I think every woman has struggled with seeing beauty in herself at some point in her life. I spent most of my teens and twenties fixated on small flaws and I over looked the beauty in myself because of that. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in my 30s or because I've watched my body go through so many changes over the last few years but I can happily say I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to change a thing about my body! Yes, I still have days where I pick it apart but I am always reminded of its beauty.
My heart’s desire came true.
After almost two years of trying and waiting and praying for a baby our dreams came true. Looking back it was perfect timing, God definitely taught my husband and I a few lessons and showed us that He had a better plan than we did- I can honestly say during that time I fought with God and He showed me that He was in control. I struggled to see it at the time but now I see that He was showing me that I can’t plan everything in my life and that I just need to trust Him. Even though I was upset that my body wasn’t giving me the baby I so badly wanted, I still came to appreciate the potential it had to carry life. I ate well and worked out like a mad woman (cardio, weights, and yoga four days a week- I had so much free time on my hands back then). Just about the time I was feeling so proud of accomplishing my goal of getting back in shape, I started to feel real….off. Literally the week after I took all of my jeans to the alteration shop I found out I was pregnant!
My body began to change almost immediately, I had horrible morning sickness in the beginning but slowly that tapered off and I got to the point where I wanted to eat everything in sight. I was gaining weight rapidly and my body was quickly shifting and changing into something I didn't recognize, but I was ok with it because I was growing a hungry little baby! By the end of my pregnancy I was getting comments from friends and strangers about how big my belly was, I was huge! I had a few break downs of “oh pitiful me, I’m a whale” but for the most part I was ok (or at least tried to be ok) with the changes that my body was going through. It was fascinating to me that my ribs were spreading to make room for a growing little one, it amazed me that my boyish hips had become strong enough to support my son’s ever expanding little body. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in life, looking back it really was a miracle.
The scary summer.
Six months after having my son I went in for a routine check up with my doctor. I was back working out, eating well, and trying to take care of myself the best I could while juggling all of the life changes that come with having a baby. I was feeling pretty good so when my doctor found what appeared to be a large cyst on one of my ovaries during the checkup I was shocked and pretty shaken up. We immediately had an MRI done and soon after had surgery to remove the mass. My doctor couldn’t guarantee it wasn’t cancer without removing the cyst and running tests on it, I wanted it out of my body as soon as possible and needed to know that it wasn't cancer. My husband kept a strong front up to keep me from falling apart, our family stepped in to help with our son, and we made it through two weeks of me being on bed rest.
The test came back and the cyst was benign (thank GOD!). Once we found out it wasn’t cancer my husband confessed that he was just as scared as I was. It was a real wake up for us both, we kind of felt like we had hit 30 and started falling apart!
Peace after the storm.
After going through a natural birth (with a baby who was 8 lbs 9 oz) and then six months later having surgery that left me with a c-section like scar across my abdomen with damaged nerves that are still (almost a year later) on the mend, I really appreciate my body. I love that it carried my son, I love the bags under my eyes because they remind me that my life is full (and really they’re nothing good makeup can't fix), I love my new wider hips (I’ve always wanted curves), I love how strong my arms have become from carrying a my little boy and all of his little boy things, I love the scar on my tummy that reminds me of how strong my husband was for me when I was a ball of nerves.
Find your pretty place.
No matter what your body has been through it is beautiful! Maybe you’re struggling with infertility or you’re on the mend from birthing twins, maybe you have gotten so busy with work and family that you have lost the time to dedicate to your own health, maybe you have been put down by so many people in your life that you can’t see your own beauty. Take time out of your day today and remember what your body has survived, what your body is capable of, and know that your body is fearfully and wonderfully made!