Tuesday, December 18, 2012

((Body Image + Pregnancy))

((you get this instead of an outfit post today. couldn't keep what was on my heart stuck in there! it felt good to type it all out & process it. I'm sure I'm not the first to post this type of message, but I'm sharing my thoughts with you sweet ,sweet readers, hoping it will simply encourage.))



As someone who has struggled with body image for years and years, often not thinking I'm small enough, toned enough, not put-together-enough etc, being pregnant has kind of turned my world upside  down

It was easy to embrace  at the beginning, as all I'd have to do was unbutton the top button of my pants, at most.  I was still giddy about being pregnant in the first place, so I just had to remind myself that it was for the baby. All my tops still fit and my jeans fit everywhere else but the waist. But the more my body has changed over the past 23 weeks, the more I see this insecurity blow up in my face...the insecurity of not being good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Even at the beginning, when I was quite sick and losing weight, rather than gaining it, I still felt out of control and like I needed to hit the gym if I was able to keep down some crackers and ginger ale ((which I never did. ha)). 

Maybe it was the hormones, maybe it was the fact I was nauseous 24/7, maybe it was my broken out face, maybe it was the fact that I couldn't stomach ANYthing...but I just didn't feel pretty. I mean, Where the BLANK was that glow everyone talked about? 


And why don't I look/feel like this?

What I've realized is that I worship myself. That's gross to admit, but I'm serious. It's like I've made myself my own little god that I have to please by working out, eating the right things, wearing the best clothes, working out again if I ate too much or had more than one Dr. Pepper. Now, since I've been pregnant, I'm able to rationalize it and eat whenever I'm hungry and not feel guilty about it. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm growing ((at an incredibly fast rate)) and I'm having a VERY hard time with it. Chase has to stop me daily from using words like "bus" and "huge." 

I didn't realize using those words in reference to myself was offensive until someone close to me ((unintentionally)) used a similar word in reference to my belly and if Chase hadn't been there to recover and speak truth immediately, it would have crushed me.  

Because I worship myself. I worship what others think of me. I worship my appearance.

It has to stop. Self-destructive talk, non-acceptance of my growing belly, throwing tantrums every morning because nothing in my closet fits properly, wondering if people see the weight I've gained in my face, it.all.has.to.stop.



My call to action to those of us with the same struggles:
1. There are so many women who can't get pregnant and would do ANYTHING to have a growing belly ((and waist-line, and thighs, and...you get what I'm saying?)) if that meant they got to carry a child of their own. Count your blessings.
We need to be more thankful.
2.  You have been fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator that not only made every detail about you, but made every detail about your unique pregnancy. You are beautiful and are growing a miracle. Who cares if your skinnies don't fit? 
We need to have more grace with ourselves & with our changing bodies.
3.  Go exercise. Don't over-do it, start training for a half-marathon or all of a sudden pick up kickboxing, but go for a walk and be as active as you can. Chances are, it will help.
We need to take action & do something, rather than moping.
4. Tell yourself that you're beautiful and accepted. Ask your husband to tell you that when you need it, if he isn't already. And when he tells you? Believe it. 
We need to dwell on truth and not on lies. Our husbands think we're beautiful. 
5.  Buy clothes that fit you. I've decided that every month, I'm going to buy something that fits me RIGHT THEN. This month? It was splitting a pair of way too expensive designer maternity jeans with my mom. I know the value of good denim and I also know the value of feeling GOOD in what I'm wearing, so I felt it was worth it. I'm not saying I deserve nice & new things, far from it actually, but if I can feel good in what I'm wearing, I'm much more likely to have more grace with myself and my body.
We need to be nice to ourselves. 
6.  Pray. God wants to carry our burdens. Tell him you don't feel beautiful. Be honest with Him. Confess of making yourself an idol & ask Him to allow you to feel confident in HIM and beautiful in HIM, not in and of yourself...because you? You're always going to disappoint yourself if you're anything like me. So are those skinny jeans. Those have a tendency to disappoint often ;)
We need to give our insecurities to the Lord. 
We need to draw near to God and His truth. Daily.


