Before I was Catholic, I focused on Mary during the holiday season. I mostly thought about her, pregnant and heavy laden, making the long journey for the census just before her baby was to be born. Tired, searching for a place to rest. Giving birth in a dirty, humble place. Holding the infant Jesus in a night where shepherds and angels and the light of a star paid Him heed. I had the honor of being in late stage pregnancy twice during the Advent season. I was very comfortable thinking about Mary then.
But I didn’t think about her much otherwise. Thoughts about Mary were safe during Advent and Christmas. But, like the tree and decorations we put up in our home, my thoughts of Mary, too, were boxed up and put away at the end of the season, until the following year. Mary belonged in a nativity scene, not in my life.
A Growing Admiration
All of that necessarily changes when one is on a journey to the Catholic Church. Mary plays such a key role in our salvation story, and Catholics aren’t afraid to acknowledge it. I know, based on the Bible and the teaching of The Church, that Mary is in heaven, and prays for us. I also know that Jesus listens carefully to what his mother requests of Him. Her role as the New Eve, the Ark of the New Covenant, her Immaculate Conception, her lifelong obedience and holiness, also are things I worked through as I prepared for Confirmation.
It became easy to realize there was much more to Mary than what I had previously thought. It became easy to be thankful for how precious a role God gave Mary, from the moment of her own conception. It became easy to admire her.
But, as I am learning, admiring someone is not the same thing as being in a relationship.
As a teen, spending time with my mother wasn’t as high on the priority list, though that has long since changed. But in some ways, I think I still relate to Mary in that way. I know she loves me and is there for me, but I don’t often make time with her a priority. Some of the Rosary’s I’ve prayed have ended up being the most powerfrul prayers of my life, prayers that were clearly answered, and graces that were abundantly given.
So why don’t I do it more?
Perhaps it’s some tendency leftover from my Protestant days. The Rosary isn’t often one of the first prayers I go to, and even though it doesn’t take incredibly long, I often struggle at the time commitment a Rosary takes. I have been praying Hail Mary’s more often in my day to day life, which I think is a good baby step. But it feels too tiny sometimes, when I know the beautiful graces given to me through Mary on the occassions I have spent time intentionally turning to her.
But I also know Mary has a lot to offer me if I would not only spend time talking toher, but also listening.
I have so many wonderful mother figures in my life. There’s my mom, who has been with me since the beginning. I also have a step-mom, and a mother-in-law, as well as many other women who have been influential in my life.
But as much as these women have allowed me to talk and share my heart with them, I find I often learn the most when I listen to the wisdom they have to give me. And Mary has so very, very much wisdom to offer. Through her example in Scripture, through her presence in the ways she has appeared to many throughout history, offering Truth and encouragement and building our faith as a Church. This weekend, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fatima, and that is just one of many examples of her intervention in our world. And I’m sure she would speak to my own heart, if I only would quiet myself and listen.
I think a person has room for many mothers. Women who love, guide, and shape us. Who intercede for us. Who listen to us. Who offer us comfort. And I firmly believe Mary should be at the top of the list of Mothers in our lives.
Mom and Me, on the day of my Confirmation
Amazing 80’s Hair Mom!
On this Mother’s Day, it is my prayer that as I celebrate the earthly mothers in my life, I would also move closer to embracing my heavenly Mother, Mary. That I would allow her guidance and wisdom more and more into my own daily existence. That I would not take the blessing of having a heavenly Mother for granted. And that I would look to emulate her, and ask for her intercession to become even a small portion of the woman and mother she was to Jesus and is to The Church. For God’s grace to emulate her in holiness. And to know she is there for me, loving me, and waiting for me to spend some time.
We Want to Know: What is your relationship with Mary like? How do you relate to her as a Mother?
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And we only have three! Bless you mommas who have more. And bless you mommas who have less. Depending on the personality cocktail of our kids, one can seem like many, and many can seem like an army.
Here’s a few things, or tidbits, if you will, that this momma has paid attention to of late:
1- My son wants to be a superhero. I don’t know how this happened, other than it is inside of him somehow. We don’t watch superhero movies, we don’t have superhero books. But he got a Superman figurine somewhere, somehow, and all of a sudden every blanket is a cape, and he is running around defeating bad guys. This kid wants to fight for justice. He wants to be strong. He wants to have what it takes to save the day. I love that about him.
