Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. I always encourage people to be the best version of themselves because that’s just the way that God made them. But then I don’t do the same thing for myself. I don’t give myself any grace. I have trouble accepting things about myself. I am generally really, really hard on myself.
There is a movement happening on FB and Insta (look up Fourth Trimester Bodies, Jade Beall Photography, the hashtags #ThisIsPospartum and #TakeBackPostpartum on Instagram). It’s all about mothers loving our post-baby bodies. I love it. I hate it.
It’s cool to see all of these women taking pictures of their c section scars and stretch marks or their fit bodies and commenting about their other mommy struggles. But the posts always seem to have some form of the “but it’s all worth it” phrasing at the end. I feel like if we actually thought all of the changes were “worth it” we wouldn’t have to keep saying so over and over and over again. It’s as though these women are trying to make themselves feel better about the changes that their body is going through. And, believe me, I COMPLETELY understand! I want to feel better about the way that I look. I’m seriously wondering when I’ll magically lose weight since I’m breastfeeding and breastfeeding is supposed to aid in weightloss post baby. Right now, I feel like that is a lie! I’m so glad that I’ve been able to breastfeed Laila Grace but I’m not happy that I’m generally bigger and heavier than I was was when I was about to give birth to her. Like, how in the world does that happen?! But, it is true that I’ve struggled with this self-esteem stuff for a long time… at least since I was 12 or 13 and none of the boys thought I was pretty…
With God’s help, I’ve overcome a lot of the barriers that hindered my self acceptance. I don’t usually despise the way that God created me. I am usually really good about remembering that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. But something happened. I saw a picture of myself and I was like, “What the heck?! Is that how I look?!?!” And then I was sad. Like seriously sad that I look different than I thought I did.
I saw that picture and then, all of a sudden, I wasn’t content with the journey or the process that my body is going through. I didn’t feel like I was working hard enough. I didn’t remember that I have time to enjoy the transition from pregnancy to postpartum. It is possible to enjoy this journey just like it was possible for me to enjoy the journey of going from a sloth to a runner just a few years ago. The changes won’t happen over night. I wish they would but then what would I learn in the process??? Nothing. I complained to my friend who wrote the guest post “Why I don’t diet.” (Via MyFitnessPal) and she reminded me of a verse in the bible:
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’” (Isaiah 45:9-10 NLT)
And, man, it hit me hard. How can I be unsatistfied with my body without also complaining to the One who made me? Ugh. That’s so rough. I can’t do both. I can’t complain about my body without telling God that He made me wrong. I know He didn’t make me wrong because He said that He formed me in my mama’s womb, that He created me just so and that He was (and IS) satisfied with His creation: ME. (That’s my paraphrase of my favorite scripture, Psalms 139.)
But, does that mean that just because He created me and said I was “good” that I no longer need to nourish my body, or treat it kindly with the words that I think and speak over myself, with the foods that I eat, with the negative self talk? Nope. Because He created me and said I am “good,” I should feel more prone to do the things that I just listed…but I don’t always do it. And that’s why I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like I’m saying one thing and doing another. That picture has me feeling “some type of way” as my sister, Dee, would say.
I may not feel wonderfully made but I know that I am wonderfully made. I may not feel good about my body but I’m still going to continue to nourish my body. Even when I don’t see outward evidence of the work that I’m putting in. I’ve been here before. I know how it works. There were months and months where even though I didn’t see any progress of all of the work I was putting in, I just kept on going. I kept telling myself that that was a test. A test of faith. Could I continue to do a good work when I didn’t see that fruit? (That’s biblical, too.) I proved to myself that I could back then and now, that testimony will propel me to continue to do that good work even though I’m not seeing the fruit. This process doesn’t make me a hypocrite, I guess it just makes me human.