I think everyone deals with insecurities, especially about their bodies. I went through a pretty destructive self-hate phase in middle school and early high school. People always assume that if you’re “skinny” you’re happy, which is definitely not true at all. When people would complain about their bodies, I would join in. I got many eye rolls and envious glares. “You have nothing to complain about!” they’d say in the locker room. But that didn’t cease the insecurities, but rather push them deeper.
I finally got to a place in my life where I actually loved myself. I was confident in my body and how I was designed. I could easily push negative thoughts and imagery out of my mind. This didn’t happen until college, but it happened. I was proud to have pushed past it all and entered a true self-love phase. I thought that I had mastered the art of loving oneself and would never have to deal with that again.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t until my third trimester until the negativity came back. It came with a vengeance. Maybe it’s because I’m the largest I’ve ever been, maybe it’s the hormones, or maybe it’s a bit of both. However, it’s not really the number on the scale or the pregnant belly that I’m insecure about but the reality that my body will never be what it once was. For those of you who don’t live on my side of the town, it’s summer here in Central Florida, which means most of the people I know are at the beach constantly. My Instagram and facebook feeds are filled with tan bodies, abs, bikinis, and belly rings. All of which, I do not have.
I look at those around me and realize that I’m being pulled back into that dark phase. Sure, my stretch marks are in hidden places but they’re there and I see them. I wonder if my stomach will ever look normal and if I’ll ever be comfortable with wearing a two-piece in public ever again.
The worst part of the comparison is when you involve it in your relationships. Maybe this is too personal, but will Chris ever truly desire me again? Will he look at my body and be happy with what it is? Will he still think I’m sexy? I know he will and I know that I don’t have anything to worry about. I know that Chris loves me, will always love me, and would never do anything to hurt me or break our vows. But when you’re not even satisfied with yourself, you wonder if anyone else will be. You second-guess compliments and analysis their validity through your microscope of a mind. Then when people say hurtful things (even accidently) your glass wall of confidence shatters and you crawl into a hole where you repeat the comments like a chant and cry because it’s easier to believe the criticism than it is to believe the kind words that people speak into your life.
Why that is, I don’t know and, unfortunately, at least for me, the problem can’t be cured with compliments, healthy foods, or massive amounts of endorphins. Because at the end of the day when you’re in bed staring at the faint light creeping under the bedroom curtains, it’s just you. Compliments aren’t sustaining, endorphins wear off, and you’re left feeling empty.
What saved me many years ago, I know will save me again: Jesus. I know that seems crazy, but Jesus literally saved my life years ago and His Word restored my confidence. What makes God’s Word different than the compliments that get tossed around is this:
When I read this verse and what it means, I know it’s talking more about the correction of sin and that the Word trains us to be godly and righteous. But to me, it also means more. God’s word has power.
It rebukes the lies we hear from ourselves and others. It shows us the truth and helps correct our train of thought. So when it says in Psalm 139:14, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I know can stand firm in the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I can be confident in the knowledge that my God made my body the way He saw fit and that it’s beautiful and amazing.
As far as being pregnant, God designed my body to develop this baby. My body was designed to provide and sustain life. I shouldn’t be ashamed that my body is growing or that it’s being stretched. Stretch marks are a small price to pay for a beautiful life that God created for a purpose.
If you’re like me and truly struggling with your image, meditate on Psalms 139:14. Pray it over yourself. Put it somewhere you can see it. Make it a reminder on your phone. You’re not speaking fallacies but rather the truth you either have not been told or have chosen not to believe. I know it’s hard to push past the lies, I’m struggling hard right now too. But it’s possible. We can do it.
You can do it.