Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Pregnancy Story - Part 1.

I've always struggled with body image. At age 12 I grew to the height of 6'0". I was taller than all of the girls... and the boys. It gave me the feeling of being the "big" girl from a very young age. I was the recipient of lots of silly, insensitive comments regarding height.

In my early twenties I suddenly gained about 30 lbs. I'd always been pretty careful about my weight as a teen in an effort to combat my tall stature. I felt that if I couldn't be "petite" then I needed to be skinny. I didn't use the healthiest methods. But... that's another post for another day.

So, when I lost most of the weight at 23 I was ecstatic. It felt amazing. However, before I had finished losing the weight, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. My husband and I had been married for 3 years and hadn't been sure that we would get pregnant. I'd gone to see doctors and although I hadn't pursued fertility interventions I wasn't certain that I'd ever have a baby. We were thrilled!

Despite my excitement there was a feeling of trepidation about the weight I'd lost coming back on. Unless you've struggled with weight you might not completely understand. I had worked so hard. But, a life is beautiful. A life growing inside of me? I can't even describe the feeling. I'd been wanting this much more than a skinny body.

Soon after announcing my pregnancy some people requested that I post a belly picture. At the time I had a personal blog so I posted my photo on it. Not too long afterwards I was made aware that another blogger (that I didn't know) had taken the photo of me and said that I was faking my pregnancy and that it was obvious from the picture I'd posted that I was just... fat - not pregnant. Several of my friends went to my defense. I knew the person was just looking for blog hits. I knew they were being unfair, but at the time it still stung.


As you can imagine it didn't help with my body image issues. I gained a lot of weight during my first pregnancy. It took three years post pregnancy before I lost the weight again.


When it came off, guess what happened? I got pregnant again! Repeat that cycle 3 more times. I'm on my fifth pregnancy.


I love being pregnant. I actually love my pregnant body more than my non-pregnant body in many ways. I love that I don't have to hold in my stomach. I love that I have curves. I love that I can wear flowy clothing that shapes, fits, and flatters. I love that my body is housing another member of our family - someone I'll love with every ounce of my being. I love that my body is strong. I love that 1, 2, 3, 4, and now 5 times I've been fortunate enough to carry a baby in this body of mine.

I honestly cannot think of anything more beautiful that my body has accomplished. 

And yet, I still hear the words coming out of my mouth:

"I feel so fat."

"I've gained so much weight!"

"We'll see how big I get..."

"I'm bigger this pregnancy than I've ever been before."

"I feel HUGE!"


Some pregnancies have been easier for me than others. There have been pregnancies where I have felt absolutely beautiful. I have loved my body and how it looks. There have been other pregnancies where I have felt discouraged, disappointed in my weight gain, and frustrated that I am not one of those women that is "all belly".

But, when I look at other women who are pregnant all I can see is the miracle of life, the beauty, and their glow. I admire them, I love their pictures. I think they are all stunning. 

I think about pregnancy and I consider the fact that years ago I wasn't certain that I would ever be a mother. I prayed about it more than almost anything I've ever prayed about in my life. I begged God to send me children. Now, I'm going to be welcoming our fifth in a mere matter of months and I honestly couldn't be happier or feel more fortunate. It goes without saying that pregnancy is a miracle.

It is also hard sometimes, and that is ok to say. 


This growing, this stretching, this being home to another, it's a process that grows and stretches you in ways that you at first cannot imagine. It takes your energy, your patience, your love, and your body. It changes your perceptions in so many ways.

I've come to realize that the hard stuff is often the most beautiful. I may feel big, ungainly, or frustrated at the changes my body has gone through, but the beauty eclipses the discomfort. When I look in the mirror after having a baby I may see a body that has changed, but I also see a body that has sacrificed itself for the beautiful lives of my precious children - something I wouldn't change for the world.

My body may have changed, but it's beautiful because of those changes. I'm ready to stop the self degrading dialogue and embrace this body of mine.



