When I was pregnant I used to joke that one of the best parts of pregnancy is not worrying about sucking in my belly in pictures. I could let it all hang out. I could blame all “pooch” on baby bump. No more “burrito” baby or “pizza” baby; I had a BABY baby! I never realized how self-conscious I was about my belly until I didn’t have to worry about hiding it anymore.
Same as most women, I constantly found flaws with my body ever since middle school, if not earlier. I felt like my thighs were too big, I had cellulite, my legs are too short, my hair is too flat. Do my gums show when I smile? Am I walking with my feet out? It’s all silly, petty, vain. We all do it. We should all stop.
I never had more body confidence than when I had my big, round belly and larger (albeit weirder) boobs. I know not all pregnant women experience this increase in body confidence during pregnancy, but I am grateful I did. I remember one of the last days of pregnancy when I was at my biggest. I was goofily dancing around rubbing my belly telling Daniel, “I’m really rocking this preggo-bod!” He wisely agreed.
There is so much beauty in a pregnant woman’s body – growing life. She’s glowing for a reason. It really is beautiful.
After losing Ginny, I was humbled in several ways, but actually body image was not one. The self-consciousness that I had pre-pregnancy didn’t return. I wasn’t loving my body the way I did while I was pregnant, but I didn’t feel bad about the way I looked. I attribute this to three things:
- When you are grieving a loss, you just don’t care about things you used to care about. Petty things don’t seem to matter at all. You only care about what’s important. (RE: Fear and Freedom)
- Becoming a parent (which I consider to take place as soon as you find out you’re pregnant) changes you. You lose a bit of shame. Life is no longer all about you so you don’t care as much how you look or how you are perceived. I think this is a good thing.
- I could no longer watch the family vlogs and baby youtube videos I had watched everyday during pregnancy. I found a new non-triggering topic to watch, body-positive fashion videos! I highly recommend Sierra Schultzzie and Carrie Dayton videos. They are all about shopping for mid-sized bodies and loving your body. I chose these videos because they are light-hearted and not family-focused, but their message has actually started to sink in.
Even without carrying a baby, our bodies are incredible and beautiful. We should not hide our imperfections or feel ashamed of ourselves. We should be proud of our bodies because they are part of who we are and they allow us to do all the things we do.
Pregnant or not, we should all be kind to ourselves and appreciate our bodies. They aren’t perfect, but they are ours and they are beautiful. For now, I’m rocking my burrito-baby bod unashamedly!
I wrote that Body Image post a few weeks ago, and I did not post it. The post is true, but it somehow isn’t the whole story. When I think about my body now, it’s true that I’m not ashamed of how it looks. I don’t really care to have the perfect body. But would I say I’m happy with my body?…no, but not because of the way it looks.
If I’m honest, I’m mad at my body. My body failed Ginny. I gave my whole body to take care of Ginny, and it still wasn’t enough. It built her and then abandoned her, and it didn’t even let me know. How could it let me survive and her die?
A couple weeks ago in church we sang a song called “New Wine” by Hillsong Worship. I struggled to sing it. The lyrics I faltered on were, “In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine…When I trust You I don’t need to understand, Make me Your vessel, Make me an offering, Make me whatever You want me to be”.
I gave my whole body to take care of Ginny, and it still wasn’t enough…for what I thought Ginny’s life would be. It was however enough for what Ginny’s life actually is. God had numbered her days (Psalm 139:16). He knew she would only live in the womb for those months, and he knew his purpose for her. My body served her for the days she had. My body was the literal vessel for Ginny’s life on Earth. It was a role that was physically and emotionally painful but full of love. God called me into this role. My body is an offering for the person that I didn’t get to raise. But she is in heaven with no pain or fear or struggle. When I trust, I don’t need to understand.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
In addition to Ginny’s life, I know God is using this experience to bring new wine out of me. I love and empathize more. I’m helping others who are suffering, and I feel God’s presence in a new way. My brokenness and loss is being used for some good. As the other lyrics say, “Where there is new wine, There is new power, There is new freedom, The kingdom is here.”
“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to do.” – Jeremiah 18:4
Make me whatever you want me to be.