Not Fat, Simply Pregnant

As someone who has battled being overweight since childhood, pregnancy brings unique challenges to how I handle body image. Shifting my thinking to accept weight gain as necessary and even good becomes a consistent struggle.

Old fears that I thought I had dealt with resurface. Longing to gain God’s perspective on this special season in my life drives me to know Him more. It is a time for the potential of tremendous growth in my journey to see myself and my body as my Father does.

I have spent so much of my life fighting against gaining weight. How can I possibly be expected to suddenly shift gears and see weight gain as a wonderful thing?!? Yes, I know that I am gaining weight for the baby growing within me, but how come that additional weight shows up on my scale? I have long been a critic of the practice of weighing a pregnant woman at each checkup. I know I am gaining weight. Please just trust me. I have also taken my share of teasing because I will not weigh without taking my shoes off.

Amidst this battle to accept that weight gain is actually a good thing, comes the old familiar accusing whispers of the enemy that I will never be able to lose the weight again. Regardless of how many times I may successfully lose the baby weight, there remains a nagging fear that this will be the pregnancy that leaves me fat. During an early pregnancy, my doctor refused to allow me to use the word fat when describing how I felt. She would simply remind me that I was only pregnant. I still remember her words and find them quite liberating.

As I again face my own brokenness in this area of body image, I sense my loving Father calling me to something so much better. It is a call not to view pregnancy as another weight battle but as a privilege to walk for a brief time in the footsteps of my Lord and Savior who gave His life away. I have the opportunity to sacrifice my body that the precious little one within me might live. It is a beautiful picture of Christ that I would completely miss if I remained focused on something so trivial as weight gain.

Pregnancy can be a challenge for someone who struggles with weight gain and body image. So many changes happen to a woman’s body in such a relatively short period of time. It is so easy to focus on myself, but God is calling me through this pregnancy and every challenge I face in my life to fix my eyes on Jesus.

So how about you? What temptations do you face to gain God’s perspective on your body and who has He created you to be?
~Michelle Maenche, Spartanburg

For more about what God’s Word has to say about body image, see The Body Masked, The Body Created, The Body Managed, and The Body Redeemed.