In thinking about my own perceptions of pregnancy and my body I went to several other women, gathered pictures, and asked them for their thoughts on pregnancy and their bodies.

Here is that post: A Pregnancy Story - Part 2. 


20 comments:

  1. I loved being pregnant! I loved wearing form fitting clothes and not having to suck in-haha! You look gorgeous in all of these pictures! I'm so happy for you! What kind of crazy person would antagonize you when you posted a baby bump picture?! So weird!!

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    1. I'm so glad that maternity clothing actually looks good now. I hear horror stories of what it used to look like and I count myself lucky! I think my favorites are the shirts with the ruching on the sides.

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  2. I was never a fan of being pregnant, I had great pregnancies but I dont know.. I wasnt very into it. lol You look amazing pregnant!!

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    1. You're too sweet! I know a lot of women who have such a hard time being pregnant. One of my friends was sick her entire pregnancy to the point that she didn't feel like she could handle having more kids. I'm feel fortunate that even though I experience the normal morning sickness it ends right before the second trimester and then it is smooth sailing.

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  3. You look amazing!!!!! Being pregnant is beautiful and you are gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you for the sweet compliment!

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  4. You look amazing!!!!! Being pregnant is beautiful and you are gorgeous.

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  5. I didn't love being pregnant but it was bc of how I felt, not how I looked. I loved my belly!! And you look fabulous in every single one of these pictures!

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    1. My heart goes out to all of you ladies who endure sickness throughout your pregnancies. I can't imagine, and I have so much respect. Thank you so much! <3

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  6. aww you are beautiful! I can SO relate! I gained so much with my pregnancies and it wasn't until after our last one was born that I lost all my weight.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words! That's awesome that you lost the weight! It can be so hard to get the weight off once it's on. I'll bet it feels wonderful to have lost it all!

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  7. Love this. You look wonderful! I liked being pregnant, too! It let me hide the not quite so flat tummy and larger boobs. :) I had no idea you were so tall! I'm a shave under 5'10", first thing in the morning, before my slouching gets worse! Talk women UNITE!

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    1. I love how you said before your slouching gets worse! I always have to remind myself to stand up straight. And yes, tall women unite! :)

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  8. Thank you for loving your pregnancies. I would love to be pregnant, but can't. I think pregnant women are beautiful because they are carrying life.

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    1. April, thank you for your comment. I thought about infertility a lot as I was writing this. I have so many friends who have struggled to get pregnant or who are struggling now. I never take my pregnancies for granted. I actually carry a lot of guilt sometimes over the fact that I get frustrated with my body because I know that so many other women would love to be in my position. I count myself very blessed. Like you said, it's life. The beauty of life usurps any stretch marks, any weight gain, any sickness.

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  9. It is like you were speaking through me in the beginning of your post. I too am 6'0 and have been since about 11 years old. It is so hard and kids can be so mean! I LOVED being pregnant too. I found that I was never more comfortable with my body than when I was pregnant. I think its because you know, despite what anyone else might think, that your body is making a miracle. This is a great post. We have been trying for number 2 for over a year now and I am starting to feel like my body is betraying me...we will see. I am so happy that you have 5 amazing miracles! Congratulations!

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    1. Kristin, we tried for our second child for 2 1/2 years. It was a very awful time for me. I remember feeling a lot of hopelessness and frustration as I saw friend after friend get pregnant with 1,2, sometimes 3 babies to my one. I will pray for you as you go through this. I so appreciate your lovely comment. You are in my thoughts.

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  10. I too have struggled with body issues and it wasn't until I was pregnant that I felt beautiful! You look amazing in each of those photos! Congratulations on number 5!! What a blessing from God!

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    1. Thank you, Brandi! It's funny, because there have been pregnancies during which I've felt incredibly more comfortable than I do when I'm not pregnant. It can feel freeing!

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