I do intend to include him and the child I am currently carrying (I am nine months pregnant, as I am writing this) in family-orientated naturist activities in the not-so-distant future. Myself and my partner attend naturist events; and I feel it may help my son understand that nudity is normal and not something to be regarded as inherently sexual – which can also be an important piece for children understanding the idea of consent from a young age. To a child, a body is a body – and a person’s "attractiveness" within the context of a group is not something with which they are concerned.
Photo credit: Photo by Ekaterina Kartushina on Unsplash
After the birth of my son I knew straight away that I didn’t want him growing up with the same negative body issues that I did. I was determined to overcome my own insecurities, so that I could project a positive attitude towards all body types to him. My son is now three, and I have included him on my body acceptance journey as much as I can – and because he is young, I’m hoping that I can nurture the idea that bodies come in all shapes and sizes – and that every person is completely normal as they are – not something that needs changing.
Ideally, both of my children will grow into the idea that there is no "right" or "wrong" body, no "good" or "bad" body – but simply that people are people who come in every shape and size. I avoid words like "fat" and speaking negatively about my own body in front of him. I know as he gets older and attends school, he will hear all kinds of things – but I’m hoping that I can instill a positive attitude towards body types so that he might ignore any comments, should they ever be thrown his way – and even better, that he may be an advocate for body positivity and the importance of seeing a person for more than their physical appearance.
When my son asks me about my body, I have answered questions as honestly as I can in ways I think he can understand. He once asked me why I have a big, soft tummy. I responded by telling him that he grew in there – and it got bigger as he grew, and stayed a little bigger after he was born. I told him that I loved my tummy, because it gave me him.
He accepted that explanation – and I think it’s a small step towards his recognizing that a body is more than what it looks like – and that it tells a story – one we should all be willing to hear.