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What is 'body grief'? Women share what it's like to mourn their former selves.

Watching our bodies change is a natural part of life. But we rarely talk about the complicated feelings that come from that.

body grief
@aleahelizabeth/TikTok,@sami.rose/TikTok

We've all been through it.

It was only yesterday when a friend and I (two women in the 30-to-40-year-old range) were having a conversation, and this friend made more than one wistful comment about being “skinny and sexy” once upon a time.

Her self deprecating jokes were so casual and nonchalant that actual sadness underneath was almost unnoticeable. Almost.

Except I did notice it, because I have it too. That same sense of unease at being a different size that my former younger self. I have it, my friend has it, and nearly every adult woman has it to some degree.

Now we even have a name for it—”body grief.


Author Jayne Mattingly, who first coined the term, defines body grief as “the universal experience of disillusionment, sorrow, and loss that comes with simply existing in a body.”

Body grief basically sums up all the anger, loss, frustration, sorrow, and general sense of mourning that so many women feel from the “loss” of their former body, and the former self it represents.

@jayneimattingly Replying to @olivepfox i am so happy you are here!!! #bodygrief #disabledtiktok #bodygriever #disabledhumour ♬ original sound - Jayne Mattingly

Body grief can manifest in a myriad of ways—growing older, having children, chronic illness or injury, disability, reactions to medications, huge life changes, trauma, stress. And while it often denotes weight gain, plenty of women who lose a lot of weight can feel body grief too.

Sami Rose, an Australian-based counselor and body image coach, spoke about her own challenges with body grief, especially after reaching her goal weight, then gaining the weight back.

“I’d spent all of my teens and all of my 20s having this number in my head, and this body in my head, that I thought was gonna solve all of my problems,” she said.

@sami.rose_ Replying to @eneesece letting go of the thin ideal can be really difficult, and its okay to miss your old body or old life, but i hope this strategy helps shift your perspective 💖 #bodyacceptance #bodygrief #bodyimagecounsellor #counsellor #bodyimagecoach ♬ original sound - Sami Rose • Counsellor + Coach

After losing about 55 pounds, getting all the compliments from her friends, even being told that her abs were “goals,” Rose was still left with the same insecurities. For her, body grief meant “letting go of the thin ideal” and “griev[ing] the notion of what a good body meant to me.”

Rose’s experience is not uncommon. Countless women are sharing their stories of body grief in a new TikTok trend titled #bodygrief, which has reached nearly 880,000 views.

Women like Aleah Elizabeth, who went from being “super skinny” most of her life to gaining 60-70 pounds after taking birth control.

@aleahhelizabeth Its hard ass thing to go through #gainingweight #beingskinny #fy ♬ original sound - aleahelizabeth💗

“I thought I was gonna be a happy girl because the boys like girls who are thick,” she said. “But as I kept gaining the weight, I literally hated my body more and more and more…And then you gain so much weight and everybody around you notices it and talks about it, and then starts to make you feel bad about it. It is the worst thing I think I ever went through in my life.”

Or Eliana Hope, who, two months into postpartum, cried in an REI store after realizing “the body that used to take me up mountain trails is now stretched and loose in all the places it used to be strong.”

@thesamfamm 2 months PP and feeling like it today… Outdoorsy moms, tell me it gets better? #outdoorsymom #nationalparks #rei #parksproject #newmom #youngmoms #bodygrief #postpartumbody #bodyimagestruggles #bodyafterbabies #hikinggirl #girlswhohike @rei @thesamfamm ♬ Into the wild - Cartwright

Honestly, the list goes on and on.

@olivepfox Some thoughts on body grief and reconciling disability #crps #crpsawareness #complexregionalpainsyndrome #crpswarrior #chronicpain #disabled ♬ original sound - olive fox

And just what are we supposed to do about this body grief? For starters, Rose suggests writing down a list of all the things you appreciate about yourself that are completely unrelated to your body.

“I think that can be really special in just rebuilding your identity and proving to yourself that you’re more than just a body,” she says. “That your appearance is a part of you, but it’s not the most important part of you.”

But also, like with all forms of grief, sometimes sharing what you’re going through in a safe space with other people who have been through it, or are going through it too, really helps you process those difficult feelings. And that’s why this TikTok movement is so important. No one should have to go through it alone.

"The Carol Burnett Show" had one of the funniest outtakes in TV history.

"The Carol Burnett Show" ran from 1967 to 1978 and has been touted as one of the best television series of all time. The cast and guest stars of the show included comedic greats such as Tim Conway, Betty White, Steve Martin, Vicki Lawrence, Dick Van Dyke, Lyle Waggoner, Harvey Korman and others who went on to have long, successful comedy careers.

One firm rule Carol Burnett had on her show was that the actors stay in character. She felt it was especially important not to break character during the "Family" scenes, in which the characters Ed and Eunice Higgins (a married couple) and Mama (Eunice's mother) would play host to various colorful characters in their home.

"I never wanted to stop and do a retake, because I like our show to be ‘live,’" she wrote in her memoir, as reported by Showbiz Cheat Sheet. "So when the ‘Family’ sketches came along, I was adamant that we never break up in those scenes, because Eunice, Ed, and Mama were, in an odd way, sacred to me. They were real people in real situations, some of which were as sad and pitiful as they were funny, and I didn’t want any of us to break the fourth wall and be out of character.”

It was a noble goal, and one that went right out the window—with Burnett leading the way—in a "Family" sketch during the show's final season that ended with the entire cast rolling with laughter.

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More parents are taking 'teen-ternity leave' from work to support their teenage kids

Parenting through the teen years takes a lot more time and energy than people expect.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

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The Wilderness Society


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People are debating the merits of a 24-hour daycare and the discussion is eye-opening

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the need for this.

StableDiffusion

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Adventure Kids Playcare in Houston isn't actually open 24 hours a day but it does offer childcare up to 10:00pm during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In the video, the mom drops her daughter off and we hear the employee tell her they close at midnight. The mom later says she picked her daughter up at 11:55pm.

Reactions to the video rand the gamut from "24-hour daycares are a brilliant idea for parents who work odd shifts" to "Moms shouldn't be leaving their kids at a daycare late at night just so they can go out," sparking a fascinating and eye-opening discussion.

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