2- I am the world to this baby. For now. When this tiny infant of mine cries to be held for the bajillionth time each day, it helps me to remember that to her, right now, I am the entire world. Within a very short amount of time, I won’t be. I already have to bargain with my two year old for snuggles, depending on the time of day. So, when she cries, again, for her momma, I am trying to just embrace this fleeting time.
3- The creativity of children astounds me. We have a room full of Many A Toy, and you know what the kids spend most of their time playing with? Blankets, pillows, cushions, blocks, art stuff, and books. My oldest daughter has an amazing imagination. She leads her little minion brother on the coolest adventures. They make forts, and Fun Parks, and piles, along with other crazy messes (that I try hard not to overreact to). And all those fancy schmancy toys just kind of hang out and enjoy the show. We have, for a while now, stopped stocking them with many additional fancy schmancy toys. And they don’t seem to mind a bit.
4- Sometimes I have spit-up on my shirt. Yeah, I know it’s there. And no, I don’t feel like making extra laundry, so this baby is going to ride out the day.
5- Dinner is easier to make in the morning. Dinner time is the Witching Hour around here… where Bigs are tired from the day, and Little is fussy. Tis much easier to reheat a kind-of-soggy-fajita than to attempt to make a not-as-soggy fajita at five pm.
Perhaps these are kind of random… but that’s kind of how my thoughts are throughout most of the days most of the time. Any other coherent-ish posts you may have read require late nights, covert trips to Starbucks, or many, many edits. And these tidbits I’ve mentioned have been popping up around me lately over and over again. Especially the spit-up clad shirt thing. Whatevs. So I smell like sour milk. I keep these little humans alive.
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I purchased a bathroom scale for the first time in my life just over a month ago. It actually was kind of a difficult decision. I’ve never been super focused on the number on the scale. I know what a healthy weight range is for me, and, realistically I know I’ll end up back there someday. But, also realistically, I know I am like many women who do not recognize the shape of the woman they see in the mirror after giving birth. I jokingly refer to it as my period of “deflation,” but it is difficult to know the way you feel inside and the way your body looks are not in union. It’s difficult when your pants can’t make it over your widened hips. It’s difficult when you still, 2 months after giving birth, can’t fit your wedding ring all the way on your finger.
I think a lot of us probably feel that way. I gained 18 lbs more weight during this pregnancy than with the previous two. And the reason for that is actually something to celebrate. I was incredibly nauseous for the first 20 weeks, but a new medication helped enough that I didn’t get sick as often. With the first two kids, I lost weight during the first trimester. With one of them, it was nearly 10% of my bodyweight. That didn’t happen this time. And, as a result, I naturally gained more. So, the extra weight is, in many ways, good news.
Holding All The Things
And I know that I am doing much better now this third time around at being gracious to my postpartum body than I have in the past. My body grew, sustained, and gave birth to human life, which is freaking amazing. But I think I can love and appreciate my body for its ability to do that, and also accept that it is still in a period of transition. That pregnancy and postpartum are both times where our bodies change dramatically. I can say- “Ok. It sucks that I have to rotate between 4 shirts right now that look appropriate,” and also stare at my daughter and say “Woah. This amazing little creature was formed inside of me.“
I can know this, and also sometimes I just really just want to wear my wedding ring, and have more than one pair of pants that fits. I can feel frustrated when that pair gets majorly spat up on, and I have to give them an emergency wash with not enough time, and then spend an evening out doing pub trivia with damp pant legs.
I can hold all of those things and accept that they all are valid. I can sit with dichotomy. I can grant that pregnancy and postpartum are both times that require patience and grace. Yes I can.
Getting A Move On
Exercise is one of the key components to my treatment plan for Postpartum Depression/Anxiety this time around. Being active helps my mood, and enables me to manage the stressors of each day more effectively. I also know it will help to tone and strengthen me. And lose the baby weight. So, once I was cleared to move, I started a manageable yet effective workout program, interestingly titled Bikini Body Mommy. I make it like an appointment each day that I cannot miss. And the program isn’t how it sounds. The lady who runs it is a mom of 4, who looks normal, and is working on strengthening her body as well. It’s very focused on acceptance, and being strong and healthy. Just being honest – its much easier to go through this program during my postpartum period than it would be to watch a perfectly toned 0% body fat Jillian Michaels or Other Hyper Toned Woman tell me to get a move on, or that I can handle 10 more reps or something. I’ll take the mom with the kids in the background of her videos, who deals with the same stuff I do when trying to get a workout in thank you very much.
