One of the most pressing issues for many postpartum women is losing the baby weight. Indeed, after the birth of my first daughter, it took me (at least) a full year to get back down to my “normal” size. I had been careful about the weight I gained during my first pregnancy. As a matter of fact, after an ultra-sound at 37 weeks when Mica was estimated to weigh only about 4 lbs., the doctor actually told me to go eat some donuts and ice cream. I did and she was born at 41 week at a small but healthy 6lbs. 4 oz.
My weight issues date back to my childhood. I, like many, was bombarded with images of what women were “supposed” to look like and I remember well hearing my mother and the church women gossip about how fat they felt (even though they were at a perfectly healthy size), how they were trying to fit in such & such a dress size and weight. Children are well-know to be imitators. I was going through a typical awkward / chubby phase (age 10-12) and my best friend and I used to mimic our mothers, “Oh you look fabulous! Look at all this fat I have on me!” Statements like that were a common theme throughout our play sessions, where we also would step on the scale and try on “the dress” (which, of course, I couldn’t get zipped). My friend would say something reassuring like, “it’s just water weight” or “it’s because we just ate,” to try to console me.
But I didn’t feel better. Even after going through an upward growth spurt around age 13, I still felt fat. So I went on a strict diet. By 14, I had become a vegetarian and ate like a bird. (And “the dress” that I was once to fat for finally fit.) The same family members who once worried I was too chubby were now concerned I had an eating disorder. I maintained I was just being healthy. Call it what you wish, but whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy for me, mentally.
The “I’m fat” mind-set followed me into adulthood. I am 5’4 and never weighed over 125 lbs. I was usually around 115 and every time I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could see were the flaws. My husband tried to help me. He encouraged me often, daily even, telling me I looked beautiful and that helped a little. But after so many years of believing the enemy’s lies, it was just so hard for me to believe.
Satan had a stronghold on me in this area. It wasn’t vanity exactly. I often walked around with messy hair and no make-up in thrift store clothes. But they had to be size 2, or I’d consider them my “fat day” clothes. Maybe it was also due to years of photo-shopped media influence. (I’ve read that the size of most Hollywood actresses fall into the 1st percentile of the general population of women’s sizes).
Anyway, during the first half of my second pregnancy, I felt like I was gaining too much weight. My sister and I were both due within days of each other and indeed, family members confirmed that I was bigger. (Not that I was trying to compare). “I hear your belly shows sooner with subsequent pregnancies. This is her first pregnancy,” I would try to reassure myself.
I’ve written recently about how I was depressed and in a bad place when I found out I was having twins (https://theearthquakers.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/i-see-two-heads/), and about how God relieved my burden that day. He lifted the weight off my mind too.
After my appointment, we went out to eat to celebrate. My husband started to gently lecture. I stopped him. I knew what I had to do. I had to grow these two little babies as big as I could and carry them for as long as I could. And I did.
I went 38 weeks & 6 days and gave birth to two healthy, beautiful twins weighing in at 6 lbs. 3 oz (Bella) & 6 lbs. 9 oz. (Brooks – bigger than singleton Mica)! I never felt guilty about eating while I was pregnant.
Since having the babies a little over a year ago, I have focused on being a good mommy. I (usually) eat healthy foods and keeping up with 4 kids counts as exercise! But my weight has been the furthest thing from my mind. I am so in awe at what my body did… no, in awe of what God did through the body I once saw as ugly. And I see myself the way he sees me. I am beautiful now.
Double Double Talk Quote: 1: “The book says my baby is the size of a grape!” – me looking in the mirror at my belly at only a few weeks pregnant. 2: “Come on, you’ve eaten french fries sometime over the last 14 years!” – Jeff’s disbelief when I told him that. “Nope” I said, as I popped one in my mouth.
Bible Verse: Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,a
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Word that has Lost its meaning: diet (replace with “healthy eating”)
Relatable Lyrics: “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk