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Mothers and Daughters

Eating Disorders and Body Image through Bloodlines

There is something so special about the relationship between a mother and daughter. I love my mom, more than I could put into words for this blog. I also have two sisters, a brother and obviously a father (it takes two to make a baby!) So, needless to say estrogen was in abundance in my household growing up.

When I think about the eating disorder statistics and while the disease affects both men and women it predominately affects women. I think back to how I grew up and I’m not surprised at all. I want to make it very clear that I don’t blame anyone for my eating disorder. I hold very true to the idea that it is both nature and nurture that lead to mental health concerns (sometimes more one than the other depending upon the individual, but most of the time both).

I remember my mother (who was also raised in a household that emphasized weight as important) talking about weight, fat, calories ect as a young girl. I also remember feeling like I didn’t fit in with my family because I was bigger. I felt suffocated at times by the importance of image that engulfed conversations. As a teenager outwardly I rebelled by heading in the opposite direction. I wore my hair up and sweat pants every single day pretty much.  Most of the time I felt so anxious about not measuring up that I didn’t want to try at all.

  • “Wear your hair down.”
  • “You should pluck your eye brows.”
  • “Only eat exactly what I tell you.”
  • “You should take care of yourself more.”
  • “If you lose xx pounds I’ll buy you new clothes.”
  • “How about no sugar and no flower for lent…”
  • “That is not your color.”
  • “You should wear make up all the time.”

No one’s intention in my house was to make me feel like I was ugly. No one’s intention was to make me feel like I was not enough, or I could not live up. But it happened. It happened because words were thrown around that were thought at the time to be harmless, thought to be helpful even – that sent me the message “You’re not good enough.”

We all walk into a world that tells us we’re not good enough every day. At some point very young I felt that pushing around me and I said “Okay! Okay! I’ll try to fix something!” And as I looked around to choose something to change – my appearance seemed the best place to start, wanting to be considered ‘enough’ more than change my shape appearance; then later confusing the two.

What if we considered those words harmful rather than harmless in the beginning? Maybe there would have been a different outcome. What if we accept people for who they are rather than try to get them to change? What if beauty has nothing to do with your eyebrows?

 My name is Erin and this is Where I Stand.