I wish I loved my body sooner

I see her and I’m ready to love her—finally. I only wish I got here sooner.

I wish I loved my body sooner
? Bekah Baronins

A few days ago, my four-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “Mommy, you’re gorgeous. You don’t need mascara or lipstick.” I wish I could say I fully believed her.

But I didn’t. And I haven’t, for a long time. At 35, I’ve been hating aspects of my body for at least 25 years. And although I’m learning to change my self-perception, and working every day to see myself through a lens of love and gratitude, 25 years is a hell of a habit to break.

It’s a challenge I’m up for, though. I owe that to myself. I owe that to the girl I was. And I definitely owe that to my daughters.

I remember when the self-body-shaming began. I was about 10 years old and suddenly it dawned on me: I have thighs. At nine, I had legs. Like everyone else on the planet, male, female, adult, child. But now, at 10, the same age I developed my first crush on a boy, I realized I didn’t have legs. I had thighs. And I didn’t like them. Add into the mix that with puberty came hair, and now my thighs were not only too big, they were too hairy, and I, an introvert who very easily falls prey to feelings of shame, was doomed. I hid my thighs, hid my spirit—and so began my teenage years.

From that point on, subtly hating my body started impacting my decisions. When I started a new school in ninth grade, I was given an option: dance or PE. Even though I loved music and dance was intriguing, one small fact got in the way: dance required wearing a leotard, which required exposing said thighs. I said no, and chose PE, and followed that up with a few years of basketball, which I hated and was terrible at. All because I didn’t want my thighs to see the light of day.

And the micro decisions continued. Choosing a one piece instead of a bikini. Slouching forward instead of standing straight. Wearing a low-cut blouse because my boobs were amazing to distract from other parts of my body. Did my friends and family know I didn’t love myself? No way. Most reading this will probably be surprised to hear I felt this way at all. Because it wasn’t overt. It was subtle. And as a result, this pattern of feeling less than dangerously continued, undetected for weeks and years and decades.

The thing is, my thighs were never a problem for the outside world.

My own subjective self-judgment was enough to condemn myself to 25 years of feeling unworthy, unwanted, unlovable. After having twins in 2012, I came to realize just how beautiful my body had been back then. In my twenties, I was 25 pounds thinner, my thighs svelte, my stomach flat, my lean, strong, and flexible body able to fit in a size 2 or 4, no problem. But back then, it wasn’t enough. I didn’t have the elusive thigh gap, there was always someone around who was thinner, and I never, not for one moment, paused to relish my healthy, profoundly graceful, and covet-worthy body.

And so now, at 35, with two daughters to raise, I’m faced with a decision: Do I continue to hate my thighs and pass on to my children a legacy of self-loathing? Or do I embrace them? Do I love every inch, so that they will love every inch, regardless of how many inches it is we’re talking about? Can loving myself today make up for 25 years lost?

The answer is, I’m not sure. I want to say that loving yourself is like a light switch, where once you flip it all is well. But if you’ve gotten this far, you know, and I know, that loving yourself is a wave. You rise, you fall, the trick is only that you keep going.

I will love myself, my face, my body, and especially my thighs, so that my 10-year-old self can know that her suffering wasn’t in vain.

I see her and I’m ready to love her—finally. I only wish I got here sooner.

Join Motherly

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play