Anyway… the Bikini Body Mommy 90 day challenge has set intervals where you take your weight and measurements.
I like seeing progress, and I like things I can quantify. I wanted to engage in the program with fidelity, and so, I bought the scale. I bought the tape measure. And began.
I am now nearly 30 days into the program, and I am seeing progress and change. I’m feeling stronger and more energetic. All of which are good things. But I am also keenly aware that my 5 year old daughter is watching everything happen. And I am aware that how she sees me handle this time will teach her a lot about what she should think about her own body.
The Little Eyes Upon Me
Even if my own brain is screaming in excitement when I see the scale dip down a bit, or I notice that or that hints of a waist are beginning to reappear (and those abs are in there somewhere, I just know it), I am consciously, painstakingly careful about the words that I let out of my mouth, and of the way I let my daughter hear me talking about my body. To some extent, I have always been this way around her. But now, especially now, I am more careful than ever.
She, my precious girl, is so confident. She is so secure. She knows she is lovely. I want to build upon that, and teach her to be gracious to herself when her body goes through change. Because women’s bodies go through a lot of change in a lifetime. We are meant to expand and retract. We are meant to grow life, and give life. Our metabolisms speed up and slow down. Our bodies change monthly as our fertility cycle repeats time and time again. Our bodies are not and never will be stagnant. And I want her to know that when she, too, goes through those inevitable changes in her body, that health and strength can be the rocks she can stand on.
So here’s what we’re doing right now.
Right now, my daughter sees me exercise 6 days a week, for about 20 minutes at a time. Sometimes she joins in with me, and we talk about how strong we feel, or how we can feel our muscles working. She knows exercise is a priority. She knows that for kids, running, and playing, and anytime she is moving is good exercise. And that she’s welcome to join in with mommy. And let me tell you, that girl can plank.
Right now, I let her see me sweat. It’s ok that it is hard work. It took mommy’s tummy a long time to stretch out to grow the baby, and it’s ok and normal that it takes work and time to help get those tummy muscles un-stretched out and strong again.
Right now, I’m careful how often she sees me step on that scale. She knows that it is one way I can track how mommy is getting healthy. But I don’t make it a focus.
Right now, (and always and forever because I need food to live,) she sees me eat. Regular food. And treats. This momma cannot a day without chocolate go. But she sees me eat healthy portions, and she hears me talk about filling up on good-for-you foods first with vitamins that will make us strong, and then leaving a little room left for a treat afterwards.
Right now, (and hopefully forever,) she does not and will not hear me complain about feeling flabby, or misshapen. Truthfully, I am a bit flabby due to the extra skin. I had 8 lbs 10 oz of humanity fit inside my abdominal region. The flabbiness is simply a reality of the situation. But, though I may be tempted to feel like I am, I am not misshapen. I grew a human. This is the shape my body has after giving birth to said human. It is differentshapen if anything. But the prefix “mis” means wrong, and there is nothing wrong with a body looking like this after doing what it did.
Right now, even if I may not particularly like what I see, she does not see me look disapprovingly in the mirror, or pinch or grab the stretched out parts of myself. She does, however, see me take my progress photos, and she knows I am taking them so I can keep track of how strong I am getting, and so I can see my muscles grow.
Right now, she knows it is more important to be healthy than to be skinny. She knows this because I ask her from time to time, and she always gets the answer right. And I hope and pray she continues to believe it. Because it is the absolute, and total truth. She also knows all women are shaped differently, and we all are different shaped at different times of our lives. And that all of that is normal, and good.
When Others Say Things
I was glad tonight when a woman approached me and said “Look at you, all skinny already,” that Felicity was out of earshot. However, she was in earshot when her daddy recently, and briefly, forgot the deal and said “Look at mommy, isn’t she getting so skinny?!” I said, “No, daddy, I am getting healthy, and strong.” And Felicity echoed the same, acting almost as if her daddy was silly to have spoken in that way.
That a girl.
JP didn’t mean to do anything wrong- he was trying to pay me a compliment and acknowledge all the hard work I’ve been doing. But, he’s also man whose body has pretty much stayed the same since high school. Having never been a woman, he doesn’t fully get what we are doing here. But he also realized the mistake and corrected his own language as well. Nice recovery. Positive message reinforced.
