Motivational Week ~ Beautiful
I have loved this pregnancy. It has been so much better than the others. I think a lot of that is due to me having lost so much weight beforehand—I lost 40 lbs. between February and August of 2012—and thus I have been at a lower weight the whole time than I have ever been during a pregnancy. I have loved being able to do more. I love not having as many aches and pains and nasty side-effects that I had the last two times—or at least, they didn't show up until later in this pregnancy.I have also loved not being crazy this time. Before we agreed to try for this baby we had to take a serious, hard look at what happened last time with my mental health. I went to a dark, horrible place. It was a nightmare. My loved ones suffered as I suffered and no one could do anything to make it better. We never want to go through that again. So we prayed very hard and remained extremely vigilant, watching for the first signs of anxiety or depression so we could stop them before they could stay. They tried to come back quite a few times, but each time we recognized it and fought back (prayer, taking a break from stress, or controlled positive thinking.) When I was pregnant with my 2 year old son I tried to enjoy it because I knew it might be the last pregnancy. (If the delivery had gone as badly as my first delivery, we wouldn’t have had any more kids. But that’s another story.) Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it, and the harder I tried—and failed—to enjoy it, the more miserable I became. So much pressure!
This time, I actually enjoy being pregnant! When people ask me if I am "ready to be done" I smile and go along with the millennia-old sentiment, but I really don't feel that way. I am savoring these last few days of feeling my little one moving around inside me because I know that when it's gone, it's gone. Sure, you give up something good for something better, but that still means you're giving up something.
But of all the things I love this time, one really stands out.
I love being beautiful.
When you are pregnant, all wise and kind people tell you how beautiful you are. Even if you are not, they are required to tell you. And I haven't wasted time wondering if I am or not—wondering if they are just trying to be nice to someone whose hormones are out of whack. Instead, I have felt beautiful. There is something to be said for all your friends and even perfect strangers telling you how radiant and lovely you are. How could you not feel good about yourself? When I look in the mirror, I have to admit that I do feel good about how I look. I am one of those lucky people who get pretty hair hormones and clear skin hormones when I'm pregnant. I've been told (numerous times) that I have a cute pregnant belly and from the back I don't look pregnant because my hips aren't any bigger. (This just goes to show what tricks proportion will play on your eyes because my pants are testifying that my hips are DEFINITELY bigger than they were. But at least my belly is bigger still!) And then there is the ultimate bonus that all pregnant women cherish: not having to hide their fat belly. Yes, pregnancy is the only time when you're not wondering if your muffin top is showing and trying to "suck it in". Fat = beautiful, how cool is that?
These last few weeks when I have received compliments I have thought "Yes, I do look good now, but after the baby comes..." Ahem. Yes. After she comes, my face will break out. My hair will fall out. I will have ginormous black circles under my eyes. My stomach will be still-relatively-big and flabby, and fat will definitely not equal beautiful then. I will not be beautiful then.
And then I thought, why not?
It suddenly occurred to me that the people I truly care about love me no matter how I look. My husband tells me that I'm beautiful all the time. Either he is blind when we get up in the morning or he is cracked, but hey, I'll take it! I'm not trying to impress anyone else. Do I care what other people think? Ummm....okay, I do. I'll admit it. But should I?
If a magic calculator added up all the time I have spent just worrying about whether my belly looks fat I am sure I would be monumentally embarrassed by the vast waste of time. And that's not even counting the time I've spent worrying about all the other vain marks of beauty. Why am I wasting that time? Why am I allowing my happiness to hinge on something so silly? Surely, NO ONE thinks about how I look as much as I do. So if my worry stems from what I think others will think of me and they aren't even thinking of me, WHY AM I THINKING OF ME?! Do you see how pointless this is?I am so happy right now. I feel confident in myself and the person I am. I know I will go through a period of "unpleasantness" after the birth. But doesn't everyone? I would never go visit a friend who'd just had surgery and was dealing with the sleepless nights of having a newborn and judge her for how she looked. I'd expect her to look like death! And several months later when she was bulging in her workout clothes I'd think, "Look at her! She is working hard to get healthy and strong again!" And I would respect that.
So why can't I do the same for myself? And the answer came to me: I can.
I am a 33 year old woman who has been wildly successful in everything that has mattered to me. I don't have anyone to impress. I am loved by those that are important to me. My husband thinks I am the sexiest woman alive. My children are loving, kind, smart, and amazing.
And I am beautiful.
Six months from now I'm going to look in the mirror and feel as good about myself as I do right now. Why not? Happiness is a choice. I've decided that I am done wasting time worrying about things I can't change. If it matters to me and it's possible, I'll change it. If I can't change it, I'll embrace it as part of the wonderful mix of strengths and weaknesses that make up this daughter of God.