Last Sunday night, I met with some of my favourite women and went to see the Dublin premiere of Embrace, a feature length documentary by Taryn Brumfitt. I got to chat with Taryn too (woop!) and want to share her message with you.
Taryn is an Australian Mum of 3 and after her 3rd child, she decided she needed to do something about her body. She felt broken. Her body was not what it used to be, she was desperately unhappy and she wanted a change. Her initial plan was to have cosmetic surgery, which she couldn’t go through with – what message would that send her young daughter about body image? Instead, she took on a brutal training regime to get the ‘perfect’ bikini body. As she stood on stage in her bikini and stilettos, she couldn’t believe that this perfect body hadn’t brought her happiness. Not only that, but she realised that no matter what way our bodies look, almost every single woman she met hated her body. She chose to quit the tortuous training regime and make friends with her body. She wanted to enjoy her body and use it to have fun, rather than see it as an ornament. When she posted this on her Facebook profile, encouraging her friends to love their bodies, the internet almost blew up (you’ve probably seen it, right?)
As well as gratitude and support, Taryn experienced some pretty hateful comments from men and women about her body in the after photo. She decided to go on a mission to find out why so many of us hate our bodies and what we can do about it.
Warning – Much of the focus of the documentary is on Mothers (but not all!)
We see how Mothers’ bodies change through pregnancy and after childbirth and breastfeeding. If, like me, you don’t have children, either by choice or through infertilty or illness, it can feel like a ‘Mother & Baby Assault’. As a Mum, this is Taryn’s story and it truly represents many women around the world. That doesn’t mean the truth about why we hate our bodies only applies to mothers. So much of this story applies to women (and men!) who are bombarded by unhealthy and unhelpful media messages about body image. I think everyone should watch this documentary.
In fact, I’d call it essential viewing.
If you’re struggling to conceive and have a health pregnancy, it’s quite possible that your relationship with your body is a challenging one. You may feel that your body has betrayed you, that your body is your enemy; uncooperative and belligerent. Maybe you feel that this documentary doesn’t represent you, that you have good reason to hate your body.
I think our body image goes much deeper than the experience we’re having right now. I think so much of our experience with fertility treatment and how we perceive our own beauty, strength and fertility is influenced by body image. This view we hold of ourselves, of our own worth and value is something that came long before we ever began to try to conceive. Perhaps it’s due an overhaul?
Taryn’s wish for this documentary is that we don’t simply download it and watch it alone at home. She wants us to come together to watch it; to get a conversation going. She wants all of us to take responsibility for our own relationship with our body and consider how we want the next generation to view the beauty of their own bodies. Whether that next generation are our biological children or not, doesn’t strike me as all that important. I care about my nieces and nephews, the children of my closest friends and I want to do everything I can to propagate a very different view of what a healthy, beautiful body looks like (Hint, there’s no single, correct answer)
If you’re interested, join the Body Image Movement and find out where your nearest screening of Embrace is. If it’s not showing near you, become a host! Check out the trailer below and if you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought in the comments below…
If you are flailing a bit and feel the need for some support in preparing for whatever lies ahead, pop over to my Free Stuff page and register for my everything! Each free resource offers much needed comfort and clarity on where to focus your attention.
I also invite you to join my FREE Private Circle on Facebook, which offers a safe space to share, ask questions, rant, celebrate & grieve without judgement or criticism. It offers whatever you need whenever you need it. We all need somewhere we feel safe and I ensure this Private Circle is that for you.
The Fertility Companion programme will open for registration on February 1st. This unique online programme offers personal, tailored support to help you take charge of your fertility journey. It might feel like a second job right now, but it doesn’t have to.
You deserve to thrive on your journey, to heal your body, regain your energy, build resilience and reignite your inner wisdom. You can trust your body again. You are FERTILE.