Pregnancy is a gift. I’ve reminded myself of that more than a few times during this pregnancy. The thing is, I have had a wonderful pregnancy thus far. When I get asked how I’m feeling this time around, I can without hesitation answer “great!” because I really do feel good. Sleep has been amazing, I don’t have any major aches and pains and our pregnancy has been very uneventful. I’ve also been able to stay active, much more so than last time, and sometimes I’ll even remark to Joe that I have days where I forget I’m pregnant. I think that’s saying something at 33 weeks along!
But I would be remiss if I said that pregnancy has been easy on me mentally. The truth is, gaining weight, even during pregnancy and with good reason, is hard when you’ve ever struggled with body image. I’ve had more than a couple moments I don’t look too fondly upon during this pregnancy, tears and fears about ever feeling or looking myself again. It’s a little puzzling to me since I’ve done this once before, but none the less the fears and false beliefs are something I’ve had to come face to face with. I don’t share this to get encouragement or to gain sympathies, but rather to encourage other women out there who may be feeling the same way.
It’s hard to see your body change. It’s a mental game to see the number on the scale tick up at each appointment, feeling both thankful for your body’s ability to make room for a new life while also feeling fearful. Perhaps you’re like me and you’re not one of those people who gains 25 pounds during pregnancy. Maybe you eat really healthy and are dedicated to your workouts and you’re still staring at a 30+ pound weight gain with weeks to go. Or maybe it’s not the number on the scale at all but just feeling generally uncomfortable in your skin and unlike your former self.
It’s okay. It’s okay to feel those feelings and also feel so thankful you could cry.
And once you have that baby and see what you have to “work with” to get back in shape after baby? Let’s agree to have grace for our postpartum bodies, too. I can’t say I’ll be breakdown-free for the next seven weeks, or the six months following. We’re only human, right? But you better believe I’ll take each one of those breakdown moments and use it as an opportunity to exercise thankfulness….
Lord, thank you for the opportunity and gift to carry this baby. Thank you for a body that is capable and for the advancements in medicine that have made this pregnancy possible. Thank you for a healthy little girl and her older sister, too. Thank you for allowing us as women to experience pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum phase of life. Please give me the wisdom and perspective to appreciate this temporary stage of life and embrace all it has to offer while looking forward to the future, too.