I really don't want to talk about this. I'm above this right? We're all over this, right?
WRONG. I'm still sitting here, in my leggings, eating cereal atop my baby bel, and thinking if I'm stifling it inside, than you other preggos might be too.
So let's talk. About bumps, zits, and water aerobics.
We can't stop the growing bump, and somewhere deep down we don't really want to, because we know that means our baby inside is growing. But we can, with the Lord's help, stop the growing resentment we have towards ourselves and our poor bodies over the whole process of growing a life inside. And perhaps we can also, by some miracle of God, love the tiny sister sitting next to us who is about to give birth and IS NOT EVEN SHOWING YET.
Let's start with THE BUMP, the size, shape, elevation, innie or outie, stretch marked baby bump that once was your stomach. Sometimes these bumps evoke joy and facebook pictures. And sometimes they evoke comparison and discouragement and yucky self-worth issues you thought you dealt with long ago.
But the bump isn't all. There is the acne or the even yummier "back-ne." There is the walking around like you are eighty years old because everything hurts and you can't go too fast. There is the bonding with the elderly water goddesses at the YMCA because swimming is the only relief you get from the heaviness and the pressure in every sensitive area of your body. There is the running into everything, misjudging where the doors and walls and counters are with the broken toes and rainbow bruises to prove it. There is the falling up the basement stairs with a full load of laundry and crying your eyes out because your leg hurts so bad but you are so grateful your clumsiness didn't punish the baby inside you.
And then there are the emotions. One minute you are snorting laughter at spilled Cheerios in your trunk and the next crying like your soul just got fly-swatted by that commercial on TV. Certainly, I crave ice cream and smoothies like the next preggo. But what I wouldn't give to have just ONE BLESS-ED even keeled day, where I felt like I could have a full coherent thought without it being the best or worst day ever.
Ladies, lets all take a collective breath. Pregnancy is so beautiful. This little life is such a gift, yes? But I also believe there is a curse, and it comes in pain of many kinds. Honestly, I get anxious thinking about "labor day" but that is not the pain that keeps me awake at night. I'm worried about the pain in my heart that happens when I look in the mirror and hear the words, "You are not good enough." It is a sign to me when I have to clean my bedroom each evening because I've changed my clothes too many times and the litter of my insecurity has covered my marriage bed. It is a sign when I turn away from my husband, in my body and my heart because how could he love me how I am right now?
This weekend I was attending the Gospel Coalition Conference for women. It was a beautiful time of seeking the Lord with thousands of other sisters. We turned our eyes away from ourselves and our hearts toward the Lord. But what God intends for good, Satan intends for evil.
I struggled. With thousands of other women, there are many pregnant there, and I found myself comparing, measuring up. The mental battle followed me home from Indianapolis.
I'm annoyed and tired. My spirit is weary of the fight. Lord save me from myself.
This is not the first time the idol of my body has waged havoc on my heart, my joy, and my worship to the one true God. And I'm sure it won't be the last.
Ladies, there are times when the world makes it so easy for us to focus on ourselves. Pregnancy is one of them. What other time of life is it socially acceptable to post weekly selfies? What other time can others eyeball and scrutinize and comment on a woman's body? We feel the spotlight whether we've asked for it or not.
We don't have to carry this weight in addition to our babies. It will break us.
I believe pregnancy, surrendered in worship to the Lord, can be one of the most God honoring, prayer-filled times of our lives. We can allow ourselves to come undone before the Lord, ask his forgiveness for our self-centeredness, vanity, jealousy, envy. We can hold our fellow pregnant sisters' hands and love them, rejoice with them, pray for them, and recognize them as made in the image of God. We can be free from an identity wrapped up in the ways these earthly bodies carry the weight of sin from this world. We can joyfully sacrifice our bodies for the sake of our baby. Indeed, WE, dear sisters in the Lord, are wrapped in the promise of renewed, restored, reconciled bodies in heaven and the new earth. We can share in Christ's sufferings, by giving up our earthly bodies in pregnancy, as Christ gave his up on the cross.
In the meantime, our hearts are being renewed, restored, reconciled every day when we walk with (or waddle with) Christ. Praise the Lord for his humbling to us in this short time. We can make him BIG and we can make us (yes even us with the biggest of the bumps) small. Only in Christ, can we take captive these thoughts and turn them around to focus on Him and all of his many blessings to us.
Don't rush this, ladies. Don't count down the days. Listen for God's voice. Pregnancy is a short season, and God has much work to do in your heart. Make it oatmeal before Him and ask Him to shape you, even when it is hard.
In the meantime, don't linger too long by the mirror and put away your scale. Remember that Christ loved you enough to die for you, to free you from this world and yourself and those pants that don't fit and the fact that you are over the recommended weight gain and that pregnancy app that tells you exactly what you should be checking off your to-do list today and from hating yourself or that gal pal who thinks childbirth is an absolute breeze. Christ freed you from the hiding, from your husband, your friends, this world, but most of all from him.
Rest on God's love for you. Run (Waddle) to Him. He will carry you and your baby and your heart when it is all too heavy. Cry. Laugh. Unbutton your pants. Swim with the Grandmas who been there, done that, and swim half-naked, unashamed. Float in the pregnancy pool, buoyed by God's grace and the lighthearted gravity that is a life with Jesus, for God is life-guarding your very soul.