Are you pregnant?
Uh, yes, I am.
Oh no! Don’t you know you’re going to lose your figure? You’ve worked so hard on it. And you’re going to lose it. What a shame!
This is a snapshot of a REAL conversation that I had a few weeks ago at the YMCA. Instead of congratulating me on the miracle that is taking place within me, on something I had been praying about and working toward for nearly a year, another woman who is a mother decided to attack the changes my body is and will continue to go through. Come on, sister, really?!
With every passing day, I become more and more amazed at how my body is changing. Dresses and jeans that fit two weeks ago no longer make the cut. And 98% of the time, I'm totally cool with it.
My baby bump is certainly pushing out and making itself known to the world. And instead of feeling proud of the decision I am making to bring a life into the world and sacrifice my body for a little while for the sake of another, someone decided to value physical beauty over the the beauty growing in my heart and the beauty of life within me.
Now do I wake up every day delighted that my pants and dresses aren’t fitting anymore? Nope. It can be pretty darn frustrating and even put me in a sour mood.
Just two weeks ago I went to put on a button up that I could still button, except that my once plain-like chest was trying to burst out of that poor checkered J.Crew shirt…while I should be always excited and proud about the changes my body is undergoing, it’s sometimes difficult to see the beauty in my growing body.
After all, we all know the pressure that is put upon us- women and men, y’all- to look a certain way.
Pregnancy bodies, I’m discovering, are not immune to the these pressures. And I constantly must tell myself as I put away yet another pair of jeans into the back of my closet- “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Weight gain is an absolute necessity of a healthy pregnancy. In order to sustain the pregnancy and ensure nutrient absorption (especially healthy brain development), women must gain weight during their pregnancies. Depending on your starting size, anywhere between 25-40 pounds can still be healthy.
With every passing day, especially now that I’m showing more, people comment more about my growing bump and its size. In no way, shape, or form do I take offense to it, nor am I bothered by people wanting to touch my bump.
However, it is also hard to ignore the fact of how greatly people notice our outward appearances- whether they are in a phase of growing or shrinking.
In our society and culture, we are so quick to look at others and make snap judgments, both positive and negative ones, based on what we see. To some, they see my growing bump and may celebrate the life within me. Others frown upon the idea of me wanting to trade my fit physique for one a little squishier that is destined to nurture and deliver another life into this world.
We quickly look at people who are fit or skinny and think about how disciplined they must be or how they must never really eat in order to look that way.
Conversely, we look at people who are overweight or obese and may think how lazy and undisciplined they are to let their bodies reach that state or how miserable they must be at that size.
Whether we like it or not, we look at others and judge. This includes ourselves, y'all.
Yet, when God looks at us, He only looks at our hearts.
When He looks at you, what does He see? Does He see a heart that is calloused, hardened, damaged, and in need of some repair? Or does He see one that is constantly growing stronger and in beauty as it becomes more forgiving and kind and gentle?
1 Samuel 16:7 shares, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
As I carry through my second trimester, I know I will continue to gain weight. However, my hormone levels have leveled out, so cravings are minimal as I feel more and more like myself. My body is, after all, God’s temple. Pregnancy is not a time to throw all caution to the wind in terms of nutrition and lifestyle and become a regular at Taco Bell. No, I will continue to treat my body and my son with respect, making nutritious choices so we can both feel and perform our best over the next few months.
Maybe today or this past weekend you had a moment when you either judged your own outward appearance or the appearance of others. I know it is a struggle of mine, both self-judgement and judgement of others. It is certainly something I pray about daily. I also ask God to work in my heart, to grow my heart, to strengthen me against the pulls of the world that try to get me to conform to its mold.
With this said, how gratifying and beautiful that we have a God that places preeminent value on the state of our hearts instead of the size of our pants?!
When you are having one of those days when you’re having a hard time loving yourself, internal and external flaws and all, remember God values your heart, and He knit you together to be exactly who you are at that very moment. Maybe you’re a little short, maybe you’ve got chubby ankles, maybe you have an awkwardly long torso…we can all easily point see the flaws of our physical appearance, but can we see the flaws of our hearts?
As I come closer to motherhood, more than praying for my body’s recovery after giving birth, I am praying for preparing my heart to handle the nurturing and selflessness and wisdom that are necessary for the job at hand. During this period of waiting, I’m asking God to scrape away all of the gunk in my heart so I may be a stronger, more faithful mother and wife when I bring this boy into the world come March.
As you go about your day today, instead of looking into the mirror and only seeing your physical appearance, try looking deeper at yourself. Are there areas of your heart that are in need of a makeover? Are there wrinkles and cankles and pooches on your heart? Of course there are- we’re all human after all.
What’s important is that you ask God to reveal these blemishes to you and to provide you with a spiritual microdermabrasion. Trust me, just ask and you’ll be amazed what He can scrape off.
You are beautiful. You are valued. You are loved. Have a joyous day, and I'll see ya tomorrow for Pumpkin Tuesday!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!