A little boy’s words helped his mum appreciate her “squishy, jiggly” belly

Ashley Nowe

When Ashley Nowe’s son commented on her squishy belly, the mum’s first instinct was to get defensive, but she quickly realised the appreciative intention behind his words.

“A soft pillow”

Ashley, a mum and step mum of five great kids, posted about an exchange with her little guy on her GetMomStrong Instagram account and it’s really striking a chord with other mamas.

“Mom, you have the squishiest stomach. It is like a soft pillow. If we traveled somewhere and there was no pillow, you could have the pillow and I could just lay on your stomach,” her little boy said as he rested his head on her belly at bedtime.

Momentarily wounded and self-conscious, Ashley said she thought twice before she responded. It’s so easy to take little people’s words to heart, especially when we’re feeling exhausted or insecure. This mum managed to put that baggage aside and see her child’s words for what they really were – a declaration of love.

“My first reaction was to cringe, or to tell him that it isn’t nice to tell someone they have a squishy stomach, but then I thought better of it. He meant it in a loving way. He was admiring its gentleness and its softness.”

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Last night, as I tucked in my oldest, he noticed my stomach and put his head on it. "Mom, you have the squishiest stomach. It is like a soft pillow. If we traveled somewhere and there was no pillow, you could have the pillow and I could just lay on your stomach." My first reaction was to cringe, or to tell him that it isn't nice to tell someone they have a squishy stomach, but then I thought better of it. He meant it in a loving way. He was admiring its gentleness and its softness. Soon after, one of the twins came in and joined us for cuddle time. He admired its jiggle, too, with an exceptionally loud zerbert that only a mama with so much skin can offer. Grady proudly stated that this is where they lived as babies, and that they came out of my stomach, but that babies more often "come out of the vagina." One quick anatomy lesson later, and I kissed them goodnight. —————————————– As I walked down the hall, I thought how lucky his wife would one day be. He only holds positivity for my #postpartum body. I know he will hold the same for hers. He knows that her postpartum body will be softer. He knows that it will have lines. He understands that her body tells a story of the start of a life–the first chapter of someone special's story. He will look at his wife as strong, and brave, and generous for giving life. He will only love her more. I know this of him. ————————————- I'm so glad I let him talk about my stomach and its "imperfections" instead of guarding my ego. Life through the eyes of a child is raw and beautiful. Know that your child thinks your stomach is exactly as it should be, too. Because it is! ———————————– And how about this fun fact. Did you know there is a Pokémon character whose nickname is "Squishy"? He also shared this fun fact in our discussion. 😆 —————————————– #mom #momlife #selflove #postpartum #postpartumbody #mombod #bodyafterbaby #twinmom #momof3boys #fitmom #fitmommy #fitmomsofig #diastasisrecti #pelvicfloor #embrace #embracethesquish #loveyourself #boymom #twinskin Photo credit: @jadebeallphotography

A post shared by Ashley Nowe (@getmomstrong) on

Body positive

Ashley said after she’d kissed her kids goodnight, she reflected on the grown-up humans they’d become.

“As I walked down the hall, I thought how lucky his wife would one day be. He only holds positivity for my #postpartum body. I know he will hold the same for hers. He knows that her postpartum body will be softer. He knows that it will have lines. He understands that her body tells a story of the start of a life–the first chapter of someone special’s story. He will look at his wife as strong, and brave, and generous for giving life. He will only love her more. I know this of him.”

Granted, this little guy may not get married, have children or even choose a female partner, but this mum’s sentiment is hopeful and sincere. It speaks to the idea that this child – and her other kids – will be raised with a body positive, compassionate and accepting attitude and will hopefully take that out into the world with him.

It’s the kind of outcome mums and dads want most for the humans they grow.

You are perfect

Many of Ashley’s followers could relate to the postpartum body acceptance struggle, and this self-love focused perspective made their day.

“Your caption brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the much needed perspective on this. I’m new to this whole postpartum body thing and it’s been a little rough. I feel more confident and okay with it after reading what you wrote. Thank you!” One commenter wrote.

“That is so sweet. My kids love it too. Funny how something that makes us feel self- conscious can feel exactly right to them,” another wrote.

Ashley reminded other mums that the things kids say about our bodies come from an innocent and loving place.

“I’m so glad I let him talk about my stomach and its “imperfections” instead of guarding my ego. Life through the eyes of a child is raw and beautiful. Know that your child thinks your stomach is exactly as it should be, too. Because it is!”

 You can follow Ashley’s blog, Get Mom Strong, here.

 

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A few days ago, I said the "F" word in front of my almost 3-year-old son. Not the "f-word" you're thinking. It was much worse. I had just finished a workout and took off my sweat drenched shirt. I caught a glimpse of my soft midsection and muttered, "Ugh, I am FAT." I was bloated and just generally having a frumpy day. I suspect we all have them–a combination of the menstrual cycle along with society's unrealistic standards for the female body. "Fat bird," my son started chanting. "You are a fat bird, Mom." (Where he got the "bird" bit I'll never know). You know what is worse than feeling fat? Feeling like a bad example as a mother and as a woman. Here's the thing…I love my body and its strength most days. I also struggle with diastasis recti and a lot of loose skin, so my bloated days are especially frustrating. None of that matters though. I'm not doing my part to raise a good human if I perpetuate unrealistic female ideals through my own denigration. I don't EVER want my son thinking a body that has given life is anything less than perfect. I want him to see the female body for what it is–remarkable. Even more importantly, I want him to know that value isn't derived from our reflection in the mirror. I am his first example of love. I will do better. So mark my word, that will be the last time I ever refer to myself as fat. I may think it. I may feel it. But he will never hear me say it. He will indeed hear me drop a lot of F-bombs over my lifetime, but "fat" won't be one of them. #bodypositive #selflove #betheexample #momof3boys #twinmom #getmomstrong

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