You are so Beautiful: Body Image through a Child’s Eyes. ~ Brooke Kochel

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Brooke Kochel

I don’t look in the mirror often. Not on my average, stay-at-home mom day, where I still wear Juicy Couture track pants like its 2007 and I repeat common phrases to my two-year-old in French 90 times a day.

I cook her organic food from scratch topped with flax seeds now stuck to my face, which I didn’t know because I don’t look in the mirror often.

Not on my average, work-at-home mom day, where PBS’s educational cartoons entertain my child with promises that local libraries are cool while my professional brain spreads intelligent love vibes about my new baby yoga mat around the world from my Mac. The 1,000 people that read my social media blitz yesterday had no idea I had green glue on my face and play dough in my hair from our frog art lesson.

It wasn’t until my first Skype episode with a friend in Indonesia last week, I saw what the woman behind the curtain really looked like! It’s times like those you wish “Get eyebrows waxed” had come before “Create bendibaby yoga mat Board on Pinterest”.

Don’t get me wrong. I love myself and my body. I’m a yogini after all. That’s what we do. But there is a point on your path when vanity takes a backseat.

There’s a sticker above the entrance to my yoga studio, “Check Ego Here.” It’s a common theme in yoga philosophy to let go of your ego, your pride, and just be your true self to live a richer life. This is a painful test with the abundance of mirrors in yoga studios. A place you’re expected to look at yourself (and no one else for that matter) clad in tight black pants at the most!

Brooke Kochel

There’s also a point in plain ole’ motherhood, when you realize, somethings gotta give! Criticizers, obviously men or idealist young women who haven’t had their heart yet blown open by a child’s soulful presence, call it “letting yourself go”.  Maybe they’re on to something. That is exactly what it is. You wildly abandon your ego in favor of unconditional love of another.

There could be mindfulness in it all that brings balance. If the mother makes conscious choices in her love and brings a living awareness to the art of a 24-hour-a–day career, then maybe we can bring the mirrors back into our lives.

We can love what we see when the whole tribe looks in, not just the perfect skin of the baby.

As my little girl grows, she’s becoming my best friend. And in classic best friend fashion, she tells me the truth. She has no problem pointing out my skin blemishes and announcing I have a boo-boo.

Yesterday, she said something that made me gasp. It was as if I were hearing it for the first time. I actually think it was the first time my heart truly heard it and believed it.

She took my glasses off, looked me dead in the eyes and said slowly, annunciating every word, “You. Are. So. Beautiful. Mama.” She through her arms around me and breathlessly held me so tight. I was witnessing first hand in another human being those moments of pure love and beauty that take your breath away.

And this time, I was the pure love and beauty.


Edited by Hayley Samuelson


Brooke Kochel is a passionate student of Shiva Rea. Her baby yoga mat, bendibaby, debuts this summer. I’m a lover of two soul mates: husband and babe.  Jet-setting citizen of the world, foodie and cultural junkie: I’ll try anything twice. She is currently on a farm in Arkansas living off wild game, fish and fowl. Rantings of her satisfied soul can be found on her blog, YogastronomyFacebookPinterest & Twitter

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anonymous Apr 1, 2012 3:49pm

[…] works on us. Formula companies have been known to partner with and fund many companies that objectify our breasts as sex objects to subconsciously deter us from putting our baby’s mouths there. The most blatant I’ve seen are […]

anonymous Mar 24, 2012 7:33am

[…] […]

anonymous Mar 13, 2012 7:11pm

Reminding myself daily to keep it between the lines

anonymous Mar 11, 2012 6:07pm

Thank you for this post! I am struggling right now to be happy in my own skin. I never realized how important being thin was until it became a struggle (I am one year post-partum with my 3rd baby and still 20 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight). I cringle whenI see photos of myself or the reflection on Skype or in the yoga studio mirror. Actually, I can't even practice in a studio with mirrors because I cannot relax and just "be." Your post reminded me of whose opinion really matters, and that our kids' view of beauty has very little to do with outer appearance. I hope I can teach my daughter (and sons) to never lose that.

    anonymous Mar 12, 2012 1:42pm

    You're so welcome Amy! And thank you for sharing as well. I have a "sacred circle", just a small group of mamas that meet once a month to discuss "mindful" topics. We've done the topic of body image twice now. You're not alone. Most women in our society- especially post baby- struggle with this. I'm embarrassed to say how much I gained during pregnancy, but lets just say I stepped on the scales backwards so I didn't have to see. And I have no pictures of me and my baby during her first year of life b/c I was so uncomfortable. Find supportive moms you can have open conversations with. And give yourself the gift of one hour of yoga as often as you can. It was my lifeline! There are also many yoga workshops around the topic of "Shakit" or the divine feminine. My teacher Shiva Rea has one coming up in April. Much love to you today!!! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Good lord, any mama with three kiddos must have a beautiful (but probably tired!) soul!
    Love and LIght All Ways,
    Brooke Kochel

anonymous Mar 11, 2012 12:37pm

Love how honest our Children are!
~Christine M via Twitter

anonymous Mar 10, 2012 2:24pm

I am really touched by this article by my friend and yogini Brooke
~Lisa W. via Facebook

anonymous Mar 10, 2012 2:23pm

Thanks for sharing. This is one of the best benefits of being a Mom.
~Gretchen via Facebook

anonymous Mar 10, 2012 2:21pm

I love everything you write !!! Is this stupid, I'm 56 years old, and I look for anything I can find that you have written, ESP. Love : you are so beautiful through a child's eyes, love love love this:: keep writing !!!
~Sheila via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:41am

Agreed Jennifer. ♥ ♥ ♥ this! ~Mamaste
~Sharon P. via Elephant Family: Children & Parenting Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:40am

Fb really needs a "like 1000 times" button!
~Jennifer K. via Elephant Family: Children & Parenting Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:36am

Not just "like" this, "love" this!
~Jeanne A. via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:30am

This is fantastic!!! ♥ ♥ ♥
Prana Flow Yoga with Carole via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:27am

Love that Brooke!
Shae C via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:23am

Loooooooooooooove this!! Keep em coming! Makes other mommys feel good too! 😉
~Tosha M via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:22am

Keep on writing Brooke Arnold Kochel!!! Amazing!
~Susan Singer via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:21am

I need to tell you how much a enjoyed your recent article, which was one of the most sweetest thing ever and as mother I could perceive and remember some of those moments of pure love that you described so well..thanks to share such a thoughtful experience with us. Looking forward to reading more..:-)
~Deborah P via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:19am

This made me tear up a bit. I remember thinking the same thing about my moma. She was the most beautiful woman in the world.
~Leslie B. via Facebook

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 7:23am

This just made me cry. Beautiful. My 9 year old son said something similar to me, yesterday – out of the blue, and had a similar effect on me. I had just come downstairs from waking up, clad in my old flannel pajamas, hair standing up on end, no (gasp!) makeup on, circles under the eyes…he looked up calmly from his cereal bowl and in all seriousness said, "Good morning, Mama. You look so pretty in pink – I just love you." Purity of perspective comes with loving unconditionally. The key is to keep that perspective for a lifetime. Yoga certainly helps.
Lisa Flynn and

    anonymous Mar 9, 2012 11:34am

    Thanks for sharing Lisa! I strive to "Be Present" with her each day. No easy task, for sure! But the more I do, the more I learn, and the more love I find…
    Brooke Kochel

anonymous Mar 8, 2012 7:09pm

Happy International Women's Day to all of you wonderful women & mindful mama's out there! Enjoy 🙂
Brooke Kochel