Tuesday, November 5, 2013

beyond the external.

i find myself struggling a lot with my feelings surrounding my body during this pregnancy. honestly, feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with my appearance have plagued me most of my life, and pregnancy is no different. in fact, i think they're somewhat exacerbated in pregnancy. i've never been what i would consider extremely overweight or anything. i'd probably be considered average more often than not. but the real issue for me is emotional. the ideal body has always seemed unattainable to me. in many ways, it probably is. let's face it, i'm 5'8" and have a larger frame. i'm never going to be considered "petite" and i'm certainly never going to weigh 110 lbs.

the problem really lies in the fact that it's not really about my weight. i mean, in my head it is. but when i think over the years of fluctuating weight, i don't think the nagging feeling that i was unattractive and fat ever really went away, whether i was at my highest weight or my lowest. if those feelings truly went away with losing weight, then i'd have more hope that i could kick these feelings. but obviously this issue goes beyond the external.

it's a vicious cycle- i try to eat healthy, but inevitably life gets in the way, i eat things i "shouldn't" or eat more than i need and i let it derail me. my feelings of failure and frustration lead me to continue eating poorly and the cycle continues.  i've been stuck in this cycle for as long as i can remember. it's not healthy for me physically or emotionally, and i know that but i guess i don't know how to change it.

this has been even that much harder in pregnancy when i'm supposed to be gaining weight. even though i know you gain weight when you're pregnant, actually seeing the number creep up on the scale is disheartening. when you start out at a weight you're not happy with as it is, it makes things that much more difficult. i want to keep a tight reign on my weight gain, but to a certain point it's out of my control. it's not just gaining body fat. my blood supply is drastically increasing, the baby is growing, the placenta is growing, and all kinds of other crazy things are happening. when you're not pregnant, weight gain is usually a direct reflection of your actions (diet and exercise). when you're pregnant, that's only a part of the equation. but i've "trained" myself over years and years to see an increasing number on the scale as failure and a decreasing number as success. it's not easy to dismiss those deeply ingrained beliefs just because i'm pregnant.

19 weeks
we find out on thursday if we're having a boy or a girl. i will truly be so excited either way- it really doesn't matter to me. i want to hear that the baby is growing strong and healthy, just as he or she should be, and that's honestly all i care about. but i do have to admit i'm somewhat fearful of having a girl. not only because i've already had a boy and feel like i have a better handle on how to be a mom to a boy, but also because i'm afraid to pass along my issues with body image and weight on to a daughter. not that boys are immune to it, but i think it's far more common struggle for girls. blame pop culture, blame genetics, blame whatever. i think it's just a fact that girls are more prone to issues with food, weight and appearance. and i don't want my daughter to feel about herself and her appearance the way i often feel about myself and my appearance.

jennifer polimino writes "pray for your baby," a website that sends weekly emails that correspond with each week of your pregnancy and encourage you to pray for your growing babe. i read this in the email from week 17 and it definitely struck a chord.

Dear Lord, as my baby continues to grow, I pray that he/she will gain the right amount of weight, including the healthy amount of body fat. Help me to eat in a healthy way and exercise on a regular basis so I don't put my baby in jeopardy of having diabetes or other obesity-related health issues. Give me the strength to avoid junk foods and excessive sugar and fat.

Lord, help me to concentrate on good health and not become obsessed with body weight and body image. I know my self-worth comes from You, and not from the way I look. Please help me with that, and help me pass on to my child only good attitudes about his/her appearance and his/her weight. Protect my child from eating disorders and a poor self-image.

Empower us, as a family, to live a healthy lifestyle. Empower us to be good testimonies of Your love, forgiveness and life-changing power. I pray that we would shine from an inner glow of Your Holy Spirit, and that it would attract people to You.

Dear God, please continue to bless and guide my baby's development. I thank You for Your love and protection.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

if that doesn't get to the heart of what i'm going through, i don't know what does. that is my prayer and i'm committing to praying that prayer throughout the remainder of this pregnancy. i need to lean on God to help me with this struggle both now and as i raise my kids.

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