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Body Image During Pregnancy

Body Image During Pregnancy

by Hannah Bollinger

This post originally appeared in the Woven Beautiful Blog.

I’ve been feeling movement for a little while and the other evening I felt some definite kicks for the first time. After tucking our son in for bed, my husband and I sat on the couch discussing the details of the day. Then the nudging in my left side began and continued for several minutes. Eventually I exclaimed, “This baby is definitely kicking!”

A proud grin lit up my husband’s face.

Life is precious. Life is beautiful. The development of a little life inside the womb is amazing.

King David got it right:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

~ Psalm 139: 13-14 {ESV}

Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s body becomes a nurturing home for a growing baby and endures many changes along the way. It’s an intricate process, designed by God to bring life into the world.

And life has always been a part of His perfect plan.

In the Garden of Eden, prior to the fall, Adam gives his wife a name.

“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” ~ Genesis 3:20 {ESV}

The name Eve means life.

Woman was chosen by God to have the ability to bear life. This is undoubtedly a special role to play and role that also transforms a woman’s body.

Stretch marks, swollen feet, spider veins, varicose veins, weight gain, skin blemishes, extra padding in places that were once toned…

These are just a few of the possible changes a woman might experience while pregnant, and none of these things are looked upon as desirable in our culture. Some of these pregnancy marks diminish postpartum, but some are like a permanent marker.

Why do so many pregnant women struggle to accept these changes during pregnancy and into postpartum? And why do so many women feel the pressure to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies so soon after the marathon of giving birth?

Satan successfully deceived Eve into believing lies {Genesis 3: 1-7}. He came to steal life then and he comes to steal life now. And if he can’t win a soul, he will still try to steal a person’s joy, peace of mind, spirit of gladness, the sacredness of pregnancy and motherhood…

A woman’s body goes through an incredible amount of change and does an incredible amount of work to bring a little life into this world. The focus should be on nourishing the body that is home for the baby, not critiquing it.

But the enemy would rather us believe the lies.

Mamas, the enemy would rather steal our joy and wonder. The enemy would rather propel us into panic mode than see us rest in the promises of God. The enemy would rather us become so fixated on the mirror and lose sight of the truth that we are made in the image of the most Holy One of all and that in Christ we are new creations.

See that’s the thing about body image during pregnancy or anytime for that matter. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and while the ugliness of sin leaves it mark, in Christ we are beautifully made new {2 Corinthians 5:17}. The more grounded we are in these truths, the less the enemy can bully us with lies.

It’s not that we necessarily have to like stretch marks and stomach rolls, but we can accept these things for what they are and choose to instead focus on Whose we are and who we are in Him.

And to Him, we are beautiful, pregnancy marks and all.

And our bodies?

We don’t need to get them back after delivering babies. Remember what Jesus did for us so that we can have the gift of eternal life?

He laid down His body—His life for us.

The King subjected His body to unthinkable torment because of His bountiful love for us. He bears the scars that bring us life. His nail-pierced hands represent our value to Him and His Glorious Kingdom. His scars are beautiful because they symbolize amazing love, amazing grace, amazing hope for all mankind.

And in a similar way, the marks of pregnancy represent the sacrifice of our bodies for the life of our babies. A mother’s love for her children is a special kind of life-giving love.

So I continue to watch the number on the scale rise at each prenatal visit, knowing my little one is growing just as it’s meant to happen. And I pause in wonder as I feel those tiny kicks. And I notice my husband’s face of delight when I share about how Baby’s moving around. And I treasure my son’s wonder of my growing tummy and his tender love for his sibling.

This time is sacred. This time is a gift. And I won’t let the enemy snatch it away.


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