Am I doing my daughter a disservice? Am I teaching her that you need to lose weight to be accepted? Am I teaching her healthy habits?
These are all some of the questions that I have struggled with as I have gone down this road towards bariatric surgery. I winced today as she was playing with some toy and told it that it weighed too much and needed to lose weight. I know my struggles have left an impact on her little psyche and I don't want this to be something that she worries about at the tender age of 5 1/2.
Now, to back up some, I know this was something that I needed to do to get myself healthy. Not only for myself, but for my family. It is part of my journey that I have been called to go on and I'm ok with that. My question is, how do I teach her to love herself in the way that God created her when Mommy needed to do something drastic to change herself? I tell her that she's beautiful and perfect and God created her just the way she is. She is an active, normal, soon-to-be kindergartener. She does not have to worry about her weight. I thank God that none of my kids have had the struggles with weight that I have had my entire life. To be honest, when I found out that I was having a girl, it was one of my fears. That she would have these same struggles that I have had.
I don't want her to have them in her head either. I want her to own her body and not obsess about it. I want her to know that one of the reasons that I chose to have this surgery was so that I could be around for her as she grows into adulthood and beyond. I want that for all my children. I want to be able to be there as they pass the milestones of their lives. Graduation, college, marriage, children of their own. I want to celebrate with them, I want to be able to shed tears and cry with them. I want to watch them become the adults that God desires them to be.
So, when my precious daughter asks me I will tell her. "Honey, I did this for me and I did this for you. God did create us in His perfect image, but sometimes we forget that and abuse that. Thankfully, He also gave us the technology and the ability to change that and I had surgery to help me get back to the person God desires me to be so that I can be there for you as you grow."
I need to remind her that she is also His child and she needs to take care of her body and treat it right. That includes making healthy choices about what we eat and what we do. That does not mean we're not allowed to have treats, but that treats are treats for a reason. Treats are meant to be special and if we have those special things all the time, they are not treats anymore.
I need to teach her to stand up for herself. To not let anyone feed her lies. Friends, classmates, the media, society. She needs to learn to love herself as God loves her and not to doubt herself. I'm finding that raising a daughter is so much different then raising boys. I need to remind myself that her journey is her own, not mine, and I need to let her experience it for herself.