It’s interesting that now, at 34 weeks pregnant with my son, is when I finally love and appreciate my body. All kinds of changes happen during pregnancy, and women can often find the changes hard to deal with. I actually wasn’t that excited about getting pregnant when my body was not yet where I hoped it would be.
After having my daughter, I lost a bunch of weight right away, but then over the next 6 months I slowly gained back all the weight plus an additional 3 pounds. Breastfeeding did not help me lose weight. I tried eating more food, then eating less food, but neither worked. Exercise wasn’t really helping either. Finally after introducing protein shakes into my diet, I was able to lose weight. Over the next 9 months, the pounds slowly melted off. The inches decreased significantly as I gained lean muscle.
I was still about 20 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant with Chrysantha, even though size wise I was the same. I was definitely leaner and more fit. But, it was still hard for me to see the higher number on the scale, especially knowing that it would only increase as my pregnancy progressed.
So, a little background to put things in perspective. I’ve been overweight basically my whole life. I was incessantly teased all through elementary and middle school. In 5th grade I weighed 200 pounds. I tried many diets growing up, but none of them worked. Any time I lost weight it wasn’t too long before I gained it back and then some. I was healthy, except for my weight.
Somewhere towards the end of high school and beginning of college I reached my highest weight. I did not like the number on the scale and started making changes. I slowly lost some weight thanks to exercise and learning how to eat healthier.
I have always been very aware of my body and how big I was compared to others. I wasn’t happy. I was always self-conscious. I realize in retrospect that I used my weight as a shield. My weight was like armor protecting me from hurt and harm, or at least that’s what I thought. It was easy to convince myself that others didn’t like me because of my weight. Certainly that was why no decent guy was ever interested in me. All my problems were because of my weight.
Eventually I lost about 100 pounds. I didn’t and couldn’t lose any more. I slowly began to like more of my body (prior to that, I only liked my eyes). Guys started to take interest in me. I had my first boyfriend. I settled because I didn’t value myself enough. I thought he was the best I was going to get. Oh, how very wrong I was!
Having a good man love me for me and love my body definitely helped improve my self-esteem. But, that only carried me so far. Deep down, I still didn’t like the way I looked. I was still self-conscious. Even though he showered me with compliments and showed me through actions how desirable I was, I didn’t really believe it. I still didn’t value myself enough or think that I deserved such love and attention.
So, fast forward to now. Here I am 34 weeks pregnant. I now weigh 1 pound more than I did after I lost those 100 pounds. But, that doesn’t bother me. The scale does not define me. I am healthier and more fit than I have ever been. I have more muscle and less fat than I did before, not to mention the fact that I’m growing a sweet little boy.
I didn’t expect to love my changing pregnant body. I certainly didn’t love it and appreciate it as much with my daughter. But my precious son is showing me my value and worth in giving him life. I’m so glad I didn’t let my fears hold me back from getting pregnant. I had a choice to make and I knew that I would get pregnant. I hesitated momentarily, thoughts of not being where I wanted flashing through my mind. But choosing to get pregnant again, even though it was scary, was the best decision. I am so incredibly thankful for this journey that I have been on. I’m thankful that God is renewing my mind and transforming my thoughts about myself into His thoughts about me. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to carry and bring forth life into this world. My son isn’t even born yet and he has taught me so much.
It is my desire for each person, women especially, to see and know their worth. Society puts so much pressure on our appearance. We put so much pressure on our appearance. We don’t celebrate ourselves enough. We don’t marvel enough at all that our bodies have done and been through. My journey, your journey, is not over. We are strong. We are capable. We are valued. We are loved. We matter.