Join me?




This is not a plea for encouragement & compliments in the comment section. I'm trying to encourage you in what I'm s l o w l y learning. I hope you needed to hear it as much as I needed to process & type it out.

love.

52 comments:

  1. love this post. I had similar problems during pregnancy. It was the first time I couldn't 'control' my weight. I then realized that I had a bit of a problem. Thank the Lord for his grace! Thank you for sharing this and the reminder to me now 7 months post pregnancy that I need to be NICE to me!

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  2. Preach it girl. This is the TRUTH and I think every single pregnant mama needs to hear it. Over and over and over. It can be so hard but it is so so SO worth it. Every single second. After I had Lily I found this new love for my body that I had never had before. I'm so much more accepting of my imperfections now because all I have to do is look at the little miracle God gave me (through this imperfect body) and know that I would choose her over a perfect body every single time. And for what it's worth I think pregnancy is gorgeous on everyone :) Don't let negative/insensitive words get to you!!

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  3. I love this post girl. Even though I have not been pregnant yet, this encouraged me greatly because I feel like I would have that issue. And by the way, You are ADORABLE pregnant!!!! :)

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  4. AMEN!!! Thanks so much for writing this! This is a constant struggle for me too. I've been pregnant three times in the last 3 years (bearing 1 and twins!). We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are to be "used" in this wonderful way and it is a blessing!! God does good things with our bodies!
    www.babiease.etsy.com

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  5. I LOVE the truth of this post, and the honesty, and the TRUTH that you swooped in at the end to teach us. Also, I love that your husband is such a ma of God that he knows his responsibility to you and that God is using him so graciously to remind you of truth. Your body is a TEMPLE, and you are not your own; offer your body as a living sacrifice. PRAISE HIM for what He is teaching you!!!

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  6. it is SO tough to deal with how our bodies change during pregnancy... but oh, kim, when that little bundle is placed in your arms at the end of it all, you realize just how worth it all is. every pound gained. every ache & pain. every tear shed. so worth it. you are quite possibly the cutest pregnant lady i've seen... go easy on yourself for sure and just make sure to enjoy this miracle the best that you can!

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  7. Such a great post! Thanks so much for sharing, makes me smile :)

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  8. You are so brave to share your heart so openly. Pregnancy totally rocked my world and the Lord used it to really clean out my gross heart of alot of selfishness that I was clinging to. I found out I was pregnant 3 months after getting married and was honestly crushed. I was finishing up my last year of college and had big plans that did NOT include growing a human and becoming a mom. Constant puking, not being able to fit into any of my clothes and a broken out face just added to my insecurities. The Lord is still teaching me to find my confidence and hope in Him, not my plans, my works or my ability to feel put together. It's a SLOW but sweet process. Great post!

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  9. This is a huge issue, for pregnant as well as non pregnant women. I am very secure in my body image, yet when I'm pregnant, it all sort of warps and I have similar feelings to what you describe above. My husband Dave encourages me to use the word "PREGNANT" instead of any other more descriptive (and derogatory) term that I might choose to describe my physical and emotional state, because when I say "pregnant" I all of the sudden remember that there is a much higher purpose to my changing body and hormones. I remember that it's not all about ME--that, in fact, it is all about LETTING GO of ME to bring another soul into the world. It can be really tough, but I made some of the same resolutions you did, and that helped.

    With my second pregnancy, I put away all of my non-maternity clothes after the first trimester to not have to even feel bad for one second that I didn't fit into them. I made and bought more well-suited clothes, and my very favorite things are items I bought in the last couple weeks (when even maternity clothes didn't fit!) Pregnancy is a roller coaster, but all for such an incredible worthwhile objective. When you hold that little one, everything you've gone through to get him here will be worth it.

