Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pride and Pregnancy

Resolved: Pregnancy is God's gift to us to enshrine the virtues of modesty and humility in our lives.

I fought it. Man did I fight going to the basement to retrieve that box marked "maternity clothes." I reveled in the memories of myself as the 7 month-pregnant 21 year old Army officer whom people didn't even know was pregnant. I clung fast to made up deadlines in my mind -- no, I will not don maternity clothes until after my 20-week ultrasound. I fought it hard. Then, last week - week 14 of this pregnancy -I saw the sad indentation of a jeans button on my, forcibly compliant, belly-skin. I thought of the innocent new baby in there wondering why she had to have a metal button eating up her valuable living space for the sake of my own pride and ego. I chucked 'em. All jeans, all tight-fitting shirts away. Constricting shoes, boxed. Anything with a button or latch - shelved for the next 9? months. My mother helped me take the hurdle, she dragged the heavy box of maternity clothes up from the basement and dropped it in the middle of our living room floor. There they sat. And I am 14 weeks pregnant. Our new baby is the size of an apple and she deserves comfort and respect, who cares if the neighborhood kids have already started to say, "look, Mom, she is already so preeeegnant."

Well, as I reluctantly opened the lid to that brown moving box, something miraculous happened. I felt the grace of something bigger then myself pour out of that box. I felt Mother Mary's humility and wisdom warm my soul as I was reminded of cloaking my daughter and son in the same garmets which I would now again wear. I could almost smell the peace of maternal bliss amongst those tent-like shirts and elasticized pants. I wanted to bury my face in the blessings of that box. The reality that this box, not the liposuction ads in our local paper or the itsy teeny bikins of modern beaches, was my reality overwhelmed me with joy. I was granted the instantaneous wisdom that this body isn't mine anyway. It is on loan, and I better darn well use it to creat the healthiest possible environment for the lives that will burgeon within, or else I have bought into pride and materialism. My newest baby deserves better than that. She deserves a grateful mother whose heart is on its way to purification and whose stretch marks are too insignificant of a detail to even cross her mind

12 comments:

MargaretJDMom said...

Thank you for this! I think I needed a similar reminder today at 4 weeks postpartum. My clothes might fit again, but there's no denying I have had four kids! A Happy Mother's Day to you!

Elena said...

Thank, AWOL. It is horrible that we have to drag our broken self-images into the beauty of pregnancy, and feel like we need to compete with other women or just ourselves over when we get into the maternity clothes (and when we get out of them). This additional worry is one that we really don't need and your approach is just what I needed to hear. Thank you, again.

Jennifer Frey said...

Thanks for your post!! I too tried to hide my second pregnancy from people at work, just to avoid the snarky comments I knew I would get! I got away with it until about 16 weeks or so, at which point my belly just sort of popped out there. Be proud of your body; pregnant ladies are gorgeous!

mum2twelve said...

Just started fitting back into my pre-maternity clothes after giving birth 4 months ago to my 13th child at 47. Funny how the first time I was pregnant I was wearing maternity clothes before I needed them in hopes that someone would notice I was actually pregnant, and was having to hitch my saggy maternity pants up. By the sixth - I was a little tired of my maternity wardrobe which was a few sizes larger than my first set of maternity clothes. And I have to say my pre-maternity outfits are also a few sizes larger than the ones I wore in my early 20's.
It is sad that we do not feel we can simply embrace these life changes in our bodies. It is important to stay healthy but at 47 that does not necessarily mean being the size 7 I was 20 plus years ago. It is a struggle to accept that there's a price to pay for having been blessed so many times. I am hoping I will continue to shed the pounds as I have done the past 4 months & am willing to avoid unhealthy treats to do so. Still I must accept that I will not ever have the same body I once had, unless I am prepared to artificially re-create it. And what message am I selling to my daughters if I do that? Or even to my sons - beauty is only skin deep? There is no blessing in aging? Motherhood's scars are not to be valued... that I want to erase all signs of my 13 pregnancies?
No I need to gracefully accept the marks that motherhood has left on my body while balancing the need to achieve a healthy weight against a vanity induced weight loss.

JesusThroughMary said...

:o)

JesusThroughMary said...

Happy Mother's Day to all of you.

Mary Alice said...

Okay, can i just share a wonderful post-partum gem with all you girlfriends, Land's End Pants! They have a tiny bit of hidden elastic so that you look like you are wearing totally normal pants, but they will gradually shrink with your belly in those postpartum weeks. I hate going home from the hospital in maternity clothes, which never fit quite right anyway, so these will now be my go-to clothing for the "fourth trimester."

Also, while I am sharing tmi, maternity Spanx will change your life.

MargaretJDMom said...

Hilarious...I was eyeing them at Target just the other day!

Jo Flemings said...

Very heavy sigh. I appreciate the sentiments here expressed but I despair of getting back into pre pregnancy clothes and then getting off the extra weight that I keep planning to tackle before the next pregnancy, and that series of 5ks I hope to run or even 1 5k I would like to be in shape enough to run again someday. And I am just trying to offer up the less than remarkably appealing me that will be immortalized in the wedding photos of my eldest at the end of the month while I am seven weeks post partum with #13- and so not making the progress Christi- mum2twelve is making- in back to my future.
It is what it is.

Juris Mater said...

Wow, AWOL! Thank you for this post, full of beauty, shared sentiments, and a real reality check. Your expressing a desire to bury your face in the blessings of the maternity clothes box makes me cry every time I re-read this, which is about 5 times now. Thank you!!!

B-Mama said...

After four pregnancies, I will admit a similar excitement when opening my overflowing box of maternity clothes. In a way it's like I've gone to the mall and purchased a whole new wardrobe. I will admit, though, the thrill lasts for maybe 2-3 months before I begin to resent the maternity clothes I am then outgrowing! :)

Mothers of 13, you are my HEROES!!

Alex said...

AWOL, thank you for such a beautiful reflection.

One of the many gifts ultimately arising through the loss of our first sweet babe at the end of my 3rd trimester with her was the appreciation of--and lasting longing for--the physical signs of pregnancy that indicate the beautiful secret that we, as women, hold within us; the spaces that are meant to be filled.

During those months after losing her, I would have done anything to have those "pregnancy pounds" back on me, any physical tie to her would have been comfort, and especially if it would have meant still having her there inside of me. I promised myself that I would never take such physical changes for granted again. I prayed that I would be blessed with the chance to carry another child, stretch marks and unglamorous thigh-butt-belly-growth and varicosities included! Thank you for reminding me of those promises, AWOL, and for articulating it so beautifully.

Mothers of 13, I, too, salute you! As B-mama said, you are heroes!