This is the first post in a brand new series on pregnancy and body image! A few of our contributors will be chiming in over the next few weeks–sharing how pregnancy impacted them. For me (Heather) pregnancy was a mixed bag. Somedays, I felt like a whale and didn’t like it. Other days, I loved having a baby belly–it seemed like a worthy cause. We’d love to hear how YOU coped with your body image during pregnancy. Chime in below or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Here are Lauren’s thoughts on “When You Don’t Think Belly Shots are Cute”:

Body image is hard, and some seasons of life make dealing with body image even harder. Often, these seasons contain something big, like preparing for a certain birthday, wedding, or reunion. These out-of-the-norm situations can be even harder for us than our normal day-to-day body image struggles.

Pregnancy is one of those hard seasons for me. Before my first pregnancy almost five years ago, I felt like I had reached a good place with my body image. My husband and I realized that gaining weight while pregnant would probably be hard on me mentally, but I think we underestimated how much so.

My struggle in pregnancy is not only from the weight gain that someone so kindly tracks for you, it’s the ill-fitting clothes, the constant attention to your stomach from others, and the continual comments on size.

With my first pregnancy, my husband and I thought we would do those cute week-by-week belly shots. I don’t remember how many weeks in we made it with the pictures (and have honestly never cared to look back), but thankfully my husband realized having the pictures just wasn’t worth it compared to how much they would upset me, so we stopped taking them.

With my second pregnancy I think I took two pictures while pregnant, one being the morning I went to the hospital.pregnant woman profile

Currently, I am pregnant with our third baby, and yep, it’s still hard.

During this season I keep going back to my purpose and focus.

What is my God-given purpose during this time, and how does my body fit into the role He has given me?

I’ve found what works for me is focusing on my purpose as a mom caring for the two children God has given me and carrying the unborn child he has placed in my womb as well. Taking care of all three of these blessing includes eating well, exercising, and even gaining weight for this new baby (whether I like it or not).

If I’m not careful, all I see is the growing belly, weight gain and stretch marks, and the eternal weight of the role God has entrusted me with slips my mind. I don’t want to be so self-consumed I miss that.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 ESV

This applies to all of us, pregnant or not.

What is my purpose and where is my focus?

Am I seeking the things above even during this season?

Is my mind set on the things of heaven or earth?

Am I living like I have died to my old ways and am now hidden in Christ?

Is Christ my life?

Lauren D Head shot

Lauren Douglas is a wife and “Mommy” to 2 little ones. She enjoys reading, crafting, exercise, and coffee. She loves the freedom and grace she has found through Christ and prays that her home and life reflect that faith. Lauren blogs at Read Lauren’s posts here.