As little girls we spend time planning our fairy tale lives: our lavish weddings, our extravagant dream homes, the perfect husband (who will always be romantic) and the number of children we will have. What we don’t spend time planning is dealing with the stress of putting together a wedding, paying for our dream home, the unexpected hurts that come with marriage, or the days when all those wonderful children you planned walk in the door covered in mud and proceed to walk all over the floor you just mopped.
We anticipate the pleasure, not the pain.
The same goes with dealing with pregnancy and body image issues. No one expects to worry about the way their body looks during the nine months of carrying the little miracle. But, it happens.
With our first son I gained about 25 pounds and then lost it the first month after having him. At 23 I had the metabolism of, well, a 23 year old! Three years later I gained 50 pounds with our second son. Now, four pregnancies later, I think some fragment of that 50 pounds never left. But it wasn’t just the weight that changed. The hidden struggle that lurked beneath the weight reared its ugly head as I began “weighing-in” every morning.
During all those years in the “perfect” size with the “perfect” weight (according to my calculations), I never considered that I had an issue. Sure, I ran 5 miles a day and ate Ramen every night for dinner but I was tiny, so it was worth it. That’s what everyone else did, so it had to be normal. Right?
Years later, while experiencing the biggest miracles of my life, I discovered that being small had given me a certain sense of control. I grew up in a very out of control environment so I am very good at finding things to control. Somewhere in my heart I believe, “If I can control this one thing, everything will be okay.”
But you know what you can’t control? An 8 1/2 pound baby boy who is so long that he is breech and cannot find a way to turn.
You can do all the things to change it on your own. . . go to the chiropractor, lay upside down with headphones at the bottom of your belly, and have the doctor manually try to turn your baby (I highly DO NOT recommend this very painful route). However, you can’t control God’s plans and if God wants you to have a C-section with that little guy, then that is what is going to happen. If God allows you the pleasure of craving Haribo gummy bears throughout every pregnancy, you will. If God wants you to gain 40-60 pounds per baby, guess what? You will!
A couple months ago, my husband and I got a little surprise in the form of a positive pregnancy test. At first I was excited! We hadn’t decided yet if we were going to have another baby (another thing I always think is in my control but never is) and if you know me, I always get excited when God surprises me with good news!
But then, pretty quickly, my hidden struggle returned.
“You just lost 15 pounds, you can’t have a baby now, you will gain it all back.”
“You will never lose the weight now that you are pregnant again.”
“What if my husband never gets the body of the person he married back?” (Which by the way…NEWSFLASH…He is never going to get that body back, we should probably logically drop that one!)
A couple weeks ago I felt like I heard that still small voice say, “Didn’t you ask me for this baby? Wasn’t there a time not so long ago when you prayed for another child?”
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28
And as tears filled my eyes, I said, “Yes Lord, yes I did.”
He responded, “Then why are you doing this to yourself dear one? I don’t feel this way about you.”
I’m trying my very best to embrace this larger me and remember that He is creating life inside of me. . .LIFE! There is a life inside of me that He will bring forth that I will know and love and adore and teach about Him. That’s far more important than what that box on the floor with all the fluctuating numbers says every morning.
Life is worth the weight.
If you struggle like I do, I hope you’ll spend some time thinking today about how much He loves you. All those negative thoughts in your head, He doesn’t have them. He loves you and wants you to know that love in a REAL and TANGIBLE way.