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LT: First off I am deeply honored to conduct this interview with you. Why did you write Beautiful Girl, your first children’s book?
CN: I have always liked working “upstream” long before health problems hit the body. That’s why I was attracted to obstetrics/gynecology in the first place. When a woman is pregnant, she’s very motivated to take care of her health. Her baby’s health will be affected by the choices she makes.
Likewise, research shows that most of the ideas and beliefs we have about ourselves and the world are firmly in place by the age of 11, possibly even younger. I want women and girls everywhere to know—deep in their bone marrow—that girls are born whole and perfect, and nothing can alter that. Though we can change at any age, wouldn’t it be better to have an imprint of
self-love firmly in place at a young age?
LT: What are some of the themes in the book that you are the most proud of?
CN: I am very proud of the beauty and the wonder of this book, the idea that our female bodies are connected with nature just like a garden. When you see the illustrations you will easily envision your beautiful girl’s face flushed with delight and wonder as she explores the pages with you.
LT: Even though this is a children’s book, I hear that women much older have had some surprising reactions to your book.
CN: Yes—and this has touched me deeply. Way back when the book was just in galley form, I showed it to my mother (age 87) and her best friend Anne (age 89). They were both VERY touched by it and its message. My mother said, “Boy—if only I had had a book like this when I was a little girl. It would have changed everything.” Another woman, my housekeeper, was in tears when she read the book. It spoke very deeply to the little girl inside her.
LT: How important is a women’s body image to her health?
CN: A woman’s body image is absolutely paramount to her health. In fact, studies have shown that those who think of themselves as healthy are indeed healthy—no matter what is really going on with their bodies. All health begins with how we perceive ourselves and our bodies.
When a little girl is brought up to accept, respect, and enjoy the processes and feelings in her female body, her health will be nourished and supported at the most basic level, including her immunity and hormonal balance. And she probably won’t have to spend years recovering from shame and female pain that has nothing to do with her—but which are too often the result of an adverse legacy passed down all too often in families.
LT: Some of our readers will be surprised to learn that you too have struggled with body image. Can you tell us a little about this?
When I was little, my parents and some family friends suggested that I was built like a MACK truck—that I was “solid.” Inside I had always wanted to be a dancer. But those early messages convinced me that I was too “thick” and too “fat” to ever be the lovely girl I really wanted to be. These messages stayed with me for years. And are finally going away. But really—why wait 50 plus years to heal something that never needs to be damaged in the first place!
LT: There is still so much violence against women and still so many places in the world where women and girls are still second class citizens. How do you make sense of this? What can we do as a society to further equality and to give women and girls more opportunities as well as safer environments in which to live and work?
CN: As Albert Einstein said, “Our problems will not be solved with the same thinking that created them.” So the pathway out of this gender inequality is, believe it or not, to begin with YOURSELF. And to stop any “war on” mentality. No more “War on Fat” or “War on Cancer” or war on ANYTHING. You can’t create a new world for others unless you’ve done the human homework of healing yourself. And as more and more individuals do this work, we naturally are drawn to like-minded people. Together—as a community of support and caring—we change the vibration that created the rape and abuse of that which is feminine in the first place and transform it into light and joy. And that—in many places and in many ways—is exactly what is happening on the planet right now! In men as well as women!One such movement is One Billion Rising [onebilliionrising.org], whose theme this year is Strike, Dance, and Rise.
LT: I’m such an advocate for women’s bodies especially when it comes to birth. Why is it so important to you to share Beautiful Girl with the birth community?
CN: That takes me right back to your first question. My entire career began with women and birth, pregnant women creating the immunity, bone structure, and emotions of the next generation in their own bodies. Working at the very headwaters of health. Our bodies and our cells remember life in the womb. This and the circumstances of our births and early childhoods leave an imprint that will affect us for life. Beautiful Girl assists women everywhere—whether mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or sisters—in loving themselves and their bodies, so that they will be whole and happy rather than the walking wounded. Nothing is more important than this work.
LT: Dr. Northup are there any final thoughts you’d like to share?
CN: Learning to love yourself should not become a life-long challenge that most of us never meet. Self-love is part of your birthright. I’m excited to be sharing this message to “beautiful girls” everywhere, including those disguised as grandmothers.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.
© Christiane Northrup, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Christiane Northrup, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn, is a visionary pioneer, beloved authority in women’s health and wellness, and the author of the ground breaking New York Times bestsellers Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. Following a 25-year career in both academic medicine and private practice, Dr. Northrup devotes her time to helping women truly flourish. Follow Dr. Christiane Northrup on Facebook, Twitter, at www.drnorthrup.com, and by listening to her weekly Hay House Internet radio show Flourish!