Whether you lost a baby, had a full term baby, or have never been pregnant, I think many people can find something they will relate to in this post.
I’m gonna be honest in this…well I’m always honest…but I am going to try not to sugar coat my actual feelings. With my job, I work in health and fitness, I preach about mindset, self worth, body image, not comparing yourself, etc, etc, and I preach it all day every day. I whole heartedly believe in the things I tell my clients and other women, but the truth? I struggle with all the things I preach about too and I never struggled so hard until after we lost our baby.
My husband’s words that early morning in the hospital were like a seed planted in my brain, “Babe we’re going to get you back to 100%, we’re going to get you feeling physically good again, and I’m ready to try again whenever you are.” This seed almost drove me insane. I was back into a normal routine of normal activity a couple weeks after everything. I was just wanting so badly to feel like myself again. I wanted to get “right back” where I was pre pregnancy so I could feel good and we could start trying again…that was my focus. Too quickly, a new baby, my old body, and getting there quickly became my goal. (I shake my head as I type that sentence because how true it was and how in a bad place my mindset was.)
I thought it was going to be easy. That’s truly what I had hoped for. Well the aftermath and bleeding lasted about three weeks. The first week, I hardly left my home. By the fourth week I was back to working my normal schedule. In these few weeks I gained more weight than I had my whole pregnancy, I remember being SO incredibly frustrated. Why is my body doing this? I am supposed to be “getting back” to try again and here I am packing on weight. I tell people all the time to never see their self worth as a number, to never stress about the stupid scale….and yet there I was.
By the fourth week is when I truly felt like I was having a phantom pregnancy. My hormones dropped drastically but my body couldn’t keep up. I had just started to “pop” when I had him and although I hormonally knew I wasn’t pregnant anymore, my body was on a roll with growing. I remember stepping out of the shower one night and just stood looking at myself in the mirror. I turned to my husband and told him to look at me. “WHY do I look 5X more pregnant than I did when I was actually pregnant!” I cried. I still think back on this moment and how angry I was at my body. It was giving me a constant reminder of what could have been. Here is this cute belly with a bump but no baby in there to form it. What got even harder…I had a couple of people tell me how “cute my belly was.” One tried to even touch it. I shut that down real quick. There is nothing in there for you to touch.
I talked down to myself daily, I stressed internally, I doubted my strengths, my health, I just had a very negative mindset because my body was a constant reminder of what wasn’t there anymore. After about 4 weeks of torturing myself mentally I realized this was not how God wanted me living. The enemy was truly working on me to focus on the wrong thing during this season of my life. I know how to be healthy, I have good habits, I treat my body right externally, but he was not allowing me to do so internally. I was a wreck and completely too hard on myself. I gave myself no grace, no mercy, no love, for the tragic situation we had just been through. I made my physical self a goal to almost take the place of the grieving I should have still been going through. I took myself back to the mindset I had the morning I had him and remember the clarity God gave me and focused on the importance of this life, the importance of my body, the importance of our future.
I remember coming to this realization one day at home. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the enemy and the negative thoughts that he was just feeding me emotionally. I stopped whatever I was doing, went upstairs, sat in my rocker, and wrote this prayer:
“ God, I thank you so much for the body that you gave me and you let me live in it every day. I thank you for what this body can do and the strength that it has. But Lord, I need to give this body over to you. Help me to let go of the over analyzing, insecurity, and self doubt that I have when it comes to my physical self. God help my focus to always be my physical health and not what my body looks like. I have to practice what I preach and I need your help in keeping the enemy out of my mind. The feelings and thoughts of being inadequate are lies and I don’t need to listen. I pray I give these thoughts up to you and you take over mentally and spiritually when I don’t see my self worth as you see it. I give these insecurities to you. And I thank you for the body you have blessed me with and ALL that it is able to do. I Jesus name!”
I promise you, since this day I have truly been able to practice what I preach. Anytime I have felt overwhelmed or in a negative mindset, I go and read this prayer aloud. God will take our problems when we lay them at his feet. Some people may not relate to this specific problem when it comes to body image but I have worked with so many women that are WAY too hard on themselves. Who don’t give themselves enough credit and let their physical appearance or body image consume them. It is so so so incredibly sad to see. I can now say I truly understand (in my own way.)
We have all of these social media platforms like FB and Instagram where we just constantly compare ourselves to other people. And for what? What’s the point?? Not only do we compare our looks, but our family life, our jobs, our finances, our kids, our marriages, our parenting skills, our singleness, our vacations, and the list could go on and on and on. Whatever you feel like is consuming you, whatever your ‘comparison’ is that you struggle with, I pray you take that and lay it and Jesus’ feet. Don’t just lay it but LEAVE it. He has already died for our sake, for our burdens, for our sins. He wants us to give Him our troubles and our heartache. All we have to do is decide to give them to Him! By all means pray the prayer I prayed, or write your own words and have them there for when the enemy wants to invade and attack your mind. Recognize when it’s him trying to knock down the door of your emotions. You have the best security known to man and it’s the One who created you! Call on Him to keep the enemy out.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full and well.” Psalm 139:14. THIS! These words are the words we should hear every time we see our reflection in the mirror. These are the words we should reflect on daily instead of scrolling and comparing. No matter who you are, no matter what your struggles, my God, our God, THE GOD, made YOU. He formed you in your mother’s womb, every single thing about you, he made for a reason, for a purpose. Do you know that purpose? Do you see yourself the way God sees you? An artist never makes a masterpiece and tosses it to the side proud less, do they? No, they are proud of the work they made, they are proud of the details, every stroke in that piece, the artist did for a reason. God is proud of his work when he made each and every single one of us! We are HIS! It’s time we all take a step back and notice the details God uses in his work, in ourselves and in those around us!