EVERY day telly host Cherry Healey showers herself with compliments in front of daughter Coco, who turns 13 next month.
It’s something she’s been doing for more than a decade after realising she was running the risk of passing on her own deep-rooted anxieties about her body to her children.
TV host Cherry Healey has been talking to her pre-teen daughter about sex for more than a decade InstagramCherry was 28 when she gave birth to daughter Coco[/caption]
Cherry was 28 when she gave birth to Coco in 2009 and quickly realised she would have to change her ways.
She says: “I realised I suffered from a lot of insecurities about my body and I was in danger of passing them on.
“Kids are like sponges and soak up their parents’ behaviour.
“So I try, and sometimes fail, to always make a point of demonstrating what it is to appreciate yourself.
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“One of my tricks is to say nice things about myself in front of my daughter.
“If I’m wearing an outfit I like, I’ll say, ‘I look really good in this, I love this outfit, this really flatters me’.
“Or I’ll get back from work and I’ll say, ‘I did a really good job at work today. I was really energetic. I listened really carefully’.
“It’s had a really positive effect on my own self-esteem. Women should be openly complimentary of themselves and each other.”
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Cherry is not alone when it comes to this trend. A-listers like Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey have spoken about their belief in the power of affirmations.
Cherry, now 41, believes others should follow in their footsteps.
She says: “Women have inherited a sense of shame about their bodies. If their bodies bleed, there’s shame around that. If their bodies are not perfect to look at, that’s shame too.
“Shame and women’s bodies go hand in hand. It’s nonsense.
“Women are magical and shame has been an effective way of controlling us by diminishing our confidence. But women are tired of feeling shame around the miraculous bodies we have. Things are changing. Education and sharing stories are smashing that shame into pieces.”
Cherry is now looking at some of these issues affecting women’s bodies in her new Channel 5 show Women’s Health: Breaking The Taboo.
But at home she says she is a real “oversharer” with Coco because she wants to arm her with the knowledge she needs as a young woman.
She says: “From a very young age I’ve talked about periods and the dynamic between a man and woman.
“It’s excruciating for her. But the younger you start it, the less weird it is — because if you never talk about anything like that, then suddenly have a conversation about periods when they’re 12, I think it’s very jarring.”
InstagramCherry says she is a real ‘oversharer’ with Coco[/caption]
One of the topics Cherry looks at in her series is how changing hormones can shape the way alcohol affects women.
She says: “I’ve noticed since turning 40 that alcohol makes me really anxious. Having spoken to lots of women my age, that is a shared experience.
“It feels like as our hormones change we process alcohol differently, and not for the better.”
In the documentary series, screened daily this week at 7pm, Cherry also tackles incontinence, fibroids and the menopause.
She says: “This show is one of the most amazing opportunities, because every time a woman is made aware of the symptoms of something like the menopause, that’s one less woman who’s going to suffer in silence.
“A lot of women become seriously ill from gynaecological cancers because they are nervous about saying the words ‘vagina’ or ‘vulva’ in a doctor’s office.
“But every time you hear some-one say those words with confidence and power, it becomes easier for others to say it.”
‘Sense of shame’
While things are starting to improve for women’s health, when it comes to parenting there is one other big worry for Cherry, who is also mum to Edward, eight.
She says: “The younger generation are lucky to be walking into a much more open arena nowadays, but what do I worry about for Coco?
“I worry how addictive social media is. I worry about how it encourages comparison.”
For now, Cherry, who is in a long-term relationship, is excited to be part of a movement raising awareness about women’s health issues.
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She says of her Channel 5 documentaries: “I feel so privileged. We wanted it to be packed with information, to be a celebration. We wanted to get fantastic women to tell their stories openly.
“To be part of helping women to feel better is what helps me sleep.”
- Women’s Health: Breaking The Taboos, daily on Channel 5, 7pm, until Friday.