Question 49


How do you answer a woman who is overly concerned about her physical appearance? Some worry about being too flat chested. Others worry about stretch marks resulting from pregnancies and childbirth. They think that implants and cosmetic surgery are the solution. Here is the answer given by a remarkable mom of seven children. 

Cordially yours, 

Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB

Please don't think I am being prideful; there is a point I am trying to make. 

I have never been what I would call attractive by society's standards. I'd say 'average looking' at most, but I was 5'10 and 120 lbs when I got married. Twenty-two years and seven children later, I now weigh 195lbs. I'd like to shed about 20 of those, but my peri-menopausal body seems to be happy right where it is. 

I wear a size 14 and carry it well because of my height. I have never smoked or sunbathed, so I look younger than my 42 years. 

Why do I say this? Because at 42, I can look in the mirror -NAKED- and am content with what I see. My body has grown and nourished those 7 children. I don't have the body of a sweet young thing- I have the body of a woman. (Remember, too--our husbands no longer have the Adonis bodies WE married! :-) ) 

I look at myself- and despite the stretch marks from my chin to my knees and the extra weight- I am far happier with who I am and how I look than I was 20 years ago when I had the body many women try to have today. 

Last week I had someone new to our parish seek me out regarding the specific ministry I head. He was told to look for the beautiful tall (color of my hair)! I NEVER would have described myself as beautiful. 

I was joking about it with the parish secretary, she said that is how everyone described me when I first arrived at the parish- and everyone knew whom that meant. She said she knew I wouldn't describe myself like that, but.....HERE IS MY POINT>>>> it is a matter of HOW I present myself: she said I am obviously comfortable with myself and happy in what I am doing...and I radiate it. This lady who I consider exceedingly beautiful told me she thinks I am the most beautiful person she knows! I was floored. 

Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, whoever....I wouldn't want their physical beauty for ONE SINGLE SECOND if it meant sacrificing the contentment I have with the person I have grown to be and the beautiful daughter of God I have always been- whether or not I realized it! 

True beauty is within you, and you don't want any man who doesn't realize it! 

-- Anonymous