The Hardest Thing About Pregnancy: part 2

I gave some background about the struggles I am talking about today in yesterday’s post. If you missed it, I would encourage you to read that post before continuing on.

The hardest thing about pregnancy has been embracing my changing body. Nine months ago, I had complete control of my appearance. I could work out whenever and however I wanted. I could eat what and how I wanted. After years of being in a roller coaster relationship, full of ups and downs and loop-de-loops, with my body I would have characterized our relationship as healthy. But I’ve come to realize that healthy has been a euphemism for control. I like being in control. I feel good about myself when I’m in control.

Pregnancy has taken the control right out of my hands and exposed the complicated network of issues I still struggle with. As James grew, I grew, and so did the insecurities that hovered just below the surface of my controlled exterior. I’m writing without having been fixed, without having come out on the other side of these insecurities yet. I’m still in the mess, but am not without hope.

The Insecurities

Numbers… I’m still a slave to the numbers. My pant size can make me do the happy dance and it can send me spiraling into the blues. The same goes for my weight. I dread the beginning of each OB appointment because of the numbers that will stare back at me from that electronic scale. I make a point of kicking off my shoes, shedding any extra clothing, and emptying my bladder before being weighed, just to shave off a few ounces. I know weight gain is inevitable, but it’s been difficult to see numbers rise higher and higher every month.

Identity… Being pregnant is such an in-between stage. I don’t have a baby in my arms yet, but I’m not my normal unhindered self. My body has been a continuing reflection of a new stage, a new role that I wasn’t quite prepared for in the first place. As my waist line expanded, I grieved the loss of being young and unencumbered. I didn’t realize how much I associated my body image with my season of life. My physical shape is a barrier to the image I so enjoyed embodying (adventurous, newlywed, with no strings attached). The changes in my body are ever hinting at a major life change that still scares me poopless sometimes.

Appearance… I just don’t look the same. I wasn’t always happy with how I looked pre pregnancy, but I definitely liked my appearance more then than now. My arms are softer and my legs have lost their tone. My love handles have grown and my face is more full. I feel unattractive and I miss my pre pregnancy physique. I’ve lost my edge in the beauty battle because I’m round and pregnant (utter shame here for making beauty a competition).

Future… I worry about never fitting into my pre pregnancy clothes again. What if I have to get rid of all my jeans and start from scratch because I failed at slimming back down. What if Tim doesn’t find me as attractive post pregnancy as he did when we first got married? What if I don’t have the will power to eat healthy and get back in shape?

The Conclusions

I’ve been struggling with letting go of my non-mom identity and the physical ideal I can’t hold up as a pregnant woman. When my value is in physical appearance and numbers, I will always be striving, striving to fit into the world’s ideal. When I’m in that mode, I become focused on how to keep climbing the physical ladder. I obsess about being the prettiest person Tim sees every day (my perception, not his), which immediately sets me up for failure, disappointment, and a whole slew of negative self talk. All of which serves to sadden my Creator and alienate me from my husband and those I’m judging and comparing myself to.

There are so many aspects of this season that require grace, rest, contentment, and perseverance. Pregnancy is so much more than carrying around your developing child for 40 weeks. The trials go deeper than morning sickness, aches and pains. It’s a mental, emotional, and spiritual trial that can only be meant to make us more like Jesus.

Thanks for letting me be candid about these struggles. I am very much in process and I realize postpartum is going to be a whole new process in itself. 

For further reading:

What’s been the hardest thing for you about pregnancy? 

photo credit: LeonArts.at via photopin cc

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12 thoughts on “The Hardest Thing About Pregnancy: part 2

  1. For me, one of the hardest things was being SO TIRED. I am normally a pretty energetic person, and it just really took me by surprise. But keeping things on a positive note, when I am pregnant my hair looks AMAZING. Normally its really thin but it gets almost kinda thick when I am pregnant and I love that. Also, strangely, my leg hair didn’t grow much during my first pregnancy, which was awesome. No such luck the second time around. What’s something you’ve enjoyed about pregnancy?

    1. I was also surprised at the physical exhaustion factor – definitely knocks you on your bum!

      I almost mentioned the hair thing in this post! My hair, and nails, are strong and healthy and grow so fast. The nail thing is especially nice for me because mine are generally peely and lame. I’ve also really enjoyed feeling James move around. I was at BSF the first time I recognized his movements and have loved knowing he’s alive and well in his habitat when he moves.

      I’m also super jealous of your leg hair. I’ve given up trying to shave mine…

  2. I have a challenge for you. For the rest of your OB appointments stand on the scale backwards. The scale reads the same no matter which way you face and the doctor will tell you if there is anything wrong with your weight gain anyway so you don’t need to look for yourself. See if that helps free your mind a bit.

    I know it’s hard now that your body is not your own, but God created our bodies the way he did to carry out this very special task, something that only we can do. Now, you will never again find me in a two piece swimsuit, but looking at the stretch marks that I loathed so much the first time around, I am reminded of the special connection that I got to have with my children before anyone else even got to meet them. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. You are not alone!

      1. I stumbled upon that blog post, via Facebook I think, a month or so ago and thought it was really encouraging. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. I may have shared this before, but I was super duper sick during my pregnancy with hypermesis gravidum(had to cut hours at work, hospital visits for fluids, etc.) I am working on a post about it because it was a difficult experience, but I don’t want to sound whiny when I got a beautiful baby boy out of the deal. That was definitely the hardest physical part. The hardest emotional part was probably all the worry (and still is).

    Can totally relate to the body issues (especially taking your shoes off at the doctor’s office ;)) ! Once I started gaining weight, and especially at the end, it would make me panic a little bit to go up to a weight I had never been before.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh man, Allie, that sounds really tough. I can totally relate about the the worry! I have a feeling it doesn’t really go away…

  4. I recently saw a pic you posted on Instagram of your prego self and had a moment of jealousy at how thin and good you looked! At that stage I was bigger and i thought gosh she’ll have no trouble post baby! I know others complements don’t change how we feel about ourselves but I had to share.
    Being a mom starts 40 weeks before you hold that baby and I totally get the struggle of knowing how to shift roles and wondering how things will be post baby. I appreciate you being so transparent! I’ll be praying for you as you go through these next months! Keep close to Jesus and he’ll help you navigate this new stage.

    1. Thanks for the sweet words and the encouragement, Hannah! I’ve loved keeping up with you and your cutie via Instagram :)

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