I must admit; I have worried about my pregnancy weight for 8 months now. I’ve been guilty of thinking or even saying, “ Oh, I hope my face doesn’t look like hers when I’m pregnant,” or “I hope my feet and ankles don’t swell like hers did,” or even, “Do I look as big as that woman?” I knew as a woman who had struggled with an eating disorder and body image for many years that I would also face a battle when it came to the body changes brought on by pregnancy. But, never could I have imagined the mental and emotional battle I would face from the attacks made on pregnant women, by other women. I haven’t been able to go to a grocery store or browse Twitter without seeing something about Kate Middleton’s “too small” pregnancy bump or people mocking Kim Kardashian’s “Shamu” dress and “excess” weight gain. I haven’t been able to get on Facebook or Pinterest without seeing articles, opinions, and criticisms about a pregnant woman’s choices with diet and exercise. It seems like our world is obsessed with the body of a pregnant woman.
At first, I found myself going right along with the naysayers and sizing up any other pregnant woman I saw, constantly comparing myself to them. I felt discouraged and exhausted with all the criticizing, comparison, and feelings of not living up to the world’s standards of pregnant beauty and perfection. But, God had plans to humble my heart and my body. There were some lessons He had to teach me about the worth of my body and my attitude towards other pregnant women as I grew a lil human being for 9 months.
The Size of Your Spiritual Growth is More Important Than the Size of Your Baby Bump
While it’s great to be as healthy and fit as your body will allow, God has never placed an emphasis on the size of your jeans but instead the size of God-glorifying righteousness in your life. Yes, your body is a temple but I don’t think God’s emphasis was on how perfect, beautiful and ornate the temple was, rather that it was a holy sanctuary, residence of the Holy Spirit, dedicated to the worship of the true Savior. (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:19-20) That’s what your body is supposed to be dedicated to, pregnant or not. We, as sisters in Christ, must stop placing so much pressure on ourselves and our fellow sisters to have the perfect baby bump and start encouraging each other in our spiritual walks instead. So stop stressing about those added pounds because God finds your inner self, dedicated to knowing and worshiping Him, of much more worth and full of unfading beauty. (1 Pet. 3:3-4)
Your Desire to Become a Godly Mother is More Important Than Your Desire to Have the Most Perfect Pregnancy Diet.
There’s a newfound obsession with eating and feeding our families only the purest, most organic food items, putting only the most natural products on our kids’ skin, and staying vaccine free. But, while these things can be very important, I’m afraid there’s more pressure and emphasis placed on having a “clean” household than having a “clean” heart. (Ps.24:3-5) A mom who has been placing time with the Lord and learning how to become a godly mother as her priority is looked down upon and given a guilt trip if she ate some Oreos or is deciding to give her newborn vaccines. We have begun to place more emphasis and pressure on new moms on what they’re putting in their bodies than what is filling their minds. Filling your heart and mind with the Word of God is far more important to you and your baby than spending time researching the most natural products and organic foods.(Ps.19:7-11; Matt.4:4) Your baby needs a godly mom more than a mom obsessed with a perfect diet.
Your Efforts to Keep Your Baby and You Healthy is More Important Than Your Efforts to Have the Most Perfectly Toned Arms.
I thought I was going to be the pregnant woman who was working out up until the day she gave birth. I thought I would be strong and fit for all 9 months but the Lord showed me just how weak I really was and what was most important for my baby and me. He allowed many illnesses and pregnancy complications to arise which put me on bed rest for a month and hasn’t allowed me to workout in over 7 months. It forced me to open my eyes to the fact that my body may not be perfect and that is okay. I may not be able to exercise and maintain any muscle tone but I’m doing what’s best for the health of my baby. If a mom is doing everything she can to take care of the lil baby inside of her and she’s gained 60 pounds, then that’s ok. If she’s been sick and pregnancy is wearing her body out, then we need to encourage her rather than make her feel guilty for not being a gym-rat or keeping within a certain weight-gain guideline. We need to applaud her love for her child and putting her baby first before the vanity of a perfect figure.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov. 31:30
The same goes for after your bundle of joy makes his world debut. The criticism and pressure to fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans and get those flat abs back as soon as possible is worse after pregnancy than it is during pregnancy. But God isn’t looking for physical perfection in your life but spiritual faithfulness. (Matt. 5:48)
Growing a baby is an extremely challenging task for a woman to go through – emotionally, physically and mentally. Add complications in there and you can have a scared, discouraged and exhausted woman. A woman who is dedicating her life to the well-being of another human, and instead of encouraging her weary mind and body, the world is throwing criticism and the added stress of maintaining the perfect figure, even her own sisters in Christ.
Soon-to-be moms, please be encouraged in your task of being a home for your little one. You are doing a hard job and it will be worth it. I applaud you for doing everything within your capability to provide a loving, healthy home for your child. God gave you a gift and you are nurturing it the best way you can!
Sisters in Christ, thank you to those who are listening ears, shoulders to cry on, and encouraging speakers to us pregnant ladies who are struggling with all the pressures and stress of being moms. You help us get through those 9 months without complete meltdowns and feeling like complete failures. We must, as women of God, be a community of strength, understanding, and support to each other as we’re making the best decisions we know how for the well-being of our children and ourselves. (1 Thes. 5:14; Heb.10:24-25) We are all different and called to different paths as moms but we are called to love and help guide each other, not criticize and judge each other’s bodies and different eating habits. (Eph. 4:29; Ti. 2:3-5)