The following was transcribed directly from my paper journal, July 3, 2013. I was still brand new pregnant and starting to panic a bit. I thought I’d share it with you because it’s a damn fine pep talk.
If you’re new here, brief history — I grew up morbidly obese, but have maintained a 100+lb loss for over a decade. I gained (and lost) 60-70 pounds with each of my previous two pregnancies. Before diving into this third pregnancy, I was a competitive powerlifter with a thriving health coaching and personal training practice. Though I was never “underweight”, I carried significantly less body fat than I had in puberty which meant I was no longer ovulating, but I looked damn good. Choosing our family over my body was not the easiest choice I’ve ever made. But I made it.
When you focus so intensely on one thing, and that one thing does not change, not even one bit, then it feels like everything is stuck.
Maybe I am more than my body? Maybe the sway in the scales in not because I’m not treating my body right, but because the rest of my self has needs and wants.
Progress I’ve made in life in the last three months not related to weight:
- Successfully taken my daughters swimming almost every day since June 1.
- Realized my husband’s true love for me and let go of the lie of not enough.
- Re-established an authentic, loving relationship with my oldest friend.
- Successfully increased all my lifts, including accessories.
- Began piano lessons and practice 5 out of 7 days a week. Progressing well.
- Started Beatrice in piano lessons. Progressing at lightning speed.
- Made a summer schedule and sticking to it.
And I’m sure there’s more. My life is moving forward. I am growing. And my goal is not just to be beyond reproach physically. My goal is to be beautiful.
Am I beautiful?
The thoughts I’ve had lately most certainly are not. I’ve though more about the sacrifice than the worship. I’ve mourned and moaned and even begun to desperately claw at my body and all the hopes and expectations of it slipping away. I’ve grieved more the loss of my body than I have celebrated the creation of a new one.
A new body.
My body for this body.
I am not the only one who changes. My daughters change right before my eyes, transform from one being to the next. Should they moan and shriek as their bodies change shape, as they put on fat and then height, as their hair changes, skin changes? They will grow into women who keep growing into mothers, then grandmothers, then great grandmothers.
Our bodies are never static. A year ago my body was at it’s most beautiful, in my estimation. It was lean, muscular, impressive. And I wanted to lock it in. Even if that meant no more babies, even if it meant I was barren.
But if my God is who I think he is, that is not a value we share. God does not value my “leanness” over my family, his people. God does not value my weight over the people he longs to make.
This body, this sesame seed sized body in my belly at this moment, houses a person God loves and is determined to reveal himself through. This tiny person has been planned purposefully, thoroughly, perfectly.
I have prayed to have my body spared the ravages of fertility and pregnancy — but my actions, my willful participation in the creation of this person reveals my heart’s true desire.
My actions reveal my heart.
I chose to restore my fertility. I put on 20 pounds just so I could ovulate again. I fastidiously tracked every sign, fed myself the perfect foods, quit my job, and then intentionally, prayerfully, expectantly made love to my husband with the full intention of becoming pregnant. I ripped apart the trophy so hard won.
Yes, I have desperately wanted to look better in my spandex. Yes, I have been anxious about what building another baby would do to my body. But despite that fear, I have done it anyway.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is action in the presence of fear.
Dear baby of mine — if someday you read these pages I hope that’s what you see. I hope you see that your mama was terrified mess who trusted God so she kept going.