When I was pregnant with Tommy, I took absolutely ZERO pregnant pictures of myself. I was so incredibly ashamed of my size that I didn't want any pictures to show record of how "huge" I was. Being very overweight and with child, I almost felt like some freak of nature and I felt like hiding most of the time, especially toward the end of my pregnancy. I had a very hard time accepting myself and being kind to myself where I was at.
This time around, I have faced some of those familiar demons. I've had those mornings where all of my clothes end up on the floor of my closet and I'm in tears and collapse on my bed in frustration because I'm convinced that everything looks horrible on me. That would be quite true. Though I think that almost every pregnant woman goes through this, overweight or not.
The food thing has been different for quite some time. I don't eat in secret or binge anymore and over-eating is a rare occurrence. My eating feels more normal and is slowly becoming more balanced. I'm hopeful that things will continue as they have this year as I've been becoming a less disordered eater.
But what feels the most different for me is that I haven't carried the same shame this time around. In some ways, it's been easier to find kindness for myself. For my heart, for my body, and for where I am at in recovery from a nearly life-long binge eating disorder. Really, I owe all of that to the grace of God. He has brought healing and peace and restoration to places in my heart and my story that haven't been there before. It's changed me inside and out.
Evidence? I took a picture of myself on purpose this morning. Not only for me to have, but publicly for the whole world to view. It's on Instagram and Facebook and everyone will see it - there's no hiding pregnant Jenn this time. And actually, I don't want to hide her.
She's a woman who is life-giving. She is a woman learning to live fully in the present. She doesn't check out of her pain. She names truth for herself and for others. She is fierce and she's a fighter. She is brave. She's a woman who will be celebrating a monumental anniversary on the 27th of December - going an entire year without having a binge. (THIS IS A BIG FRICKIN' DEAL PEOPLE! WHO-HOO!) She's a woman who is closer to Jesus than she's ever been. She is closer to her husband and allows him to enjoy her instead of pushing him away. She's a woman that I have more kindness and acceptance and grace for. I don't hate on her as much as I used to. She is a mom - to one, soon to be two, beautiful boys. She's learning to trust and rest and hope and wait because it's where God has asked her to go and how He wants her to live.
She is a woman, free from the chains of self-contempt and self-loathing. Free to laugh loudly and dance and take pictures of her growing tummy full of life. Growing, struggling, wrestling, and living daily in the abundant grace of God.
This is not just a picture of a pregnant belly. It's a picture of repentance and beauty and triumph. And a glorious page in my story that God continues to beautifully author.