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When Your Kid Asks About Your 'Two Tummies'

Photograph by Twenty20

I’m going to come clean about something today: I have a "mom body."

My mom bod came to be from having two beautiful and brilliant daughters. I don’t think my body knew at the time it was making them, but we know now. The result of birthing my girls is a totally different body than the one I started out with. I know most moms get it: The struggle to accept body changes affects us all.

My insecurities came to a head one morning with some innocent comments my 4-year-old made when I was getting undressed to get in the shower. This was one of those mornings when she honed in to question my every move. She asked about my glasses. She asked about my contacts. Then we got to the heart of it all, when she saw my stomach. She saw it was different from hers. She exclaimed “Mommy, you have two tummies! Why do you have two tummies? Can I touch it?”

My heart sank. I told her that it was some collateral damage from having her and her sister. She felt it and stretched it. I don’t know if you have a pooch, but it feels kind of like kneading bread when you have that loose skin. I totally get why she wanted to touch it.

Later that night, after I had forgotten this conversation, we went to my parent's house. I was no longer on guard about the topic when, all of a sudden, she brought it up again in the least subtle way I could've imagined. We had just arrived when she excitedly yelled to my parents, “Mom has two bellies! Look at them! Mom show them your bellies," while simultaneously attempting to lift my shirt to show them.

I realized that my sweet, innocent daughter was saying it to compliment me. She thought that my 'two tummies' were a special thing.

Not cool, child of mine. Not cool.

I was initially shocked and ashamed. I was trying to find the most miserable place to give her timeout. Then I took some time and thought about it. I realized that my sweet, innocent daughter was saying it to compliment me. She thought that my "two tummies" were a special thing. She thought they were something to be flaunted. Something to own and be proud of. My own negative thoughts were reading it as an attack, but I couldn't have been further off-base.

Hell, if my daughter thinks it’s something illustrious and I received the “damage” from having that beautiful girl, the math suggests that I need to be proud. And I am.

Now, I work to make sure my girls keep that beautiful, innocent opinion. To make sure they know that the things that make us different are beautiful and reason to celebrate ourselves. That it doesn’t mean we can’t take measures to improve on ourselves, but we do need to accept what’s there too. And how truly magnificent a mom bod is.

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