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After both Brayden and Kaitlyn were born, I never did anything special to get into shape. I would exercise sometimes, but often found myself completely paranoid about affecting milk supply. I also figured, why bother? I was just going to get pregnant again soon anyway (yes, at this point in life, I realize that isn’t really the smartest way to go about things).
After McKenna was born, we weren’t sure if we would have more children or if we were done. Once I got a diagnosis of PCOS, we knew there was a chance of us being able to ever get pregnant again, so I hit the exercise big time.
I spent two years diligently working out day after day, week after week, to get into shape. When I finally felt like I was in good shape, I got pregnant.
And then, of course, the weight gain starts. That is totally normal, right? When you are pregnant, you gain weight. Logical, yes, but also emotionally hard to take after you have spent so much time getting into shape. I really struggled mentally to accept this. Then you have some crazies (yes, I said crazies) saying pregnancy weight gain for a healthy woman to be 0-5 pounds. 0-5 pounds! That doesn’t even cover the baby! (side note, I got a phone call from my insurance company where they asked me about my weight and height etc. etc. and then informed me that my BMI was right on and that I should gain about 25-35 pounds with the pregnancy. First I thought, “I don’t need you telling me what to do” and then I thought “thank you.”). At one appointment, I talked to my doctor about it, and bless her she told me not to worry about my weight gain. I love her for it, and her words help some, but they don’t completely wipe away my worry.
One day, my husband was teaching a Sunday School class at church. His lesson was on eternal perspective. In our church, young men usually serve a two year mission when they turn 19. They leave home and pay for the mission themselves. My husband read a story about a young man who worked hard for two years to save for his mission. When it came time to go, the young man had a hard time spending that money on a mission. He thought of all of the other things he could do with that money. Of course, the benefits he would get from serving a mission would far outweigh any benefit from buying a nice car or something else with that money. I thought about his need to focus on eternal perspective rather than what was right before him.
And then it really hit me, and I knew it was an answer to prayer for me to hear it that day. I could easily parallel it to myself. Yes, I had spent two years getting into good shape. The reality is, that work is probably a big part of why I was able to get pregnant (with PCOS, losing weight can help chances of pregnancy).
Like the boy, I had spent two years sacrificing for something, and like the boy, I was having a hard time with the idea of giving it up.
Also like the boy, I was about to give up my time for about two years. Since pregnancy is hard on me, and babies tend to take up a lot of time, that amounted to about two years of much focus going into this baby.
And also like the boy, what a great sacrifice to make! What wonderful lessons I would learn. I would become a better person. What better way to spend my time than bringing a child to this earth? This decision would be worth more to me, my family, and this child in the eternities than staying in good shape right now. Like the boy can earn more money after his mission, I can work hard to get in good shape again.
Sometimes the sacrifices we make as mothers and parents seem too great for our abilities. It seems like our lives will never be our own again. It seems so overwhelmingly hard. In the end, however, these are the things that make us better people. These sacrifices make us stronger, more loving, more caring, smarter, wiser, and happier than something as trivial as body mass index. Motherhood brings eternal growth and eternal happiness.
This is a picture my friend Serra took of me with my children. I see this, and see how happy I am. Sure they drive me to the brink of insanity some days, but they bring me so much joy. Who cares if I have to gain a few (or maybe more than a few) pounds to get another child here? She will be worth it, just like it was worth it for my other children!
No matter what you struggle with in your role as a mother, know that your sacrifice is worth it. Your sacrifice makes a difference that ripples further than you can comprehend in this life. Your sacrifice as a mother is worth it.
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