    I am so happy you shared your thoughts. It's refreshing to hear someone speak their truth.

    xo

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    1. putting away the non-maternity clothes is such good advice, i'll definitely do that next time around. as for now, i'd be wearing the same 3 shirts over & over if i did that! haha :)

      thanks for the encouragement and truth. xo

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  10. Oh, sweet friend, I can SO relate to this. But, first of all, you don't look and feel like Reese because she's rich. She's got an entourage of people to keep her look camera ready. So, that's not even fair to you to attempt to reach that. You won't. And it's okay.

    As for the worship of self... Ditto! There are days I get so focused on myself, my body, my happiness... It is pretty stinkin' gross! I have to constantly remind myself, "Self! YOU must die, so that Christ can shine through you." So, you too must metaphorically die. Daily.

    I will be praying for you. That you would see the beauty in yourself that other see in you and that you would remember to be thankful for all the "side effects" of pregnancy. Buckle up, though... You think God's working in your heart now? Just wait till that precious baby arrives. Motherhood teaches God's truth, like grace and forgiveness, like nothing else I have ever experienced.

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  11. I wish I had this post to refer to when I was pregnant. It was SO hard for me to get used to my new body, especially because my old body was just getting into shape the way I wanted. I'm still getting used to my post-pregnancy body (almost 2 years later) but this post reminds me that I need to be kind to myself. Thank you.

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  12. I love this post! I live near Boca Raton, Florida and so my OB office was in the heart of Boca. Not sure what you've heard of Boca, if anything, but let's just say I didn't ever valet my Maserati like everyone else. Wait. I don't have a Maserati. But if I did, I wouldn't valet it. I didn't have "the hired help" with me to collect my urine samples before my appointments (it's true -- they had that) and I didn't have "the hired help" there to answer my phone for me when it rang (also true). Towards teh end of my pregnancy, I sat in my OB office waiting room for my weekly visit, on my hemorrhoid pillow, acne all over my face and a puke bucket while I watched supermodels a la that Reese Witherspoon picture you posted in their spike heels and glamorous dresses. WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG? It was hard to not feel gross when I felt like I was the only one gross. I struggled a lot, even postpartum. It sounds insane, but something snapped in my head where I realized that it didn't matter what other people thought and the wya I carried myself and felt about myself could influence what other people thought anyway. Having my son gave me this insane measure of confidence I never had. I can lug him around in yoga pants and a stained t-shirt and feel like a princess. It's been great.

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  13. Love this! I'm almost 17 weeks pregnant and totally feel you on the broken out face. Thanks for this post - definitely encouraging.

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  14. I remember this. I also remember thinking of how awesome it was to have a baby growing inside of me...and besides all of the cons that come with pregnancy there are so many more pros! After I gave birth I bounced back pretty quick. Although six weeks later I'm still not at my pre pregnancy size, I have no stretch marks and I feel awesome (water water water!). I've accepted that my hips will never be the same size, and my pants may never fit the same. But the little guy that I got from it makes everything worth it.

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  15. Oh, Kim, I so wish that you could see yourself as other people do, which is as pretty much the cutest thing ever. (And the way God sees you takes things to a whole.nother.level.)

    If you haven't read it already, get ahold of Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity. Beth really has her hand on the pulse of American women.

    For me, pregnancy didn't bring out as many feelings as did the aftermath. I mean, pregnant women are supposed to gain weight. And even though I lost my pregnancy weight within a reasonable time frame, the stage was set for weight struggles later on (which continue to this day).

    But no matter what havoc pregnancy(ies) wreak on your body, it is so worth it. God created us to bear children, and it is one of the greatest blessings you will ever have. (And BTW, one of my body wreckers--Craig Stafford--says hi.)

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    1. thanks for the book rec! adding it to my amazon cart now.

      thank you for your encouragement :)

      ((and tell that crazy kid i said hi!))

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    2. I will. I told him you were pregnant; can't remember whether I've told him it's a boy.

