My Pregnancy Body & The Weight of True Beauty
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In the last few months of pregnancy, I realized how much value I had placed in having a “desirable” body type. I truly enjoyed the pre-pregnancy body I had, and I took for granted how easily I could get back into shape and move around with ease. I never had to worry about not fitting into my clothes, or trying on a million different outfits in the store just to find one that would be even remotely flattering on my body.
As I entered into my third trimester, various people (both friends and strangers) began to daily tell me how my face, hips, nose, cheeks, arms, legs, etc. were getting “chunky” and that I was “blowing up.” This came, of course, with a lot touching and squeezing of the newfound fat on my body…something I hadn’t experienced since I was two or three years old. I found myself ruminating over their words and looking at myself in the mirror with a sort of disgust. I didn’t like the stretch marks, the cellulite, the veins, the extra weight.
There were times that I also saw beauty in my body as I thought of how it is hosting a most precious thing: the life of my daughter. But I honestly had a hard time accepting the many changes in my body and the many comments from others that came with the miracle of carrying life. I felt mostly unattractive, and this came out in how I interacted with my husband and with others.
I kept trying to hide my body and downplay it before anyone else did, assuming all they could see was an ugly weight on me. I assumed my husband couldn’t possibly desire me in the same way he had before, and I hid away from him in various ways accordingly. All of this just revealed my heart of ingratitude toward the Lord; a heart that refused to value the beauty that actually matters to Him: “the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4).
For me to disdain the body God has given me in this season is to spit upon the brushstrokes of His masterpiece in my developing character. He is creating something more beautiful than my pre-pregnancy body: a heart that hopes in Him and exudes His truth, beauty, and goodness. Not to mention, He’s knitting together a completely new body and soul within me; one with a distinct purpose and calling…INSIDE OF ME. That’s mind-blowing.
And with my baby being a girl, I have the special privilege and responsibility to model for her a woman whose beauty is found in Christ, not in her ever-changing, fading body. I’ll want so desperately for her to not seek after the vanity of trying to find her worth in a physical beauty for which standards change constantly. Her beauty will be found in knowing and trusting God. Here’s my opportunity to believe that for myself first.
Plus, this new little human inside of me is someone I made with the person I love the most in this world, my husband. We get to taste in some measure the delight God felt when the joy He eternally had within Himself—Father, Son, and Spirit—spilled over into creation. On the sixth day, He made people in His image and called His creation “very good.” Jon and I get to feel that type of delight as we rejoice over the greatest thing (well, person) we’ve ever made. How can I despise the weight, both physical and spiritual, that comes with this kind of blessing?