A Letter to My Daughter on My Recovery Anniversary
I hope you can feel inside your perfect little home inside my belly how much you are loved. Your grandparents, aunts, and uncles are anxiously waiting your arrival, one of them usually in tears. But mostly it is your dad and me. We are so very much in love with you and think about holding you all day, every day. Even at approximately 18 inches and 4 pounds, you already fill our lives so close to the brim we might burst! You are completing a part of us we didn’t even know was missing and you will do this your whole life. We are so very lucky to be your parents.
And then there is just me. I have wanted you since the first day I ever held a baby doll. Being a mother has always been my ultimate dream. I’ve held you in my heart for a lot longer than I will hold you in my belly. But there was a time when something so insidious grabbed my life that I couldn’t think of how badly I wanted you anymore. I was lost and confused; no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get to you. Eight years ago I was sitting in a therapist’s office who offered me a question, “Would you rather be a mom or be skinny?” Painfully, I admit choosing being skinny. This was the lowest of my life, when my eating disorder ruled me like a marionette. Know that if I ever face that question again, I would choose you over and over and over again.
There will be so much I will provide you with during your life. I promise to love you through every high and low. I promise that you will not date until you are 30. I promised that we will laugh until our stomachs hurt more times than we can count. But out of all of the things I will give you, my sweet girl, my eating disorder mindset will not be one of them. I will be praising your body and you will hear me praising mine. Frequently. We will live our lives grateful for the parts of our body that society tells us to hate. We will never speak negatively about others’ bodies or knock them down based on any quality; instead, we will learn how to build them up and help them be the best people they can be.
One day, I will talk to you about my eating disorder. I will tell you the terrible things I did to my body to be “perfect.” I will tell you how brutal and exhausting my thoughts were every day. But until then, you will hear about how amazing your mother’s body is. How despite the odds, this body made you, sustained you until you were born, and will spend forever hugging you, kissing you, and cuddling you.
Each year during May, I think about all that I have done to be actively recovered and I like to thank all of the people that helped me to the place I am today. This year recovered is especially important to me because pregnancy was a time when some of those thoughts about my body came back. This year, I dedicate my recovery to you. I dedicate every wonderful pound, every beautiful stretchmark, every change my body went through to make you. Thank you for reminding me with every roll, kick, or punch that my body is an incredible, sacred, perfectly imperfect body. And I will spend the rest of my recovered years helping you believe the same about yours.
With all of my love,
Author: Jen Buckwash