This wasn’t what I’d planned to blog about this week (but then life seldom goes to plan!).
What’s prompted this post is the arrival of my niece into this big wide world. Out of respect for her parents’ wish for privacy, I won’t share her name or close-ups. But I will share that she is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen and I love her beyond measure.
Last night I was holding this precious bundle of innocence and pure goodness. Untouched by the world and society, she slept in blissful ignorance.
How I wish that would last. How I wish she would never experience the pressures of society to fit in to a certain mould. How I wish she would never doubt that she is perfectly acceptable, just as she is.
As I held her, marvelling at the miracle of this new life, my drive to make change intensified.
This is who we’re doing this for: not just this darling girl, but for everyone and everything she represents.
Your daughter, sister, mother, niece, cousin, friend, and neighbour. We’re doing this for every life that has come into the world untroubled by stigma, pressure and prejudice, and every life yet to be born. We’re doing this for the little girl still inside of you who never got the chance to live a life free of pressure to be anything other than what you are: a beautiful, perfectly-flawed and unique individual.
Call me an idealist, but I’d rather be that than passively watching this society work its negativity on everyone who crosses its path.
Someone recently told me their five-year-old daughter refused to eat her potatoes because ‘they would give her a big tummy’. Needless to say, my friend was shocked by her little girl’s comments, and rightly worried when she learnt this belief had come from another girl at school.
That is NOT okay.
I can’t bear the thought that my niece might grow to equate her worth to the size of her tummy, to a number on the scales, or to change who she is because someone tells her who she should be.
Instead, what I wish for her is this: to feel comfortable in her own skin, to accept herself and to be accepted for who she is. I want to get to know who she is as she grows up, not who she thinks she ought to be.
Can you imagine how diverse, interesting and positive the world would be if we were all allowed to flourish and grow into ourselves freely?
We’re not designed to all be the same, so let’s stop trying to make that happen.
I know she will grow up surrounded by love and we will try to instil this positivity in her. I vow to never talk about myself negatively in front of her, never to make digs at my appearance or quirks.
I will do my utmost to lead by example of how to love oneself, how to be a good person, and how to treat others.
And I promise I will do everything I can to change society for the better; for her, for us and for the precious babies not yet born.