Over the past several months, I have been walking through a fear of mine that has been running in the back of my head for years. Since I was in middle school, I have dealt with body image issues, lack of confidence, and jealousy of other females and what ‘they had’.
Feeling too fat and not accepting my curves as beautiful, I fought to keep the athletic shape my sporting efforts created. Tirelessly working out well beyond a healthy level, I let fear be my motivation.
Fear of being too fat.
Within this struggle was the question as to what my body would look like if I became pregnant and how it would be transformed after I delivered.
One of the reasons I was okay not getting pregnant was because of the way my body would be forced to change, stretch, disfigure.
Fears of the gaining weight and even more so the stretching of the skin and not being in control of how my body would be after I delivered was an ongoing torment in my life.
Through my fertility struggles, one way that I coped with the disappointment after each ‘try’ was saying to myself, “well, at least you have a flat stomach”. My desperate attempt for acceptance.
This pregnancy was a miracle within itself.
I housed this perfect little peanut inside of me and nourished it with good, healthy, nutrient foods to help her grow.
My body grew too.
Grateful to have only gained the appropriate weight for growing a baby, I felt healthy and strong in my skin.
Days leading up to delivery-
“The feet are swollen. The fingers look like mini sausages. The bladder feels constantly full. The weight on the scale is reaching scary numbers*.”
This has been a journey towards redemption for me.
Letting go of what my body needed to do to continue to grow this miracle, trusting that my body was responding the way it was supposed to.
I released my fears and let God control my weight, my aches, my sore muscles, and my mind.
*Scary numbers to me were back to the highest numbers I have ever seen on the scale.
Days after delivery-
“The feet are still swollen. My body hurt, my back aches and it’s hard for me to stand up straight. It hurts to sit and lay on my side feels weird as I still have a weird drooping sensation of my stomach that pulls my skin down to the mattress.”
The days following my delivery, I was amazed at how much weight I had lost in such a short amount of time. My body felt so worn down and used and my limbs flopped like a rag doll. The core center of my body (stomach and back) was depleted of strength from the delivery and I could not imagine doing much more with myself than sitting, sleeping, and minimal walking to the kitchen. My stomach was still round (although it had gone down a lot), and I wondered what my body was going to look like.
Weeks after delivery-
“The feet are no longer swollen. My body isn’t hurting, thank you, God! I still have a pouch in my stomach area, when is this going to go away?”
My midwife confirms that although I do not have diastasis recti above my belly button, I certainly have it below. My stomach muscles are about 2.5 inches apart and when I push down my stomach is all squishy.
She gives the okay to start mild exercises to help bring the muscles back together.
My weight is closer to my normal range, but I still feel ‘blah’.
Two months after delivery-
My body has returned to the weight it was before becoming pregnant. How in the world is this possible? I attribute it to healthy eating and a balanced approach to pregnancy and after delivery.
Nope, no exercise either! What a gift to not be chained to that insanity of trying to make my body respond a certain way. Instead, I have just let my body heal and with it is a healthier lifestyle.
I feel gratitude for the support I receive from people around me who have been through pregnancy in a healthy way.
While there is still a bulge in my midsection, like a little squishy pouch, I am fitting into my regular skinny jeans and will trust that my body will look exactly as it’s supposed to.
It probably won’t look like it had before, but I did carry a human in there for 10 months.
Acceptance around what is, exactly as it is today.
I am healthy. My baby is healthy. My body is meant to bear children. I am perfectly created by God and so is my body.
Redemption of my body… and my mind around my image.