Category Archives: brave

How My Son Taught Me to Love My Body

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.

Eternity

I finally get it. This life, this world, it’s not the end. It’s not what I should be living for. I have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. When I die, and I will die someday, it won’t be the end. I have eternity to look forward to. Someday I will meet my Savior face to face. The things of this world will pass away. I will have forever to be with God. And those who go before me and go after me, I will get to see them again if they have placed their hope and trust in Jesus. I don’t have to make the most of this life as if this is all I have. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t value the time I have. Of course I should enjoy the life I have been given. I should love others, point them to Jesus, and follow God’s leading in my life. There’s so much more to life than what I’ve been living. I don’t have to live in fear or worry. So, what if today is my last day? I have Peace that God will take care of my family. What if Yusheng passes before me, I have the knowledge that I will see him again. Of course I will miss those who go before me, of course my heart will ache. But I have hope, joy, and peace. It’s not the END! I will get to see them again. I feel like I can live life more fully now. I can boldly follow God wherever He calls me.

Insecurity

At the end of my pregnancy I was feeling like a pro. I knew how to be pregnant. I knew what to expect. I was even able to offer advice to other pregnant women who weren’t as far along as me. I felt like I was a Senior in high school.

Then my baby was born. And I felt like a Freshman. I no longer knew everything,  let alone anything. I was in new unfamiliar territory.  I felt small and insecure. I had to figure out this new world that I was in.

I admit it. I like feeling superior. I like having experience and being able to share that with others. I like knowing things. I like being the seasoned veteran. I was a preschool teacher for 8 years. By the end I felt like a pro. I knew what I was doing and how to do it.

But now I’m lost. I’m new to this whole mothering thing. I’m not a pro. I’m not an expert. Some days I feel like I’m just barely treading water. Other days I feel like I’m drowning. Some days I feel like I can swim, but not very far or for very long.

When I’m alone with my baby, I don’t really care. But when I’m out in public, I stress out. I feel like people will judge me if my baby cries. They will wonder why I can’t calm her down. They will think I’m doing things all wrong.

Now I know that this is mostly untrue. Sure, some people judge. But who cares anyways?

I am a good Momma. I love my baby something fierce. I am doing the best I can. Each day I gain more experience and figure more things out. Sometimes the baby changes things on me and that’s okay. We’re figuring each other out. We’re learning and growing together.

I can’t let my insecurities control me. So what if my baby cries a little during church. It will happen and it will be okay. I’m not a pro and I never will be. I’m coming to accept that. Motherhood is a constantly changing evolving thing. I’m just excited I get to be on this journey with my baby girl.

My 30 days of Brave

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So, I made the plunge and joined this challenge that started on Monday. I tried to come up with lots of reasons not to do it. My main reason is that I just had a baby. My life is (rightly) consumed with her, so of course I don’t have time for anything else. The real reason though is that I’m a recovering perfectionist (thank you melancholy personality). I hate HATE setting goals of any kind. Because, ultimately they lead to failure. I’m not perfect. I can’t fulfill my goals all of the time. While I know this, I have an adversion to making mistakes, to not being perfect. I try to let the sanguine side of my personality rule and not care about doing things perfectly. But the melancholy side silently screams at me to get my act together.

If you notice, even though I set goals, they are a little vague and leave room for imperfection. The only one that is required daily is the first one. I spend a lot of time on my phone while nursing,  so I figured some of that time should be productive. Just because I have a newborn, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend time with God. Though, what that time looks like is vastly different than it was before and that’s okay. I’m in a different season of life.

My second goal is so important. My husband has been kind of neglected ever since I got pregnant. It’s so important to take time to encourage him in his new role. He is really doing great and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without him.

My third goal is so vague. What is a walk exactly? I could count going out to the mailbox as a walk, though I won’t. But, being physically active in some way is important to my health. There are days when I won’t be able to leave the house and I have to accept that. My life and my schedule are no longer my own (one could argue that they were never mine, which is true, it’s just easier to see how they aren’t mine now.)

My fourth goal is probably one of the hardest for me. I love people. I love being social. But I fear rejection. It’d be so easy to hide behind the baby and not seek relationship with others. But, I desperately need people in my life.

I’ve always sucked at my fifth goal. It’s so easy to get caught up in things. Sometimes when I’m glued to the couch with a sleeping baby that will wake up if I try to move her, I think about all the things I could be doing, like cooking, cleaning, taking a shower, going to the bathroom. And I miss out on the precious time with my baby. I am so thankful to have her. I don’t want to take my time with her for granted. She needs me and I need her.

So here’s to 30 days of being brave. And here’s to offering myself grace when I fail.