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“Where do they come from?” That was the question that Allison Kimmey’s young daughter asked her one day while they were in their swimsuits by the pool. The little girl was referring to Kimmey’s stretch marks. “Well, when I was a little older than you, I got some stripes when I grew really fast! And some of these stripes are from when I had you growing in my tummy,” Kimmey replied.
As the girl looked more closely at her mom’s belly, Kimmey commented, “They are shiny and sparkly. Aren’t they pretty?” Kimmey’s daughter replied: “Yes, I like this one the best, it’s so glittery. When can I get some?” To which Kimmey enthusiastically explained that she, too, would one day have “glitter stripes” when she grows up. In that moment, Kimmey hoped to transform what could have been an exercise in shaming and self-loathing into a lesson in body acceptance and confidence.
Kimmey felt it was important to share the sweet conversation on her Facebook page, along with a photo of her with her daughter in their bikinis on the beach. “IT MATTERS HOW WE TALK TO OUR DAUGHTERS ABOUT OUR BODIES!,” Kimmey wrote in all capitals in her post. “They are listening. They are asking. And it is up to YOU to help them shape how they will feel about these things! Will you continue the shame that society has placed on you? Or will you teach her a new way of love? I choose love. Just do you.”
Little did she know that the post would go viral. At the time of this writing, the post has 56,000 reactions, almost 40,000 shares, and more than 1,200 comments from people who were touched by the exchange.
One woman wrote, “I am amazed by your response, what a fantastic [lesson] you are giving her,” while a second commented, “Glitter stripes! I love how you described them…beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and even the ‘skinny’ people can have glitter stripes.” A third chimed in, “Amazing. It makes my heart happy when a beautiful momma teaches her beautiful daughter self love!!!!!”.
Another related to the story, and described how she was empowered by her own daughter’s reaction to her stretch marks. She wrote, “My daughter is a huge tomboy and asked about my stretch marks on my stomach along with my c section scars. She thought I was a total bad to the bone rockstar and the absolute coolest because I let someone cut my tummy open and get her out. And because I have tiger stripes. I use to hate them but when she thought it was cool so did I.”
Some women also recalled the negative messages they received from their own mothers, and congratulated Kimmey on stopping the cycle of sour self-talk. “This is one lucky little girl. My mamas favorite words for me were thunder thighs and baby Huey, for as long as I can remember. By the time I was a teen, and a size 12, I truly thought I was fat. I was almost 40 before I gained any body confidence,” wrote one.
Kimmey herself chimed in on the comments, replying to the anecdotes that women shared on her public post. “Having first hand experience is the perfect motivation to want to change the vocabulary we use when describing ourselves and others. Thank you for the support,” she wrote in one of her comments. “Sure you could!!!,” she wrote in response to one woman who claimed she could never be as confident of her body.
Kimmey isn’t your typical mom, though. She’s a professional self-love guru, and body acceptance is a key focus in her life, according to her website, in which she says, “My calling in this life is to educate, empower, and equip all of womankind to be independent, fierce, self-loving women that are ready to run their life…and this world!” She also runs a nonprofit for teen girls called GirlPhoria, which she says helps them to become “super happy, insanely in love with yourself, and find your strengths to run this world!”
No doubt Kinney’s daughter has the most positive role model possible and will grow into a confident, body-positive adult — glitter stripes and all!
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