Friday, November 12, 2010



With the birth of my daughter, I received the gift of seeing my child’s nakedness.  There was no shyness, no awkwardness, not even a thought this would change.
Nicole was only a day old when I removed her blanket, booties, diaper and t-shirt and saw her bare little body for the first time.  To say I was awestruck would be an understatement.  I stared at her round tummy, miniature fingers and toes, and a grotesque-looking belly button that had sustained her life for nine months, plus two extra weeks.

I ran my fingers along the curve of her neck, palmed the top of her head, and lifted each tiny foot.  I cradled her in my arms and placed her into her bath, testing the water temperature first with my elbow.   I placed my hand on her chest to comfort her as I wiped the pink terrycloth washcloth over this miracle of life.  Then I wrapped her in a yellow hooded towel and held her to my chest, inhaling the smell of her.

As she grew into her toddler years, her baths became adventures, not just a time to get clean.  And I continued to have the privilege of seeing her nakedness, sometimes as she ran through the house dripping wet and giggling, with me chasing after her with a fluffy towel.

At family picnics, she would go swimming with her cousins and all of them, the boys and the girls, would be bare from the waist up.  There was no shyness, just a child’s innocence and pure enjoyment of the water and other children to play with. 

The years went by and one day, as we were shopping for school clothes, Nicole wouldn’t permit me into the dressing room with her.  I sat on the stool outside the curtained area, tears filling my eyes, acknowledging that one of the gifts I had been given at her birth, she had taken away.  I felt the pangs of being shut out and although I understood the reasons for her shyness, I felt denied. 

I watched as her body began to change into adolescence, but saw it only through the cloak of shirts, jeans or dresses.  We went together to buy her first bra, an intimate passage between a mother and daughter.  She allowed me in the room when she tried it on, but kept her back towards me as I shared directions on how to put it on.

“Put it on backwards, hook it in front and then spin it around,” I said, longing to help her adjust the straps or make sure the fit was good.  She gave me the privilege of seeing it on her body, but only for a moment before she whipped her t-shirt over her head.  Not long enough for a mother to truly take in the beauty of her daughter’s changing shape.

And now she is this 24-year-old woman standing in my bathroom, arm reaching out of the shower to grab a towel.  The opaque glass of the shower door gives me a glimpse of the body that I protected for all these many years with care and joy, and for that, I am grateful.


I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder by Chynna Laird. The book is a memoir of a mother fighting for a diagnosis when countless doctor's told her that her daughter was just "spirited". Chynna shares the heartbreaking reality of mothering a child with a severe "No touch" rule. She calls it "Mothering without touch." Although Not Just Spirited is the perfect match
for parents of children with SPD, the determination and victories shown in the book
will encourage anyone parenting a child with special needs or working to overcome an obstacle in their own life.

Chynna has also written a children's book, I'm Not Weird, and resource book about SPD, At-Home Strategies for Managing Sensory Processing Disorder: A Guide for Parents .

She is now working on another book White Elephants. When not writing, Chynna is a mom to her three young children and a student working on her BA in Psychology.

And now the exciting news, if you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Not Just Spirited.

To read Chynna's post about parenting and a list of other blogs participating in Chynna's Blanket Tour visit The Muffin .  Chynna's website is


Linda said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I have four daughters. At some point in time, they all went through this form of modesty. I was heart broken.

Good news, though, once they had children, they are back to being the carefree girls I once knew.

~Tricia said...

Linda - I think it is going to be awhile before my kids start having children, but it is nice to know that the carefree girl will be back.


fortysomethingfirsttimemum said...

This post also brought tears to my eyes. When you ere describing how you were with her as a baby and toddler, I could see myself with my son. I know sons are different but I can still understand. You are a wonderful writer by the way and I love Reading your stuff.

~Tricia said...

Claire - Thank you so much. I have a son also, so I know what you mean.