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I want my daughters to know what I didn't: your weight is not your worth

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16.01.2020

When I was growing up, my mum never commented negatively on my body. But then, she didn’t need to.

I learned enough from watching her battle with her own body; alternately starving, stuffing and, for a time, purging, too. I learned her body was never acceptable as it was, instead some perversion that required punishment.

How parents relate to their own bodies influences how their children relate to theirs.Credit:Getty

When I descended into my own eating disorder as a 12-year-old, missing nearly two years of school as I teetered on the edge of heart failure, it wasn’t her fault. In fact, it speaks volumes that she has given permission to share this story because she doesn’t want to see it perpetuated.

My poor body image and eating disorder were the results of a messy interplay between my personality traits (low self-esteem and perfectionism) and my environment, along with a lack of capacity to reconcile the two.

But when a family member recently asked how I feel about my own eating disorder experiences and body image since becoming a mother to one daughter and with a second girl on the way, I replied: “Conscious.”

Just as my mum’s body image has shaped mine to a large extent, my body image will shape my daughters.

Research has found about half of six to 12-year-olds are........

© The Age