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  16. I'm 21 weeks with my first baby right now, and I am dealing with the exact same issues. My body has really just started changing within the past month or so, and every day I feel a little more panicky at the thought of how big I might really become over the next 20 or so weeks. My husband swears I am beautiful, but the trick is in believing it for myself. I am so absolutely overjoyed at the thought of the little guy growing inside me, and every kick I feel fills me with happiness...but when I look in the mirror I feel completely out of control and terrified. The thought of the changes that are coming...it's hard to grasp for someone who has always (unintentionally) put a lot of emphasis on physical appearance. It's so wonderful to hear that other mamas-to-be are dealing with the same feelings. I love the calls to action above, and plan to focus on them going forward. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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    1. the enemy convinced me that i was the only one struggling with this, which is why this posted so late in the day...i didn't think it was necessary. believe you're beautiful and that you're not alone. hang in there!

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  17. We struggle. It's a woman thing. It's a sin thing. It's a fallen world thing. Just remember God didn't create Eve to rock a bikini with perfect abs. He created her to reflect His beauty. What I need to remind myself daily as I am on my fourth pregnancy with little to no time to be or do anything outside of His grace! Pregnancy is quite the sanctifying process, isn't it? :)

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  18. Hey Kim,
    I stuggled with this myself...it's hard to gain weight to unimaginable new numbers even though it's for the baby. Every pregnant mama's body is different, and you will loose the weight when he's born. I gained 30 pounds with my daughter, and now that she is 6 months old, I've since lost 41 pounds. Breastfeeding works miracles ;)

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  19. I think 99.9% of women can relate to this. For me it was the lack of exercise and or eating healthy that got to me. Normally I exercise, not religiously, but enough to keep a steady balance between myself and the food I eat {for the most part I eat fairly well but I don't pass up on a good piece of cake now and again lol}.

    When I was pregnant I struggled to continue that balance. I ate a lot, large portions and not once did I exercise, and because of that I gained 80lbs. Everything became swollen on top of all the extra weight gain and nothing fit {I stretched out all of my husbands sweatshirts because of this lol!}. My son was born 8lbs 15oz. In the end all that mattered was that he was healthy, which he was! I was left with a body that I didn't take care of and I beat myself up over that. Not so much because of the whole body image but because I was once someone who was fairly active and I let myself down by not taking care of {myself}, especially during a time which is MOST important {pregnancy}. Luckily, after about a year of hard work I was able to shed all the baby weight.

    To this day I still think back during that time. Not only was it hard for to realize I was gaining weight, but even harder to think I allowed myself to gain that much weight {80lbs is waaay to much to gain during pregnancy}.

    My son is almost 5 and although things never did go back the way they were before I got pregnant {especially since I had a c-section}, I have slowly learned to accept my 'new' body and I now know for whenever we have baby #2, I will be ready and will have more of a balance between food and exercise and overall health without obsessing about either end of the spectrum.

    Great post, thanks for sharing! :)

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  20. Thank you for outlining these reminders! I'm four weeks behind you in my first pregnancy as well and the first 12 weeks were miserable cause I hadn't gained a pound (still haven't at 19 weeks) but everything had shifted in a most unflattering way. When I get down on my shape (which I'm also totally amazed by every.single.day, talk about mood swingy) my husband will say something like, "Yeah, it's like you're growing a baby. Weird," with the, "you're beautiful and pregnancy is amazing" kind of tone. We're so blessed to have encouraging husbands to remind us what a gift pregnancy is even when it's difficult.

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  21. I love open + honest you are Kim!!!
    Happy holidays friend!! xo

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  22. Thanks for your honesty! I have felt the same way. I have spent this pregnancy dreaming of being able to wear regular clothes again, complaining about ugly maternity clothes, and worrying about if my body will bounce back to normal after the baby comes. It wasn't until my sis-in-law, who had just suffered a miscarriage, talked some sense into me that I realized what I was doing. She said to just be happy I was pregnant! I felt so selfish. I am trying to focus on the excitement of the baby now instead of on my growing body!

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  23. I have struggled with self image issues since I was a teenager...or like 12 to be more exact. I struggled with anorexia and bulemia and to this day (I am 27 now) I still struggle with my self image. I feel like I'm not thin enough, pretty enough, etc. Society doesn't help, either.