In some ways, I am also helping to teach myself how to think more healthily and graciously during this time. I have to frame my own thoughts better in order to make sure that the words I say match the message I want Felicity to hear. And, the little ways I’ve seen her repeat back to me the things I have spoken let me know that, at least as far as this goes, we are doing okay. She’s talked about how long it takes to grow a baby and stretch out, and that getting un-stretched out takes a long time too. She cheers me on when I am working out, yelling “You’re getting stronger mommy!” Yes, sweet girl. Yes I am. Thanks for the compliment.
These things are music to my ears. These things keep me going, and encourage me to continue on this path.
The path to health. To continued happiness. To being content right where I’m at. Even if I have a few more evenings with damp pant legs in my near future. We’ll get there. After all, these things take time.
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One of the biggest things I’ve learned through my own journeys through postpartum depression and anxiety is how good we humans can be at looking like we are okay. That’s partly why if I know you, and you have had a baby recently, there’s a good chance I will do my best to check in and ask you how you are doing. And, based on my own history, I might ask you more than once to make sure things haven’t changed, or to give you another chance to tell someone if something is wrong and you’ve still been keeping it to yourself. And if I’ve missed any of my friends because you seemed to be doing fine, I’m sorry. I know better.
And that’s also why I feel it’s important for me to be honest about my own experiences. I hope that women will be able to talk about postpartum issues easily and without shame and get the help that they need before things get too serious.
You see, this isn’t my first time at the postpartum depression/anxiety rodeo. But, there are some very significant differences in how things are going for me this time, versus how they went for me before.
The first time I had significant postpartum issues that required intervention was after the birth of our son, August. The second, right now, after the birth of our little Mary.
I stayed silent. Even after I knew something was terribly wrong, I kept it inside for weeks.
I started seeing a psychologist 2 months prior to Mary’s birth. She taught me strategies for dealing with depressive feelings and anxiety that I could later put to use if needed. I knew I had a significantly higher risk of dealing with depression/anxiety this time because I had experienced it before. I didn’t want to be silent if it happened again.
Postpartum anxiety and depression hit me like a freight train. I was having panic attacks, which I had never experienced before. I was driving erratically.I felt like I was stuck behind a wall and couldn’t access my own life. I was spending time thinking about the least traumatic ways to make myself disappear. All very abnormal for me, and all very scary. And I didn’t see it coming.
We knew exactly what to look for, and didn’t take it lightly. JP and I monitored my mental state regularly after the baby’s birth. I kept my counselor updated. I was honest. When, early on, I had some depression, and now, when I’m still dealing with anxiety, the conversation had already been started.
My treatment plan included me needing to take Zoloft for approximately 6 months. I also did every. single. thing. that I was told would help me recover. I saw a counselor, I exercised, I made myself shower, I started eating right, I let family help. Looking back, I don’t think if it were up to me doing it for myself, that I would have had the strength to do what I needed to do to heal. But as I read about depression, I learned about the effects of a depressed parent on her children. And so I took the medication for their sake. I did what I was supposed to do to recover for their sake. And, after a few weeks, little bits of my normal self began to peek through.
My treatment plan started before Mary’s birth with developing a relationship with my psychologist. I still see her regularly. I also began implementing all the things I learned the first time around, and the new tools I’d acquired as early as I could. I’m using a light therapy box and taking extra vitamins. Once I was cleared to exercise, I started to exercise. I journaled so I could track my mood and anxiety levels right from the get-go. We hired a postpartum doula to help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and baby care. My mom comes to help for 3 days every other week. And when I started having symptoms, I put into place the strategies I learned from counseling. I wasn’t hit by a freight train this time around. I knew what to do, and was already getting the support I would need. So, overall, things have been less scary and less severe.
I considered myself fully recovered by the time my son was 7 months old. I put a lot of hard work into that recovery. And, thankfully, postpartum depression and anxiety is not a chronic issue. It might be reoccuring, depending on whether or not we have any more children, but it is not something you live with forever. And I held on to that hope that first, long, dark time through. Thankfully, it was true. I was totally back to my normal, functioning self. Morning had broken.
