When I first started dating my husband, I didn’t want him to see me naked. I would try to find little ways to hide the shame I felt in my nakedness. He slowly helped me realize I was beautiful whether fully clothed or not, but it took having babies to make me see the strength and beauty in the naked body. Once I gave birth, I was able to see that bodies are bigger than something sexual, and they are capable of so much more.
While I was in labor with my son, I spent 14 hours surrounded by friends and family. Some of them saw things that I wish they wouldn’t have, and I was constantly telling people to turn around or “GET!” They we’re so excited for our son to be born that my nakedness and sprawled out body wasn’t even a second thought.
I finally warmed up once my baby was born. He was placed on my chest for skin to skin, and in that moment, I realized my body gave me the greatest gift. From that point on, my body shame about nakedness started to slip away.
After my second was born, I had zero nerves about my body being seen. I didn’t always like certain parts, but I breast fed without the fear of others seeing. Having babies made me appreciate my body in all of its glory. It also helped me realize that nakedness has a bigger picture.
My husband noticed my new found love of nakedness and would laugh and tell me to get dressed away from the windows. We eventually started talking about bodies and how we wanted to approach body image and all that goes with it. We both wanted our kids to grow up with an appreciation and understanding of bodies.
I never want my kids to feel ashamed of what they look like, so we agreed that we would be open if they asked questions. We would take showers with the doors open and get dressed as a family. It really helped normalize nakedness for our house.
Now, we don’t run around in the nude for large parts of the day, but if I’m in the tub, the kids are usually stealing my bubbles and playing close by. We don’t shy away from nakedness, and we’ve already had our son ask good questions. I want my kids to understand bodies and that they all look different.
In the Buff
There are a lot of positives that come from teaching kids about their bodies, but I also make sure that they understand comfort. If my kids aren’t comfortable with something, I don’t force them into it. I don’t make them hug people they don’t want to hug, so I definitely wouldn’t make them undress somewhere or do something that makes them uneasy or uncomfortable.
Learn from It
Body Acceptance- Being comfortable in your own skin promotes a healthy message about body acceptance. It illustrates what actual bodies look like rather than doctored online images that promote a false ideal. There is variety in bodies, and that should not only be accepted but also praised.
Separation of Nudity and Sex– Casual nudity like getting dressed shows that bodies are strong and functional. It teaches that bodies serve a purpose. Nakedness is hyper sexualized, so it helps them to learn that bodies are for other things.
I have body positive pictures on my Instagram that are supposed to uplift others about loving your body no matter what shape or size, but I still get over sexualized comments, because people still need to learn that body confidence isn’t a sexual invite. We need to teach that there can be and is a separation of nudity and sexuality, and this will also help with understanding consent and boundaries.
There are perimeters of course. The dynamic of getting older and seeing the opposite sex naked needs to be discussed. There will always be levels of what is and is not appropriate, and that is something that should be explained. It can all used as a jumping off point for teaching about comfort, acceptance, as well as boundaries.
Boundaries and Breaking Stigmas– Normalizing nakedness can also help with creating modesty. I wouldn’t shame my kid for not wanting to be naked just as I wouldn’t shame them for being naked. It goes both ways, and that understanding can help break stigmas. There will never be a one-size fits all answer for bodies, so that’s why I’m okay with nudity.
I want my kids to know that it’s okay to not be ashamed of your body. I also want them to know that everyone has their own boundaries and those aren’t one-size fits all either. I’m not comfortable with someone poking or commenting on certain aspects, so I want my kids to learn that.
Everyone is different and so is every body. We all have boundaries, so the sooner we can learn and accept that, the more they will understand.
Benefits Later– If my kids grow up with an understanding of body functions and changes, puberty could be a lot less challenging. I know it’s not guaranteed, but it would really help them from having negative feelings. I want them to see that bodies change, and that it’s OKAY.
Bigger Than Bare
This goes beyond my kids feeling comfortable enough to walk in and use the potty while I’m taking a shower or casual nudity while we get dressed. This goes beyond being bare.
Normalizing nakedness is also about feeling good in things like swimsuits, shorts, and crop tops. Too often do I hear someone say they are working on a “summer body” or trying to get a “bikini body.” Let’s break that belief.
All bodies are bikini bodies, and all bodies are good bodies.
I want my kids to learn this as they get older, but this is also important for everyone. You don’t have to be a parent to be apart of normalizing nakedness. Learning to love yourself and your body is for any age and stage of life.
In college, I would watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show every year. I’d make snacks and get cozy. Every year, I would also lightly pick at my snacks and hate on myself for not looking like those women. I would look up their diets and workout plans. Also, I would go to the gym until I was sick. I just wanted to look like them.
Whether wearing undies or a swim suit, I wanted that look. Victoria’s Secret was the first place I got a credit card. I still buy perfumes and gift sets there at the holidays. It wasn’t until recently that I felt unwelcome. I asked about a bra size, and they were out. The lady told me I should go someone that caters to plus-size women for a bigger selection. Her face was a cross between apologetic and critical.
In that moment, I realized that they do promote something that isn’t easily attainable, and not everyone can shop there. I would never shame someone for being thin, so why shame for the opposite. I own a lot of VS stuff, and I find myself wearing it all less and less now.
It’s not that they have bad products, but I just don’t want to support a company that doesn’t support me the way that I am. I don’t think it’s necessary to bash those models or women who do shop there. Honestly, I think it’s deeper than a store and some super models. I won’t put others down for shopping there, but I will get swim suits and undies where my body is celebrated.
Hot Weather, Less Clothes
I sweat a lot. Before I was curvy, I was still a sweaty lady. Hot or not, I used to wear jeans all summer long. I was miserable too. These last few years, I actually bought shorts. I also bought crop tops. They are everywhere, so I gave them a whirl.
The outfits I’m comfortable in now, I would have never been comfortable in growing up. I was raised that “big girls don’t wear that.” It’s sad that I was also raised hearing a lot of slut shaming in terms of how women dressed. It’s important to me that kids are raised differently.
Not only want my kids to be comfortable expressing themselves, I want them to love themselves. I don’t want my daughter to shy away from a dress, because she’s afraid of criticism. Honestly, I want her to feel beautiful. I also don’t want my son harassing a girl in a skirt. I want my kids to be raised knowing that being comfortable in your body and clothes is a good thing. Shame and negative associations need to be removed from so much, and I know that won’t happen overnight. That’s why I’m starting now.
I normalize nakedness in my house for a laundry list of reasons. The biggest reason is promoting self love and body positivity. Mental health is just as important as physical health. If we start to love our own bodies and remove the shame, we could start removing other negative aspects surrounding bodies too. We have to start somewhere if we want change.
I know this isn’t something everyone agrees on, but I’d love to hear from you all, parents or not. Remember, you’re beautiful.