Embracing the Belly
Even though I know that this growing belly is a beautiful sign of new life and growth, it's been harder for me to embrace the baby bump than I had anticipated.
It probably started with the stretch marks.
After my mom told me that she never got stretch marks, I was blissful and happy that I would go through this pregnancy without any marks (since they are apparently genetic).
Well, one morning, Josh told me that I had a little stretch mark. And I did--except there were several. A that time, they were bitty stretch marks, so I was confident that it wouldn't be too bad.
I guess there's a reason they call them "stretch" marks.
Within weeks, new ones popped up, old ones grew bigger, and I've surrendered to them.
Josh assures me my belly is beautiful with them. I know that he is right--the marks mean life, growth, and new things. Yet, I can't help but feel self-conscience and strange about them.
The pudge has followed the stretch marks. Believe me, I was never a skinny little thing (or even in good shape!) before this baby made my belly his home. Still, gaining weight at a rapid speed feels unsettling and uncomfortable. Even though I am doing what I can to manage my pregnancy weight (as in not eating everything in sight and exercising), gaining weight is happening and will continue to happen.
I think that it all stems back to the fact that I've often felt insecure about my size. So, suddenly growing a big belly (along with some baby fat in other places!) doesn't help matters. I teeter between fearing that my body will never go back to how it was pre-baby and determining that I will look better than ever a few months after baby is born.
Do I sound vain yet?
I think so ;)
I'm trying to speak honestly about this little part of the journey. It has not been easy for me to embrace my growing belly. Embracing the baby and his kicks + nudges--not a problem :) The stretch marks and chunkiness--yes.
I realize that I still have 10+ weeks of baby growing and know that my belly will continue to grow and grow--and so will those darn stretch marks!
Lately, I've felt convicted to really embrace the belly--to wholeheartedly enjoy and love it. To not whine over all the changes happening to the mid-section and mourn my old (although not magazine- worthy) smooth belly.
To feel the crevice of each stretch mark and remember that it signifies growth--both physical and otherwise.
To trace the outline of my belly and visualize the wiggly boy inside, developing and gaining his own set of rolls (which I will definitely adore + smooch!).
To take a moment when my back aches from the extra pooch in the front to reflect on this new and significant task before me: motherhood.
To believe my husband when he tells me how beautiful I am while he touches my baby belly. To not shush him or wave him off.
To remember that each change is only the beginning of selflessly nurturing another.
Most importantly, to thank God instead of whine about my changing body. To thank Him for this precious gift and privilege.
I don't want my own vanity and uncomfortableness to ever cloud this truth: This life is worth ever extra ounce, mark, and body change.