As a mother in eating disorder recovery, I always feel at odds when my daughters want me to read them the classic fairytales where the protagonist is always one body type and look...a pin-thin princess. And this princess is worshipped for her “beauty," not her insides or her intellect.
The whole story always seems outdated, and I find myself changing storylines to fit with the independent, strong and confident women I want my daughters to be.
Thanks to Ady Meschke and Katie Crenshaw, I won’t have to do this anymore. The Atlanta-based bloggers just came out with a children’s book, "Her Body Can
," that fills this much-needed gap with a book about self-acceptance and body positivity. It sends the message that your body can too, and it doesn’t matter what you look like, your size, your religion, your race or your physical abilities.
It's geared toward children eight and under, and even my inner nine-year-old self who was already starving her body is cheering loudly for this book. Because that nine-year-old grew up thinking that if she were skinnier and prettier, then she would be happier and successful. So, she hated her body for not being good enough and tried to change it.
And boy was she wrong—but who could blame her with all the messages out there telling her that her body should be hated? And over the years, she worked to become smaller and smaller until she was sucked into a full-blown eating disorder that she wouldn’t emerge from until she was twenty-six years old.
And because of her eating disorder, she missed out on so many experiences. She didn't go abroad. She didn't have close friends because she didn't let anyone get close. She didn't do anything because she was stuck in her comfort zone. She wasted so much time trying to be “perfect” that she lost who she was.
So what does a book like this geared toward children mean to me as a mother? Absolutely everything.
I was always terrified of having a daughter because I never wanted her to go through what I’ve gone through—but now I have three. Because of that, I am extra vigilant of the messages they receive and what I say and do around them. The fact that our culture is shifting toward self-acceptance and the conversation is changing is extremely helpful, so I’m not constantly battling the world around them.
And according to Glamour
, these women are working on "His Body Can" and bringing out different friends who are background characters in the book and having them star in their own books to show that everyone is equal—because everyone can no matter what.
In a world filled with internet trolls and so much pressure to be more, empowering our children young is so important. So, a children’s book designed to help teach the lessons of living your best life, and being everything you are in the body you were born with, deserves a standing ovation.
Danielle Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate and a mother to three daughters.
She has been published on Scary Mommy, Bluntmoms, The Mighty, Eating Recovery Center, The National Eating Disorders Association, Kidspot, ellenNation, Project Heal, Love What Matters, Cafemom.com, Beating Eating Disorders, Her View From Home, Motherly, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Recovery Warriors, Kveller.com, Humorwriters.org, and That’s Inappropriate. You can follow her on Facebook
Her book Living FULL: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available on Amazon