    But, I learn a little more each day to accept myself for who I am and whatever size I am is okay. It's not easy, but I'm working on it.

    Also, I think you are super adorable pregnant!

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  24. I loved reading your thoughts in this post! I can certainly relate to what you had to say about body image, and I'm not even pregnant! I found it to be very refreshing. Thank you.

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  25. Love that you wrote this post. It was wonderfully said. I can relate on so many levels (though not the pregnancy part, just yet). This is a great reminder for us girls to be nicer to ourselves and accept our bodies as they are. You look great, girl! Hope you have a great day! :)
    Rachel
    http://sugar-stripes.blogspot.com/

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  26. Well said!!! I love that last step especially. We are beautiful in gods eyes, just as our children and your little boy will be beautiful in your eyes no matter what!!
    My husband is constantly reminding me not to put my insecurities onto my daughter because it's my burden not hers. (in a nice way of course!) I'm constantly catching myself doing this because I have social issues. She is so much more like her daddy, confident, outgoing, a social butterfly and if I was to hinder that because I'm not that way I could never forgive myself. Our issues need to remain our own because once you bring a little one into the world it's not about us any more!!

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  27. You're spot on. I was in your shoes. I see cute pregnant women and get all insecure and frumpy feeling. I pray you remember this after the baby comes too. It is nothing like trying to find something to wear when you're 8 months pregnant, but it is frustrating when you realize your hips and boobs are straight up a different size! I've just started, after 3 months, to pack some things away until I know they will fit me. I can't afford a new wardrobe at the moment, but I'll be hitting up some thrift stores the next couple of weeks to find some transitional clothes. Size no longer matters to me - just that I feel good in my skin. That's all you can do!

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  28. I may not be pregnant, but I can relate to so very much of this post. Those insecurities and fears we all struggle with are really so unnecessary.

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  29. I just want to say, that you look just as good as Reese in that picture you posted. I'm sure it's really hard if you already have some insecurities before becoming pregnant, but you really do look beautiful. And as someone who hasn't been able to get pregnant, I'd love to be sporting that bump, and I love to have to worry about what I can wear and what does/doesn't fit me anymore. Just remember how lucky you are :)

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    1. which is exactly why point #1 was number one up there :)

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  30. Oh Kim very well said! I struggled a lot in the beginning with my self image and body and fat legs and growing face and all of that, but throughout my pregnancy, I learned to embrace it. It is an amazing thing what a female body can do and of course everyone knows a preggo lady is gaining weight for themselves and to support their baby! :)

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    1. so true. our bodies are made for this and it's AMAZING. we should probably brag on ourselves more than complain haha ((just kidding but kiiiind of serious))

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  31. Soooo right there with you girl! Check out this short post I made right after my last one was born! http://zoeloveallovertheland.blogspot.com/2012/03/body-image.html

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  32. Amen. Thanks for the reminder we all need to hear every now and then!! :)
    Joanna
    belovedjarofclay.blogspot.com

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  33. Very well said and speaks to anyone and everyone at any age...Seriously, I was going through newsfeed and saw you and thought 'Oh great I want to see how cute Kim looks with a baby belly..' And you are as precious as ever! Yes the glow is there and I cannot believe you are 23 weeks already??!! You look great! Embrace, live and love!!

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  34. I really needed to hear this right now! Thank you so much!!!!

    http://morganatthemoment.blogspot.com

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  35. I am 24 weeks pregnent ( I think we are the same week) but this was such an encouragment to me. I have been all about fitness and running and never felt "good enough" look wise. Well now that I am gaining weight and have offically poped out my face is puffy and nothing fits right I feel even more "not enough" I read what you have been dealing with and its exsactly mt life at this moment, thank you for putting it to words and giving the encouragment that you did, because we are made in His image and we do need to give it to prayer. And I never would have thought "I worship myself" but with how I have been consumed with the way I feel I know that I have been. Thank you again, and you look absolutly amazing!

