“They” say that high school is the pivotal point in your life where you discover/figure out who you are, what you want, etc, but for me, it wasn’t then, or in college, or on the spiritual life changing mission I served, it’s been during this first pregnancy. Shoot, who even knows if I really have all that figured out yet. I know I haven’t even had the kid yet and that’s when it’s supposed to be the toughest but so far it’s been the change. All the change. So. much. change.
Naturally there’s the emotional roller coaster that the thousands of hormones coursing through your body puts you on everyday, but for me, it’s been the physical change. And the toughest part of that has been mustering the mental courage to cope with those changes in my body. Sometimes I feel guilty for complaining to myself or my husband about my pregnancy woes because I see so many people struggling to even get/stay pregnant, but I remind myself that we have our own sets of trials and demons to deal with and try to set aside the guilt. Try being the key word. 🙂
Why has it been so hard? Isn’t it hard for every pregnant woman, or any woman/man experiencing a change in their body? I would imagine so! To help you, reader, understand my story, here are a few gems to take a look at:
Here is me pre-weight loss. I’m on the right in both pictures. I’d gone home to do my sister’s hair and make-up for Prom and had undergone some biopsy’s/skin removal for malignoma.
Here is me after 110 lbs lost. These pics were taken about 2 years ago. s
And here is me today. I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have had a swollen face the whole pregnancy – woohoo! In these pictures some body part of hers is sticking out of my tummy, the little gymnast.
I workout from time to time but I’m certainly not running half marathons and in the gym hitting weights everyday. I was SO sick from “morning” sickness for the first 4 months, and then I was too exhausted from teaching high school all day and coming home and running a house to do much more. I still walk 5-7 times a week and lift light weights about 3, but for me, it just felt wrong jogging with my baby bouncing all around, and I didn’t realize all the exercises you’re not supposed to do pregnant (not that I’m complaining about having to find a replacement for crunches!). Yes, I know, it wouldn’t have hurt her, but it just felt wrong.
So what do I do? I compare myself to “skinny Emily” (even though I still had some weight to lose). I’ve always heard my whole life “Don’t compare yourself to others.” Comparison is one of the greatest weapons the adversary uses against women, social media and women’s magazines as his primary weapon. I think that everyone has that certain someone they compares themselves to, not necessarily on a physical level, but maybe financially, or socially, etc.
But I believe that for a woman, especially a pregnant woman, comparing yourself to how you were before your were pregnant or before you had kids, or maybe it’s how you looked in college, or high school, etc, can be even more destructive. That whole “My Own Worst Enemy” song by Lit from the glorious era of my childhood, the 90’s? Totally applicable. Those women who are like, “I love and embrace my stretch marks! I love my post-baby body!”? I don’t think I’ll ever be them. You should see the amount of lotions, ointments, etc I use to keep myself stretch mark free. I can’t wait to get back to working out. The first thing I put on my registry was a jogging stroller. I CRAVE running. All of this drives my husband bonkers but he’s very sweet and supportive. He tells me that pictures are deceiving and that in the pregnant pic I’m standing closer to the mirror so I naturally look bigger. He tells me the only change he can see is in my tummy. He even told our baby girl one night as he was talking to my tummy that he forgets sometimes that I’m pregnant because I’m so beautiful. Even him telling me that if all women were as good and beautiful as me, men would never cheat on women (I know, I seriously lucked out) doesn’t stop me from comparing.
My latest endeavor, and I hope an endeavor you as the reader will try to take, has been trying to get rid of comparison and replace finding positives in what seems to be a negative situation. As I was studying my scriptures the other night I thought about your plain old positive and negative signs and realized a couple of things:
1. I’ve always heard that two negatives make a positive, but I realized that I was making the pregnant me a longer or bigger negative sign than the skinny me and essentially creating a cross instead. I’ve never liked the cross because it reminds me of the Savior’s suffering and death, not his resurrection and life and that HE LIVES. I also realized that this has been my cross to bear and I need to change those negatives into positive self images either way so I can toss that cross aside.
2. If you draw connecting lines around the positive sign, it makes in essence a diamond shaped star, very similar to the star symbolizing Jesus’s birth:
There’s even an “x’ through it, which symbolized to me that I need to not necessarily LABEL any “size” or “self” when it comes to my body. And that I can turn something negative into a positive (a cross into a star showing the wise men the way to the blessed Savior) by turning to the Savior when I struggle with body image, feeling like I’m not a good enough mother, or any other kind of trial or insecurity I may face.
I share all of this in the hopes that women who’ve felt even a portion of this can find positives in the changes of pregnancy or any changes in their body, man or woman. We’re all given different trials but I’ve always been grateful for mine in the sense that I have the ability to manage or change my weight. And I know I have the ability to change my mentality and the way I see myself too. I’m so grateful Heavenly Father has entrusted one of His children in my care and I cannot wait to meet her! 48 more days!