Contributed by: TAPSS Counselors – Ja’Nai Barber, BS, Meghan Wallace, LMSW, & the members of Motherhood (a weekly gathering of young mothers served by SPCC’s Teen Age Parent Support Services program)
Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you’ll never know me
It’s as if I play my part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
Credit: Lyrics by Christina Aguilera (Reflections)
On January 23, 2020 in our Motherhood group we participated in an activity that challenged young moms to “look in the mirror”. The very words from the song above mirror many of the reflections that were shared. Below is a summary of what took place and some of the thoughts expressed by young mothers from this group.
Activity instructions were as follows:
Pick up a blank mirror and a dry erase marker and look at what’s looking at you.
Don’t stop the thoughts flowing through your mind, let them flow.
Now place the mirror back down.
Pick the mirror back up.
Are those thoughts the same or have they changed?
Place the mirror back down.
Now pick the mirror back up and write at least 5 compliments to yourself. (Maybe you’d like to write a letter to yourself)
Once you feel complete, place the mirror back down.
When prompted to do so, pick the mirror back up and this time read what you wrote to yourself in your head.
Place the mirror back down.
Now pick the mirror back up and each time you pick it up read what you wrote to yourself confidently.
Here are some of the things that the moms wrote on their mirrors:
“I like my eyes”
“I’m not comfortable”
“Never let anyone get in the way”
“You’re so kind”
“You’re strong, beautiful”
“You never back down from nothing”
“I have a good heart”
“I am a great mother”
“Keep going, don’t ever stop”
The girls were asked the following week, what would you want your child to say when he or she looks in the mirror? Here were some of the things the moms shared:
“I look up to my mom”
“I am beautiful”
“I am strong”
“She’s the best mom in the world.”
“My mama made me this way.”
“My mom raised us by ourselves”
“I hope she’s more successful than me.”
“I’m gonna walk across that stage and make it.”
The girls were also asked what it was like to do this activity. One shared that it was uncomfortable looking at the mirror – that it was difficult to say aloud the words that she had written as it was easier to write the words than truly believe them about herself. Another one of the young moms said that it was empowering. Each mom took home the mirror and some shared that they could do this exercise at home to encourage themselves.
As the facilitators of the Motherhood group, this exercise was a powerful one to facilitate and it was truly touching to see the conversations that resulted between the young moms after completing the activity and the thoughts they had about how they would want their own children to look at themselves.
We leave you with this encouragement: Look deeply at yourself and reflect on who you were, who you are, and who you hope to continue to become, and the legacy that you are leaving to the generation behind you.