I don’t know how long I have until I will be fully recovered. I’m hopeful that based on the timing of my recovery the first time, that my body chemistry will level itself out by mid-summer, maybe sooner, especially with all I’m doing to help the healing process. I’m managing right now without medication, but I’m needing to keep things really simple. I know from experience that if I try and do too much on a given day, my anxiety will be worse. I know if I don’t get enough sleep, or can’t make up sleep with a nap my anxiety will be worse. I know if I don’t exercise, it will be worse. And, because of how I’ve been able to manage my symptoms much more effectively this time around with this treatment plan, and because we know that pace of life is a huge contributing factor in how well I do on a given day, we’ve had to make a difficult decision to extend my leave from work while I make sure I continue to recover well. This time I’m able to know that I want to recover fully and as soon as possible not only for my children, but also, for myself.
Beyond The Surface
Having postpartum depression and anxiety has helped me to desire to look more deeply in situations where people that might otherwise appear to be fine. We often put our best face forward for the world to see, and that best face can hide some deep pain or struggle underneath. I want to give a couple of personal examples of that, in the hopes that it can continue to remind me and others to extend compassion, and to encourage vulnerability.
Anyone who spotted me driving in the car last week with the kids would have seen what appeared to be a woman, simply driving. But they wouldn’t have known that I overscheduled myself on that day, and we were running late to get Felicity to theater class. In reality, we were going to be 2-3 minutes late. Which for normal Lorelei wouldn’t be a huge deal. But the hustle of trying to get there on time when I had attempted too much triggered my anxiety. I was working very hard to stay calm with the kids, but I assigned more blame on their lack of speed getting ready than I should have. My mind was racing as I tried to utilize the strategies I had learned to keep from panic taking over. And someone looking very closely would have noticed that as I drove, my hands were shaking.
Also this week, friends of mine on Facebook would have seen this picture of JP and I waiting for a concert to start:
Cute pic. But what this picture doesn’t show is that not even ten minutes later, one of the opening acts came on, and the way the music was mixed was very heavy on the bass. It was so much bass that my insides were shaking. And my thoughts started racing… I thought the building was going to come down, or that something inside my body would stop working from all the shaking. There were people on all sides of me and I felt trapped. I tried to breathe, and tried to ground myself, and stick it out, but I just couldn’t.
None of those thoughts were rational. But that’s how anxiety works. So I used another strategy. I removed myself from the area, and sat out that act’s entire set in the concourse where the sound was much more muted. I told JP I was worried if the main act had that level of bass that I would struggle to be in there during their concert. Thankfully, their sound mix was very different and we were ok. But… the point is, that picture of me didn’t tell the whole story of the night. I didn’t put nearly running out of the area in a panic as my Facebook status for the evening.
I hope to be able to continue to be honest about what I’ve been through with others. Perhaps it will help someone feel less alone. Perhaps it will help someone make a decision to reach out. Because postpartum stuff is nothing to mess around with. Suicide is way up there with other leading causes of maternal death. But, taken seriously, it is so, so very treatable. And you totally get yourself back after you’ve done the hard work to recover, whether that be taking medication for a while, or excercising, or therapy, or any combination of the many, many tools available that help you get yourself back from the darkness.
Below are 3 resources I have taken advantage of at different points in my own postpartum journey, and that I found to be very helpful.
This Isn’t What I Expected. This is an amazing book that helped to normalize my experiences, and start me on the path of having tools to recover. It also has a whole chapter devoted to helping husbands know how to help their wives.
Postpartum Progress. This website contains stories from women about their postpartum experiences. It also has articles and links to resources for help.
This is the story of a young girl, now grown woman, who looks back on a movie she absolutely loved and watched multiple times throughout her formative teenage and young adult years. It’s about a dramatically changed opinion. It’s about a call to awareness, a call to seek out Truth. And it all starts by giving another look at the seemingly classic romantic comedy called:
Looking back, I find it interesting that neither I, nor anyone I know that I watched this movie with when I was younger ever questioned what was going on.
At a fundamental level, Pretty Woman romanticizes prostitution, and creates the fantasy that true, meaningful, lasting love (well, we don’t really know if they last… the final scene in the movie is a grande romantic gesture, not a glimpse into their life together years down the road), can come from a beginning in exploitation and lust.
To start, I know Julia Robert’s character in the movie doesn’t have a pimp, which removes a hair of the horrors she would have faced, but she is remarkably unscathed for someone who has been selling her body for a while. She bears none of the apparent effects of trauma from rape, or abuse that women who actually are sold or sell themselves face on a regular basis. But none of that is romantic. Or comedic. So… obviously they had to make her seem normal- healthy even. Like a cool girlfriend you’d like to have, except she just sells her body on the streets each night without any side effects. No biggie.
