Dear Lady Who Just Asked Me When I’m Due:
Alas, your eyes have deceived you, for it is not a tiny human growing in my uterus, but instead a food baby growing in my gelatinous abdominal region. I can see how your eyes might have played tricks on you, though, because my food baby has grown in girth since giving birth to my actual babies (which is amazingly ironic, right?).
Let me first say: please don’t feel bad.
Well, okay, it wouldn’t make me totally upset if you felt a little bit bad. No, a little more bad than that. C’mon, you can feel a little worse if you put some muscle into it! Okay, that’s good.
Please don’t feel too bad. My FUPA (that stands for fat upper pubic area; I figured I should give you a definition because you’re old) and I forgive you. We really do. We don’t hold grudges, just calories.
We do, however, request that you do not ever, not ever, like, NEVER again assume someone is pregnant, even if they are lying in the middle of a sidewalk screaming with labor pains and covered in amniotic fluid. (Too much?) Here’s a tip from The Ladies’ Code of Social Correctness Handbook: it’s okay to ask someone about her pregnancy ONLY if she has first mentioned that she is, in fact, pregnant. Otherwise, just assume it’s a mommy muffin.
I have given birth to three children. My fourth is stubbornly refusing to leave my body, and I am well aware of this. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no Mama June, but I do have a slight case of dunlop disease. (You know, when one’s belly done lops over one’s pants?) My upper arms now sport a nice pair of bingo wings.
All I can say is that I’m working on it. And I’m okay.
The “I’m okay” part is a big deal, because, you see, there was a period of time in my life (most of my life, really) when I wouldn’t have been okay. I used to fight an eating disorder. I was thin. I was svelte. I was fit. I was horribly proud. And I was miserable.
Then I got freed up by the Lord and, quickly thereafter, had three kids. My body was not my own (and apparently still isn’t). I was left with stretch marks galore, lumps where I shouldn’t have lumps, and cellulite on my kneecaps. My muscle tone diminished. I grew tired and overrun and didn’t have time to spend in the gym like I once did. And yes, I know you might have been the mom who stayed fit all through pregnancy and dropped the weight like a champ, but have some grace for the rest of us, please and thank you.
I’m kind of a mess, physically. And I’m working on it.
And it’s okay.
You see, I have come to realize that I traded something temporary, my “perfect” body and my fitness bragging rights, for something eternal. Three children. Three souls. Three tiny humans that I hope and pray will one day grow into mighty warriors for the kingdom of God. Three lives that I have the privilege and responsibility to shape and mold.
So do I shape and mold myself, my own body? In other words, do I care for myself physically and pursue health?
What I pursue even more, and what I see as the best trade-off I’ll ever have made, is growing my children up as best I can into honorable, noble, godly adults who live lives of integrity and purpose. And if I have a food baby for the rest of my life because I can’t commit as many hours to the gym as I’d like (and because, let’s be honest, mothers have no abs), so be it.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
I am making a conscious effort to focus on things that matter. Things with eternal value.
If my food baby does decide, however, that it’s time to let go of her death grip around my middle section and succumb to the powers of arugula and the elliptical machine, I wouldn’t be mad. Wait…that probably means that I should get on an elliptical machine and eat arugula occasionally, doesn’t it? I think I’m starting to get it!
Just wanted you to know!
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