or looking in the mirrorit’s been used. Sometimes it comes in the form of a question when you’re trying on jeans. Other times it’s simply a statement. A fact that you believe to be true regardless of what your husband says. But whatever the context, this word has weight. Actual weight. That’s right . . . fat.

Like a lot of girls, I learned the meaning of this word at a young age. Too young. I remember it happened as I watched the women in my life order salads. Dressing on the side. It happened as I heard them talk about their thighs. Their stomachs. It happened when I started to understand the seriousness in their voice as they discussed how life would be that much better if they could just lose those Last. Five. Pounds. And somewhere between sixth grade and my first real kiss, this heavy word took on a life of its own. Mine.

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At the time, it seemed like less of a choice and more of a shift. Like a right of passage down the wrong road. I found myself worrying about my own diet, how I looked in my jeans, and worst of all, how I compared to other girls. But I wasn’t alone. Some hid it better than others. And then some, like myself, didn’t hide it at all. The disordered eating that was adopted to create the very order we so craved was all-consuming.

The F-word was all around us. And it still is. Except now, we are moms. We are the women ordering the salads. Dressing on the side. We are the ones talking about our thighs. Our stomachs. And we are the ones complaining about those Last. Five. Pounds. But we shouldn’t.

After my daughter was born, I was scared. Sure, I was excited to dress her up and finally take all those bows out for a spin. But I was scared to raise a girl. I mean, how was I supposed to teach her how to love her own body when I hadn’t yet made peace with mine? Let alone my new postpartum one. How was I supposed to get it right when this whole time I felt like I was getting it all wrong? Nonetheless, I knew what I needed to do. To raise this little girl to have a positive self-image. An acceptance of herself. The confidence I never had.

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It’s easy to assume they are too young. That they don’t understand. But the truth is, they do. Just like we did. And while we are busy pinching our midsections in the mirror, our children are busy mirroring us. Whether or not we want them to. Whether or not they’re old enough to handle the significance of our actions. Of our misspoken words.

So, Momma. Even though you may not have made peace with the person staring back at you, don’t worry. Because every time we pick up our fork, try on our jeans, or get on the scale in front of them—we have an opportunity to get it right. An opportunity to teach ourselves through teaching them. To finally take our own advice. To finally stop using the F-word.

And then maybe, just maybe, we will realize that the most important bodies aren’t the postpartum ones we are trying to get to the gym today. No. Instead, maybe we will realize that the most important bodies are little ones we have created.

Originally published on Today Parenting Team

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Danielle Lacourse Vaughn

Danielle is a mom and registered nurse living in Los Angeles with her two babies and toddler husband. Thankfully, he is potty trained. She enjoys large cups of coffee, watching Friends, and pretending to know how to parent. She started writing in the notes section of her iPhone while her children were napping. When she could’ve been showering. When she should’ve been showering. Danielle is also author to the satirical parenting guide “Two Under Two: How To Survive and Not Kill Your Husband”, now available on Amazon.

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