Reality check. For the past 2 years I have been part of a ministry where I have the honor each month to spend time with and love on young women that are exploited, and let me tell you, none of it is romantic, or healthy. And I mean healthy in the sense of “this is an ok thing that should regularly be happening and is good for the people involved.” There are a lot of myths associated with how people perceive how women “choose” to enter the sex industry, which could be another article in itself. But, suffice it to say, it is very rarely a “choice,” in the sense of a woman, who has had a normal and healthy upbringing, with no abuse or trauma, and just wants to make some extra good money, decides to enter the sex industry of her own free will and with no coersion then, or thereafter. And that woman, with plenty of other options, is free to choose to leave whenever she is ready to be done. Sure. Maybe. Sometimes. I may have met one or two such women during my time in this ministry. But the dozens of other women I’ve met tell the story that the above scenario is most certainly the exception, and not even close to the rule.
But it’s just a fun movie, some might say. You’re taking it wayyy to seriously… Well… that’s a nice thought, but I don’t think I am taking it too seriously. Because I know what the message this movie sent to pre-teen/teen me was. It’s the same message the cover of Cosmo sent to me, and Redbook, and commercials, and a host of other things. And when a young girl is exposed to enough of that message, at least part of it gets internalized. At least part of that message let me know that, when all else fails, a woman can and should use her body as leverage. It let me know that some significant part of my purpose and worth had to do with my sexual appeal to men.
I could go further into detail about my own personal story, but thank God, I have since learned the twisted nature of those lies I was fed. I’m at a point now where my own personal convictions about where Truth resides are solid. I don’t even care what the magazines and the media and whatever else tell me my worth is. I no longer buy the magazines that perpetuate those messages. I no longer go to those websites. I question every source other than my Creator that tries to tell me who or what I am and what I am good for.
But what I do care about, is the many impressionable young and grown minds that don’t view these messages through any sort of filter. I do care about a Men’s Health magazine, with a provocatively dressed and posed woman on the cover, placed on a low shelf, cover out, at eye-level perfect for my daughter and son to see as we check out at Barnes and Noble. I know that the line I’ve been using when I catch Felicity looking at such a cover that “Oops, looks like that lady forgot to finish putting her clothes on! How silly!” isn’t going to work for much longer, and we are going to have to begin having a much broader, much more serious discussion. And, finally, I do care about the women I see each month who so need to know their value, and are constantly fed lies about their worth by the world around them and the men and women who exploit them.
Full disclosure. I more than just “don’t like” Pretty Woman anymore. I’m mad about it it. Maybe not so much the movie itself, but the culture that made it a hit, and the full on lies we women are buying into all too often.
Anything that glamourizes and romanticizes lust and exploitation is something that is a significant concern. And the reason isn’t just because messages like the one Pretty Woman send out into the world messed up my young self a bit. It’s because those messages undercut the absolute, no-hold-barred Truth about the value of women.
Saint John Paul II wrote extensively on the value and dignity of women, and it is the Church that fully reflects how God intended the dignity of women to be seen, and appreciated, and valued. One of my favorite quotes by him is as follows:
“There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”
Pornography and all forms of exploitation show a ton of skin, but nothing of the humanity of the person beneath it. And that is the root of the problem. When a human… becomes an object. And not only an object, and object meant for the consumption of another. The woman on that Men’s Health cover is not just an attractive body, but a soul-filled person with an inherit dignity. Removing the person to lust after the body strips her of her dignity. And we, simply, have no right to strip anyone of that.
One of the greatest gifts and encouragements to me on my own journey to understanding my value has been the Church, who, in the midst of the culture described above, reveals a completely different narrative about women, and their worth. It is my hope and prayer that my daughters, the women I have the pleasure to know in all facets of my life, and many others will start to or continue to question the narrative of the world at large about our worth, and instead seek the Truth of our value given to us by God. Like with food, we internalize what we consume. We internalize what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. Let us turn off the noise and turn up the Truth. Let us question all that we are fed by this culture about our bodies and our sexuality. Let us be brave enough to speak louder than the world to our daughters, so they believe it. Let us stop spending money on movies, magazines, and other media that break down and manipulate the truth that we are a body/soul composite with inherent dignity.
Let us refuse to be seen as anything less than we truly are.