My biggest fear before becoming a parent and experiencing pregnancy was having large, annoying, brightly colored toys littering the adult space of my home. Honest. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? Many, many months later, and slightly more intelligent, I don’t mind those toys now at all. I would be lying if I said that I don’t make sure they are hidden in “their spots” when Bryton is in bed for the evening, but I am definitely not paranoid about them being out.
Needless to say, however, when about six months of pregnancy had passed I was more concerned and worried about the large, annoying, not so brightly colored, in fact, rather pale, physique I was beginning to see staring back at me in the mirror every morning. I had a difficult time with self-esteem and confidence with the pre-pregnancy person I saw staring back at me in the mirror months prior, but this was an all new level of... wow.
On one hand I loved and appreciated pregnancy. I enjoyed, for awhile, how I looked and being the growing ground of this precious child who would one day be my son. Towards the last six weeks or so, when I swelled up like balloon from my face to my blocks of wood (also known as feet), I was standing in the mirror wondering who that person was, and if I’d ever see that other person I’d given such a hard time before.
My belly sat like a lopsided pumpkin on my legs while sitting. I had not only outgrown my wedding rings, which I cried about, I had now outgrown my own shoes too. In fact, I’d outgrown all of Aaron’s shoes besides his Crocs. When I touched the widest part of my belly, I couldn’t feel it because my skin was so stretched. Though I will admit I did make it through the entire pregnancy stretch mark free, the already hideous spider veins on my legs were creating an even larger web, and the linea negra (the brown line that goes down your stomach), was developing to be darker and darker. I had no idea how that body would ever become the one previous.
But it did. Kinda. Just one year later I have not only met, but beaten, my pre-pregnancy weight. I am no longer swollen, thank you, Jesus, and I have my energy back. I can successfully wear my own shoes, my old clothes (most of them), and require no belly band to feel comfortable in them.
In the same turn, a year later I still have my linea negra running down my stomach, my jeans don’t quite fit the same way as they used to, my hips are wider, the spider veins are there and worse, and though probably not noticed by others, I can still tell the change in my stomach. The changes don’t stop there either.
All of that said to say this... I have never been happier with my appearance. I’ve never felt more confidence, and I’ve never had greater self-esteem. I don’t completely understand it. I’m further away than I’ve ever been from that “super-model” look that we all strive to achieve. I have more “flaws” and “blemishes” than ever, but to look in the mirror I’m satisfied.
Maybe it’s God, and my being satisfied with what He has created me to be. Maybe it was the low expectations I sat for myself during my pregnancy, believing I’d never be able to move or look at myself in the mirror ever again. Maybe, just maybe, it is the respect and appreciation I have for my body for being part of the wonderful miracle (okay, not theologically, but seriously, experience it) of carrying a baby and childbirth. I loved being pregnant, thus, I appreciate my body for what it allowed me to experience and I appreciate the “flaws” for being my souvenir of such an opportunity.