Ugh. I already feel a little weird bringing up this […]
Ugh. I already feel a little weird bringing up this topic because I do not want to put negativity out there regarding pregnancy. Too many women have problems associated with fertility, so let me preface my perceived “complaints” as actual barriers I walked through this week. I do not desire to trivialize either side, but what we go through during the growth process is real.
Growth is the operative word here—lots of growing. This week I had to stare the bad side of body image straight in the face, and it wasn’t good to me.
Talking about negative body image is not something I like to do, but I wanted to address it because it’s so incredibly relatable for women—especially when you’re pregnant and simply not in control of everything happening (a bowing rib cage, expanding hips, swollen chest, ankles, etc.). Try as we might, the body still adjusts, and those adjustments usually involve going outward. Praise God for creating our bodies perfectly to fit a baby during each stage of life! However, it can still hurt the ego from time to time. Matt encouraged me to share this in my weekly post as a way of using it for positive change. There is no shortage of articles with women sharing feelings of inadequacy due to weight gain and body change. I had to realize this week that we all go through it. I’m on this ride for another three months and some change, so embracing my body as of today is important!
In the world we live in, it’s easy to find a million examples of someone living out the more glamorous side of any given stage in life—glamour in the day-to-day, glamour in relationships and marriage, glamorous pregnancy and glamorous motherhood. It’s just so prevalent that I forget it’s not normal. It’s easy to want it to be your normal and feel threatened when it seems like too much work to keep up. I want to feel and look great, but the reality is sometimes I don’t. In the moments I do feel great, there is pressure to capture the good and further perpetuate the system of glamorizing pregnancy. However, once I was confronted with the bad, I learned how to take the good and the bad from this situation.
I can only imagine the grace one must have throughout motherhood, so it makes sense we learn to start during pregnancy: grace with your body, grace with your emotional state of mind, the belief both will return to normal one day and grace with feeling badly for yourself now and then. It really is going to be OK!
I don’t write this to provide an inspirational message of loving yourself, but simply to offer another post about another woman letting everyone know she’s been there, too. Like I said, we all go through it. Before anyone objects to the notion of struggling to embrace a pregnant body, let me say I believe you can be grateful for your body’s ability to grow your child and still deal with feelings of inadequacy. I want to put a stop to the stigma of women being selfish or self-obsessed for desiring a certain standard while pregnant. It doesn’t mean she is more concerned with herself than her baby—it means she is still in a relationship with the same body she had before starting to grow another human. Like all other relationships, that too, is changing and requires adjustment.
I’m learning so much about myself I hope to remember and apply to my next pregnancy. Like birth and the first few weeks of no sleep, I’m sure the bodily woes of weight gain and change drift far from memory upon the arrival of a baby. If nothing else, this difficult week is something I can help her through when it’s her turn. How blessed I will be if she finds me relatable and looks to me for guidance. The thought of this already makes me smile. Thanks to all the ladies out there who have gone before me in sharing this feeling—we all need one another! We all go through it!