    Nicole
    nicandcolebrittingham.blogspot.com

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  36. Great post! Thanks for sharing and being so honest! At 27 weeks pregnant I can definitely relate. I've been tempted to throw away everything in my closet that doesn't fit. It can be very frustrating just getting dressed and trying to feel pretty. Some days I just stay in my yoga pants all day and that surely doesn't help :)
    I really love your points about being thankful and finding out security in the Lord. Thanks again for sharing!

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  37. Thank you for sharing with us! It is refreshing to hear as I too struggle with my body image. I remind myself all the time that I was made in God's image, but man is it hard to fully accept that and well...believe it. Thank you for sharing you heart. You truly are beautiful!

    Kelsey
    http://kelseyleesplace.blogspot.com/

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  38. YOU GO GIRL! It gets harder and harder through pregnancy and for me....after pregnancy is a rude awakening to what has actually just happened to my body. I've struggled for 3 years with body image and learning to love my new body, and it's a TOUGH road. But worth it every time I look into the eyes of my precious babies that God has blessed me with. Amazing blessings I don't deserve. So I'll take my new body, because it's seriously worth the outcome. Times a million. ((Thanks for linking up your post with us!))

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  39. I clicked on this link via twitter and was actually expecting to be upset/angry by the title. I fall into #1 of your Call to Action list and have been really hurt by pregnant women who have complained about their growing bodies or how "fat they are." In sin, I am quick to call these women insensitive and ungrateful. I (and soooo many other women) would LOVE for our bodies to grow and change in that way. What a precious gift that would be...the marks of motherhood!

    Shockingly, I wasn't upset at all after reading this post because I am now a little more understanding of the ways the enemy attacks the pregnant women with lies about body image. The enemy is constantly attacking barren and pregnant women filling us with horrible lies about our bodies. I pray protection against all of us from these attacks. Thanks for sharing!

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  40. Kim, I so appreciate your transparency. I didn't struggle with this till the very end of pregnancy and honestly I am struggling with it more after having our little girl. I lost all the baby weight but NOTHING fits the same. It can be quite a challenge when you think you will be able to wear most of your clothes again and you still have to wear some of your maternity clothes (or husbands clothes) for a while.

    My husband keeps reminding me that I am beautiful and that he loves me just like I am, but it is still a struggle. I continually have to remind myself that I am created by God. If I am saying that I am too heavy, or I don't like my body now, or I feel too... fill in the blank, then I am saying that one of God's creations is wrong. Now that couldn't be possible.

    Thanks for your encouragement and for speaking truth today. I REALLY needed to hear this.

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  41. So I'm not pregnant, and am not really planning on it for awhile, and to be honest, part of the reason for waiting (besides the whole financial, life situation thing) is because I don't want my body to change... I really don't. It's a selfish, idoltry thing and I'm glad I'm realizing it...

    thanks for your post & honesty with the things you struggle with.

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  42. This was amazing, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

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  43. Pregnancy is so amazing but so stressful on our body images as women! Near the end of my pregnancy my belly was so big (but thankfully no where else was) that I got all my stretch marks in the last month. I think what's been harder to accept than my changing body during pregnancy, is the changes that have happened afterwards. The texture of my skin on my stomach, the hormones having a party, my lucious pregnancy hair starting to fall out, stretch marks leaving their signature everywhere.... Pregnancy changes your body so much and forever, it's crazy! You're not alone in wondering if you're too big already or if your face looks heavy - we all go through it and struggle with the same feelings :)

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  44. thank you for being transparent enough to write this. I am 7 months post partum, and still have a few pounds to lose. Plus, my hips have expanded since having miss Caroline, so my jeans and pants don't fit like I would like. I really struggled today with my appearance. Thank you for reminding me to return my focus to Him and how He views me. That is what is MOST important. P.S.-- I think you're a beautiful pregnant lady! :)

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  45. I know I will need to re-read this post if I ever have little ones, thanks for posting this! And by the way, you do look beautiful!

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