Battling with Self Image
Warning: I am about to get real. I’m going to share my most current struggle with you right now, in the hopes that maybe I’m not alone and maybe you can be encouraged.
This picture was taken this morning. It’s me, 28 weeks pregnant with my third boy. And as far as I know, I don’t have gestational diabetes. You might look at this picture and think, “Aw, what a cute belly.” But 28 weeks means that I still have about 2 1/2 months of growing to go. Everyone, and I do mean just about everyone, that asks me my due date follows my response with, “Wow, you’re big” or they simply look in shock. And, oh, does that make me feel so great about myself.
Each pregnancy I’ve had, I have struggled with my weight. For my first, I gained 50 pounds–a number I am not proud of, to give birth to an 8 pound 1 ounce baby. I am thankful that with nursing and God’s grace, I was able to lose all that weight and a little bit more. For my second pregnancy, I did a bit better, gaining 38 pounds to produce a 9 pound 1 ounce baby. This time around, I have already gained 31 pounds, and I’m nervous.
I’m nervous that I will have a super large child. I am nervous that somehow this time I will have gestational diabetes and be the cause of a large child. I am nervous because I feel that I don’t abuse food, and I am reluctant to change my lifestyle. And on top of that, I just don’t feel good about myself.
I don’t want the first adjective people think of when they think of me to be “big.” I want to be beautiful. And I just don’t feel it right now. Even as I type this, I know my feelings are just that, feelings, but, man, are they hard to squelch on a day to day, minute by minute basis.
And so I cried out to God after a midwife appointment where I had to report my weight and was thus “scolded” for where I was. (I say scolded because that’s how I felt, but probably in reality, she was very kind and just wanted to let me know about possible risks and wanted to help.) And God showed up for me. In the Bible study that I didn’t even feel like doing. I read 2 Corinthians chapter 4, and these verses in particular stood out to me:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
And oh, were those the words I needed to hear. I do not need to lose heart. Things might be bad for my body right now. Things feel like they are breaking, literally, sometimes, but it’s temporary. My focus doesn’t need to be on what I see or what someone else might see in me. My focus needs to be on my Maker. The One who sees me as a beautiful creation of His. The One who delights in my smile. The One who has blessed me with this child in the first place. How can I feel downcast when these are the truths I choose to focus on? I can’t.
Now I can’t pretend that I’ve got it all figured out and that I’m “better.” But I’m working on it. I have decided to commit those verses to memory so that when I get a comment about my size, I can let it roll off me. I will not lose heart.