Why This Nervous Mom Wore a Bikini to Her Toddler's First Swim Class


pcos_support_girl/Instagram

Before Shelby Eckard's toddler had her first swim lessons, this South Carolina mom decided to share the truth about this small milestone: It was her fault that Amelia hadn't started lessons two years earlier. Now that her little girl is 3 years old, Shelby is ready to admit that her fear of getting in a pool in front of others while wearing a bathing suit won, and she just couldn't get herself to sign up for the baby swim classes.

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But now Shelby (who also goes by PCOS Support Girl online) refuses to let her fears impact her daughter's life experiences, and she is pushing herself outside of her comfort zone and into the pool -- complete in matching bikinis.

"I'm actively trying to be brave and get over stupid freaking anxiety issues," Shelby wrote on Instagram. "I know damn well she, at 3, cares more about playing with glitter and dolls and in the mud with her brother than what her mom wears."

mom getting over fear of bikini
pcos_support_girl/Instagram

Shelby realizes that her daughter is smart and isn't just watching her mom but also learning from everything she does. "She's a little spitfire. She says what she thinks. She is brave and bold and stands up for herself," Shelby wrote. "She tells me all the time how pretty she is and how strong she is. And I want to be like her."

However, that still didn't mean that Shelby wanted to show up to the pool in a swimsuit -- let alone in a bikini -- but her daughter pushed this unsure mom to be a strong example of body-positivity. "Today, as we talked about swim class tomorrow, she said, 'I want a bikini,'" Shelby recounted. "And off we went to Target. She picked hers out, all on her own. Then she said, 'Your turn.'"

A knot instantly formed in Shelby's stomach as she told her innocent child, "Oh, mommy can't wear a bikini to swim class, boo." But this determined little girl wasn't taking no for an answer. "She looked up from the cart and asked, 'but why?'"

More from CafeMom: 5-Year-Old Girl Expertly Shuts Down a Classmate Who Called Her Fat

Amelia's simple question made Shelby pause and consider her stance for the first time. "Seriously though, why couldn't I? I could. I just felt uncomfortable. Observed. Exposed. A bit like I'd embarrass her," she wrote. "But all of those sounded selfish in the moment, so I said, 'You know what? You're right. Let's get mommy a bikini.'" 

The pair picked out matching ensembles, and not just for the adorable photo ops, but also because Shelby realized the important example she was setting. "Because she is learning, every day, from me just how to view her OWN body," she wrote. "I don't want to teach her to put limitations on what clothes she can wear or to worry about what others will think." 

mom and daughter making funny faces
pcos_support_girl/Instagram

If nothing else, Shelby hopes that Amelia grows up with a different perception of body image than she did and instead views her body as unique, wonderful, and something to always treat kindly. "I want her to always stay the brave, bold blonde little girl who knows exactly what she wants and exactly how beautiful and strong she is. The same little girl I used to be, before life and society taught me I shouldn't be ..."

So after that major realization in Target, the pair left with their swimsuits, excited to look like mermaids the following day during class, and proudly prepared to take on the pool, "like the brave, bold, beautiful blondes we are," Shelby wrote.

Shelby hopes that her little girl's bright smile as she rocks her pool attire serves as a "gentle" reminder to all moms. "We are their mirror and they learn from us," Shelby tells CafeMom. "Maybe one less mom will poke and pull at herself in the mirror or discuss diets and weight equated to worth in the home. We are their mirrors and I want to be a reflection of a strong, confident, worthy woman, muffin top and all."

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