Monday, June 4, 2012

Pregnancy: Body Acceptance

I cannot deny, it's been interesting remembering my previous pregnancies through pictures. Thanks to my constant picture taking and the wonderful world of blogging, I've been able to have a great record of what week 36 of pregnancy looked like in years past:
Whether I like it or not, a lot of focus is put on the body during pregnancy. Here's God's perspective on the subject:

You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body.  I Corinthians 6:20 (God's Word Translation)
I never thought about this verse in the context of pregnancy until last week. This Bible verse reminds me that although I've been carrying my baby girl for 36 weeks, my body is really meant to bring honor to God even in this season.
I realized that although I take good care of my body during pregnancy, I'm also tempted to complain about the side effects pregnancy brings. All the aches and changes are not fun but some complaints are deep seated in the rejection of self.
Look at my photo illustration once again. During my first pregnancy I thought I had a great handle on the situation and I was happy with the way I looked for the most part. In 2010 I refused to put my face in my pregnancy photos for things changed drastically inside and out. I didn't like the way I looked, I was 'too big' for people to see the real me. As soon as I had my daughter "a light came on" and I realized being ashamed of myself wasn't healthy. This time around I am showing me for who I am in every photo. It took me 3 pregnancies but I know this is a season of life and I am bringing glory to God by taking care of my body. Being unashamed of what I look like brings glory to God because it says 'I appreciate how You made me." I now know that hiding my face or only taking photos in certain angles can only mask what the heart doesn't cease to carry: shame. I wonder if shame is separating you from glorifying God with your body my friend.
Here are ways to stop the struggle & become more accepting of who you are:
Watch Your Words - there is power in your words. If you are truly negative about your appearance, things are not gonna get better. Change the way you speak about yourself. For example, I used daily positive affirmations about running many years before I ran my first 5K. Hearing positive things about myself were the starting point to unlocking my ability to change for the better.
Make a Habit of Caring for your Body - small steps towards caring for yourself will lead you to greater accomplishments. It might start with drinking more water every day or walking once a week. Building good habits, one baby step at the time, makes a big difference long term. Employing the help of others is part of caring for your body too. Signing up for counseling for example is a great way to care for yourself.
Understand the Seasons of Life - my previous women's ministry pastor opened my eyes to the fact that during a woman's life, her weight will go up and down. Pregnant women do gain weight. Once I accepted that weight loss season was over for 9 months, things got much better. My focus went from the numbers on the scale to non-scale victories such as getting more rest, adding more nutrients to my diet and finding enjoyment in exercising during pregnancy. I know that the weight will come off during the next season.
My hope is that you and I don't be ashamed of what we look like. It might be a process or it may take a revelation but I pray that eventually our body issues will turn into the glorious act of bringing glory to God in the way we use our bodies.
Related Posts:
Pregnancy: Body Issues
Life After Baby: Weight Loss Progression
Podcast: Counseling Demystified

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