November 27, 2012 by A Girl Like Me
Ok, so for those of you who have yet to catch on, I am pregnant with my second kiddo. Now let me get one thing straight with you ladies, I am not the kind of woman who enjoys being pregnant. In fact, I’m the opposite. I’m the kind of woman who sees pregnancy as a means to an end. Yes, I love feeling the baby kick and knowing that there is a life growing inside me…that is amazing and truly a miracle that can only be understood when you experience it yourself. But then there are other things…things your mom never tells you, things movies and tv leave out, and even things your friends wont share with you. I call these the “less than glamorous side” of pregnancy. And for all of you, I am gracious enough to impart such wisdom upon you.
Let’s start with the fact that your boobs may double, even triple in size when you get pregnant. For a small busted gal like me, that might seem like a blessing, but it means none of those cute shirts you finally felt good in fit anymore and now you have to buy “big busted” shirts. (For you busty gals….I don’t know how you do it.) Next is the growing stomach. Yes, it is your baby, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that your pants don’t fit, you can’t see your toes, and it takes you a good five minutes to roll over in bed because your body has now become like some poor beached whale washed up on shore fighting to get its way back into the water. For the lucky ones like me…we also get the gift of pregnancy swelling. Feet turn into sausages, your face looks like you’ve stuffed marshmallows in your cheeks, and your bottom now has it’s own zip code. And that girls…is just what you see on the outside.
On the inside is a whole new party taking place. A bladder being squeezed so tightly that your need to use the potty seems almost constant. Heartburn that feels like hot lava is being poured down your throat, and gas….painful, awkward, uncontrollable gas that makes you feel like you aren’t even a woman at all, but a bag of hot air. Yes, the inside…it’s just as brutal as the outside. So how on earth in the midst of all of this stretching and growing, and bloating and gassing can one really say that pregnancy is truly a beautiful thing? And therein lies my dilemma.
Girls, if there is one thing that being pregnant has taught me it is this: I put way too much stock in my own vanity than anything else. I stand in the mirror calculating every little bump, bulge, and bloat, complaining about how I can’t believe I have six more months of dealing with this. The irony is, at the end…I get a baby, and for the most part, my body back. So why then? Why do I allow myself to focus so much on all the things I hate, robbing myself of the blessing and gift that being allowed to carry a life inside me can bring? Because in my mind..I am defined by how I am seen by others. Plain and simple.
If I look way more pregnant than I should be, I think people think I’m a chubby pregnant woman who eats too much. If I don’t fit into my old clothes soon after I have my kid, I think people think I am lazy and not trying hard to look nice. Heck, even if I’m not pregnant and I see my face looking a little more round in a photo, I’ll delete the picture without a second thought, and try again for one that looks a bit more “thin.” Any of you feeling me on this?
I know we’ve addressed this issue before and I suppose we’ll revisit it a thousand times over, simply because we all need to hear it. So I’ve said it once, but let me say it one more time. YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT YOU SEE. Can I get an amen to that? You and I are so much more than how we look, or better yet, how we feel we look on the outside. And thank God for that! Picture yourself on your worst day: day one of your period, your feeling tired and bloated, maybe you didn’t shower that morning so you have your hair in a ponytail, and those lovely things called hormones have given you a bright neon zit right on your forehead. You are a walking hot mess, and everyone can see it. Now think for a second…..if you were defined solely by how you looked on THAT day..what would it say about you? It would say “lazy, disheveled, unsanitary, gross,etc, etc.” But that’s not WHO you are is it? Ladies, we have to let go of this notion that we will only been seen as worthy in this world if we look a certain way. Because there will be those days when our looks don’t even come near to the standard of what “worthy” may look like to the outside world. And if who we are is wrapped up solely in this ideal of looking a certain way, we always fail and we will never reach that standard of worthiness.
I mean, Proverbs 31:30 puts it so clear: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The context of this scripture is what is most powerful to me. This is written to a man named King Lemuel by his mother about the kind of wife he needs to find. So a woman, is saying this about another woman. She is in essence saying, “Yeah son, there are pretty girls out there who look and smell great, but that all goes away. It’s their fear and love for the Lord that makes them worthy.” Boom. Girls, we can spend hours in front of the mirror primping and dissecting our appearance, but where are our hearts? Are we fixated on the temporary, or are our eyes turned to the eternal? Are we putting our identity in the One who has seen us on our worst day both inside and out and yet still said we were worth it to go to the cross and die for? Because that guy….Jesus Christ…He’s the only one who can claim us as worthy and good. And if he can look on this bloated, gassy, pregnant body of mine and see beauty, see something worth sacrificing everything for, then there has to be something to that don’t you think?
So girls…put down the mirror. Let go of that five pound bag of makeup. Throw away those magazines with the articles that say “Thin In Three Days.” Today, let’s take up a new identity. One that was written on the palms of a man who loved us with such depth that he set his life aside so we could be his bride. An identity that surpasses clothing labels, dress sizes, and great hair days. An identity that says we can come as we are, and we will always be loved and always accepted. Embrace that identity, embrace how HE sees you, and that is when we become truly beautiful.