Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Redemption of My Physical Body: part eleven

A word about pregnancy. :)

Okay, I wasn't going to post this until later, but my friend Molly made a comment and I thought, I just need to say something in regards to my pregnancy.

When you are pregnant you get all kinds of advice. Do this, don't do that, you need to gain weight, you shouldn't gain very much weight and all that junk. When you are pregnant everyone feels the need to tell you their pregnancy stories. Maybe they gained 70 pounds and lost it all while breastfeeding. Maybe they only gained 25 pounds but are still struggling to lose it. Some gain all at the beginning, some towards the end. All of this "advice" should be taken with a grain of salt. Each person's body is completely different from the next. God made each of our bodies unique in the way we react to the hormones, the babies themselves. I've heard of moms who have had two completely different experiences with their pregnancies. So when we are pregnant we need to be relying on God, on the Holy Spirit. He knows our bodies and knows what is BEST for us specifically. Sometimes you can use good, plain common sense too, to help guide you.

I will say that my pregnancy was excellent. I was tired and nauseated in the first trimester, but Ben got me out exercising even when I was cursing as we were walking out the door. My second trimester I was somewhat tired, but I felt pretty normal, my body was used to the hormones and I wasn't feeling sick as often. Third trimester was uncomfortable, but not terrible. I gained about 30 pounds, but most of it wasn't until the end.

I didn't own a scale so every time we went to the Dr's office I was nervous that I had gained a lot of weight, but I hadn't. It was the mercy of God that allowed me not to gain weight. I remember being terrified that I would gain massive amounts of weight as a pregnant woman and would have no control over it. But I remember talking to a friend who had gained about 70 pounds and asking her if she felt like it could have been prevented. After thinking it over for a moment she said, "Yes, I feel like it could have been prevented." She explained that she felt like maybe she used pregnancy and feeling nauseated all the time as an excuse to eat. So I took what she said to heart.

I remember some of the best advice I received was from our pastor's wife (who has been pregnant 10 times, so she kinda knows what she's talking about). She said to let my body go on auto-pilot. You just eat what your body tells you to eat, rest when it says rest, get exercise and you will be fine. (That's the Jody paraphrase). So that's what I did. Sometimes my appetite was enormous! Sometimes I ate like a normal person, sometimes I just wasn't hungry. I drank a lot of whole milk in my first trimester because as soon as I opened up the refrigerator to get a snack I couldn't take the smells, so I just held my breath and poured a glass of milk and it held me pretty well. ... Now, my body didn't work completely perfectly, I had to take a fiber pill every morning so that I would be regular. I think Levi was sitting right on my intestines.

As far as exercise goes, I walked. I used to think walking was pointless, why walk when you can run? Now I LOVE walking. I usually walked in the morning after Ben left for work. I would go anywhere from 1-3 miles depending on how I was feeling that day. If it was the weekend or I hadn't gotten it in that day, Ben and I would go together. I walked for two reasons: to keep my weight reasonable and so that I could have a natural childbirth. I had a renewed confidence in what my body could do and I believe that God created us as women to birth babies. Even though childbirth is painful, it is beautiful and miraculous. It's like it's a good pain that needs to be experienced. Sadly, I didn't get to experience it since Levi was breech. We had to have a C-section. But my recovery went SO WELL and I think it was because I was in such good shape. My heart was strong, my body was strong, my recovery was slow, but good. With the next one I want to be a rock star like my sister-in-law and have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

Now, in all of this I am only speaking from my own experience. I have a friend who could tell you that her experience was throwing up all day every day (literally, it's amazing she's alive after THREE pregnancies, she's another rock star).

Bearing children is a beautiful thing. It is miraculous to think that we start out microscopically and grow in this perfect womb from there. I couldn't help but think that when I was putting food into my mouth it wasn't just for me. More than ever I didn't want to binge and hurt my body because it wasn't just my own anymore. It was a home for this new little life and I was responsible for him. Ben said he saw both his sister and sister-in-law really come out of eating disorders when they became pregnant and started to have children. I think the reason is that their lives and their eating was not just about them anymore. I still want to take care of myself so that I will have energy to play with Levi, so that I can bear more children and they be as easy as having Levi.

I never thought I could possess a selfless love. Okay, and on some levels I'm not there. But being a mom has more than ever ALLOWED me not to focus on myself. My thoughts are on whether or not Levi has eaten, if he has been changed, does he need to sleep, those are the first places I go. Then I think about me. I still struggle with selfishness and having kids is not a "fix all" but I feel like it was the grace of God that took my eyes off myself and put them on someone else. Of course, in this, I need to put Ben's needs above all else, then Levi's but that's another story for another day. :)

Thank you for allowing me to share part of my experience. I feel like the redemption of my body has taken place because of two people: my husband who saw me as beautiful, and my son, who helped me to care for my body and has even helped me lose more weight than I thought I could. They are gifts from God. God is the One who has truly redeemed my body, mind and spirit. He works in amazing, surprising ways.

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