Monday, November 24, 2008

Now THAT'S a pregnant woman!

Ever since I read Kate's post about pregnancy,weight gain and body image, I've been thinking about writing this post. Kate, I love you, but I know I am not alone. When I looked at that pregnant pic of you, I chuckled. I had in mind myself in pregnant form. As you can see from the posted photo, there are many differences to comtemplate!

It took some hunting to find this particular photo. It is one of the Infamous Seven Photos of Cathy on the Day of Delivery. We decided it would be fun to take a "last photo" of the pregnant mommy just before she headed out the door to the hospital. This one is of me in July of 1999, on my way to the hospital to deliver my fifth child, John.

Unlike Kate, you can see that I was not sporting a "basketball belly." This picture is a good indicator of what I looked like during most of the around 70 months of my life I've been pregnant. I get BIG. During this particular pregnancy, I was at my fittest. I was seeing a nutritionist and was walking several miles on a treadmill every day up until he was born.

What strikes me about this photo is how strange my face looks. I gained weight everywhere, including my face. My nose always seemed to take on a new shape. I recall that my toes looked like sausages, and I couldn't wear most of my shoes.

I'm writing about this and sharing this photo because I find it so interesting that even though Kate and I looked quite different while pregnant, we both found it challenging. When I looked at her photo, all I saw was a beautiful, thin, young mom. I was jealous, I admit it. When I look at myself pregnant, I don't find anything very attractive! (It's OK if you agree with me -- it's true!)

I may not have been physically attractive as a pregnant mom, but since I did have seven pregnancies, there must have been some reason to do it that superseded my desire to be attractive. Of course there was. I was able to understand that my role as a woman was not only to be "beautiful." I was certainly fulfilling my calling as a wife; becoming a mother was meant for me. I was not always attractive or comfortable being pregnant, but I have absolutely no regrets.

There is s measure of humility, in fact a considerable one, required of us when we are pregnant. We give up our bodies for our children. We let go of our control, our figures, our vanity. It is not easy, particularly in a world where women like Angelina Jolie are held up as the ideal.

So I share this photo of myself, in humility, yet proudly. It was not easy for me to do, I must admit! But I wanted to encourage those of you who may look more like me than Angelina. We are beautiful, we mothers, willing to sacrifice what is necessary for the great blessing and privilege of motherhood.

(Because I am not yet purged of my vanity, I will direct the curious to my other blog, from the field of blue children, to see cute photos of me as I look now!)


Soul Pockets said...

Cathy, I applaud you for putting up your pregnancy picture. When I look at it I don't see any "fat" because I can't get past the beautiful look on your face. I too am a BIG pregnant woman. I have had many women tell me how sorry they feel for me when I am in my third trimester. Not only does my body explode but I could pass for Dolly Parton without surgery. thank you for reminding us Moms that our sacrifice is beautiful even though are butt may not be.
Wonderful post and a great picture!

Kate Wicker said...

It's funny - when I see any pregnant woman other than myself, all I see is the beauty and the blessing of new life.

I need to work on seeing myself in the same light. Just last night I was bemoaning my new "full face," and my hubby said he didn't want to hear it, that I was beautiful and that I don't see what others see. He's a wise man.

And you, Cathy, are a wise, beautiful woman, when you're pregnant and when you're not. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

God bless you!

By the way, the new look for the blog looks great.


Anonymous said...

And yet none of it matters when the baby comes, right? All the fussing about weight gain, etc. seems trivial when you hold that precious child in your arms. That's one of the many reasons why I appreciate my new favorite pregnancy book...The Miracle of Me by Amy Pedersen. A glimpse of that precious baby on the inside (and a WONDERFUL tool to explain in-utero development to children). God chose all of us and we are all beautiful in different ways!