Tuesday, April 21, 2009

what is it with us girls?!?!?

Beware boys . . .some girl talk is about follow.

So I just got home from the doctor's for my 6 week check up (technically it's 7 weeks but such is life).

It was nice to get out of the walls that are my house and see some of the outside world.

Not so nice? That thing they call a scale.

I was almost tempted to grab one of the girls out of her carseat quick so I could still claim an extra baby.

Now before I continue I feel a need for a disclaimer. I almost didn't write this post. I was afraid it would turn into one of those "SILENCE" conversations.

You know the type.

You run into someone who promptly begins to lament how gross they feel that day which is then followed with a ginormous pause and huge silence in the conversation.

And you know that in the said silence, you are supposed to quickly (and quickly is the key here), respond with, "OH NO . . . .you don't look gross. " ; )

That isn't my goal here.

I've just had this on my mind for a while and felt the need to express.

This time around post-partum has been a completely different experience - combine double baby weight and recovery from a c-section and at 7 weeks, I find myself with the total amount of baby weight I gained with Ava . . .still to lose.

Before I continue, please know that I know this is all realisitic, appropriate and normal. And while I don't expect to be back to my prebaby self anytime soon, that isn't saying it wouldn't be nice : ). But I don't have any unrealistic ideas or unhealthy plans in my head that my life should be different.

It's been alot harder for me this time around, though, as I've found myself in such a different situation with so many more limitations regarding my activities and MUCH less time to do something about it.

Last week were the first real walks I took as it was the first time I could so without abdomen pain from my c-section. I'm so excited to finally start being active again.

But what I've been thinking about alot lately is the fact that I find it so sad that in the midst of such an amazing time, that I can so easily focus on the flaws of my body. . and not the miracles (and I don't think I"m the only one out there like this).

Many of you know the journey I've been on with my body image in the past. I spoke a couple years ago to our church's high school girls and know one part I shared with them was my journey in embracing and believing the verse of Psalm 139:14:


God's taken me on an amazing journey and while it took a while, I thought I had embraced that verse as much as I could and really worked to live that truth out in my life.

This post-partum experience has shaken that up a bit.

It's easy in today's world to define ourselves by our outward appearance. It's easy, even as I work to improve my inward woman . . .to find security in the outer. God's been showing me that there still is an inbalance in my life and while maybe I had made huge improvements with my body image overall . . .I had made the mistake of placing far too much confidence in its strength and ability and what "I could do."

The reality of today?

I think I may give Kate from Jon and Kate plus 8 a run for "beautiful stomachs" right now (cough - think of Kate's before surgery belly people, not the AFTER surgery belly).

I could maybe run from my chair to the stairs without gasping for breath.

And after about 5 lunges, I could easily be done for the week. : )

There are days dressing can be quite a chore (as in figuring out what to wear . .not the act itself ; ) ) and I find myself too easily emotionally defined by what I see in the mirror.

And whoever decided that NOW was the time our church should do a photo directly obviously didn't check with me on the timing. : )

I know . . .the last bit is shallow and self-absorbed, but if we're being honest here . . .oh how I've thought it. : ) I guess better me than you - right?!

But as I've fought the lies satan so easily wants me to embrace day to day, I find God whispering some truths to my heart.

Like why is it that I, as a woman, can't marvel at a belly that has stretched beyond comprehension to safely carry two perfect babies into this world and thank Him for the marks that are daily reminders.

There are days I still can hardly believe my two perfect daughters both came from within me.

Why is it that I can't stop and, with grace, enjoy a time in my life where time allows us nothing but to soak in the new lives I brought home and not lament the activities I should be doing to erase such phsycial reminders.

Why is it I can't praise God for the two limbs that carried me and our babies around for 8 1/2 months . . .and that weren't limited to bed and to couch.

When that happens . . .when I can worship the works of the Creator and not the works of the created . . .my perspective suddenly changes.

I relax and enjoy my girls a little more.

I can be thankful with small changes that do occur . . .and not wearing myself out for the next 5 to come.

The walks become more restoring to my heart.

Returning strength is enjoyed and not hurried.

I see my God more . . and me less.

Sometimes I think I just still need to go back to the truth that is in the passage of Psalm 139. I like how the Message says it:

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. "

You know, no where in that whole passage is its truth limited to one specific time in our life or that one picture we have of ourselves that we feel most comfortable with.

The truth is . . .that it's truth, regardless.

Not when I'm this.

Not once I'm that.

Not if only.

It is.

God has laid the burden on my heart that I need to make choices to choose His truth . . and not the "truths" our world loves to sell us.

I want to honor Him in what He has done . . .and I want my daughters to see that in the way I treat myself . . .both in words and in actions. I want them to see their lives as the miracles they are . . .and not the changes they brought.

I know I need to make some choices differently in the days ahead and I"m praying I can begin today.

"I will praise thee my God, I am marvelously made."


Brooke said...

Beautiful- I really like the Message- I've never read that one. Thanks for letting us in on part of your journey. Love you!

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing Amber. I have to tell you that I have really been struggling with this same thing lately. I still have quite a bit of baby weight to lose yet (15-20lbs to be exact) and have been discouraged that it's been 7.5 months since I had Ella. I really appreciated what you wrote. I too often (all the time lately) allow Satan to fool me into thinking that every other mom/wife has it all together when really we all have our areas of struggle. Anyway, I really needed to hear this today. Thru you God reminded me that I am not alone.

Kristy L said...

Thanks for being real and sharing. It is a struggle for every woman, I think, just the concept of self-worth and body image. I appreciate your being real. Hang in there!

Sarah said...

Wow, that was so beautiful, Amber!!

Thank you so much for discussing this issue that ALL (I think all) women struggle with!

I appreciated the reminder - gave me goosebumps ;)!


Minders said...

That was great Amber! Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I love the way the Message reads that passage, I want to go back and read it again and put it up on my mirror in my bathroom so I'm reminded of it continualy.

This is definately a struggle that I've had as well so know that you are not alone my friend!

Rebekah said...

Thanks for being so open with this struggle that most women have to wrestle with. This week will be a year since Aria was born and I still have quite a lot of weight to lose. Often, I have been so discouraged with how I look and how I fit my clothes, blah, blah, blah.

thank you for reminding us all of God's vision for us and how unconditional His love is. I think if we could stop wondering what other women think of us, we could just rest in the knowledge that He thinks we are beautiful.

It's good to remember the unbelievable gift that stretched our our bellies and added the lovely love handles! :)

I love you and i am sure you aren't the only one freaking about the photo directory...believe me, you are NOT the ONLY ONE!!!!!

Q and H said...

Wow! That was just what I needed to read! I feel that I struggle with that issue every morning when it comes to getting dressed! I think I'm going to put those verses on my mirror so I can be reminded each morning. Thanks so much for sharing!
love~ Heather

Anonymous said...

beautifully expressed. thanks so much for sharing your heart and thoughts. how satan loves to rob and discourage us. thru you, God has encouraged me with Truth. with much appreciation, teresa c

stageoflife said...

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Stage of Life
"Rewards for Life's Journey"

emilykate said...

thanks for sharing your heart Amber! This is usually the first step for me in working through ya!

little wheel said...

This is so timely. I was just talking yesterday (when you posted this) with a friend who is struggling with body image due to stubborn baby weight after her second pregnancy and we talked about what she Scripture she could use to redirect her thoughts when they start going in a negative direction. I didn't know what to say, but the thing that came to my mind was "I am fearfully and wonderfully made", so that's what I told her. When I read your post, it was so reassuring to me that this verse is encouraging to you in this struggle. Also, thank you for sharing your heart so honestly and directing us back to God's perspective. The baby weight has been a little more difficult to take off with each kid (I'm still carrying around a few pounds from Claire), but this was helpful in not getting discouraged about that. Have a great day!


Amy Cherise said...

Amber Leigh, I love you!!!

Anonymous said...

My heart is so touched to see how you allow God to work through you -in your joys and your struggles. Your gift of expressing your heart through your blogs touches more lives then you will ever know, and always touches mine! I am continually inspired by you in so many ways and thank God for you. The struggles of weight are not just tied to childbearing......I weigh almost the same as I did 9 months pregnant with you - and that was 26 years ago!! I am grateful for all that I am able to do - even exercise! Thankful for God's grace and love, and for angels like you that keep me focused on His Truths. love forever, mom

melodee said...

Someone once told me - 9 months to put it on, 9 months to take it off - sounds like a plan to me!! Of course, my twins are 16 months and I still have a LOOOOONG ways to go!!

Jill Tucci said...

Amber - what a beautiful message. THANK YOU for that. I completely understand your struggle - and this was such a timely post. You may have heard - I am on bed rest, and I was just sitting here wondering to myself - am I going to be able to fit into my summer clothes once the baby is here?! - considering I can't get any exercise and I spend much of my time sitting? Thank you for making me think about the miracle inside, versus what I have seen on the outside. You are such a talented writer and this was something that many of us moms need!

Hang in there. You will get there -love the Easter photos by the way, the twins are beyond precious!

Jami @ livelaughlove5 said...

Amber thanks for sharing your heart! I love you!!

Anonymous said...

Amber- Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings in a truthful and positive way! You are such a light! We've all been there...and still are...but everytime I put on something that's still a little too tight, I just thank God for my precious angel as it's all worth it! Love ya! Stacy

Tricia said...

Amber, I love how you speak God'struth to yourself while acknowledging the struggle. Somehow society, even our Christian circles perpetuate this pressure by admiring and commending the women who "snap" back into an hourglass figure! You never hear, "good for Tricia, she is really focusing on quality time with her children and getting good rest instead of fussing about her pregnancy pounds! :) Your sister Amy said to me that we as women should look our stretch marks and extra lumps should be badges of honor. Instead, we try and look as if we never carried a child. Amy is always so wise! I am proud of you for your transparency and honesty. You are help breaking down the barriers that isolate women!