One of the most disorienting effects of hyperemesis pregnancies has been the ridiculous fluctuation of my weight over the last three years. I have bottomed out at about 115 pounds only to shoot up to a ridiculous 175 pounds several times now. Now, almost five months postpartum, I'm still about 15 over a "happy place weight."
It's a roller-coaster ride for both the body and the psyche, as any mother of small children can tell you. And it can bring out the very worst in me.
I find myself oggling other mothers' waistlines, enviously if they are thin ("How did she do that in just six months?!!??! I'm so fat!") and with smug satisfaction if I detect a stomach roll ("Ha! There's no escaping it!"). Then the internal dialogue turns on me: "You're such a jerk! You can't even just enjoy these beautiful kids because you're so vain! Haha! You'll never wear those jeans again!" It's none too pretty: inside or out.
But I know, I know, that this is another opportunity to grow in grace. Yes, even this stomach roll. I'm not talking about self-effacement or not caring about my appearance.
First, we made a deliberate choice to be open to God's design for our family. Part of that choice (and, as we're learning, it was heroic) will involve a changing body for me. I'm not going to look like I did back in the old days (just like I'm no longer reading Kant seven hours a day, thank heavens); I'm not going to think or read or even feel like I did. This was a life-changing decision, and it requires a daily re-commitment, a daily yes to all this family requires. Including the fact that I need to wear larger pants. Lesson: Man up, momma!
Second, while I can't expect to get back my college body, I can have hope that someday I will be in a semblance of shape again. This is a short time. In ten or twelve years (which doesn't seem such a long wait anymore), I will probably be able to exercise daily again. But I won't be so able to snuggle a baby. Lesson: All things are passing.
And then, soon, I'll be standing before the Throne of God anyway (hopefully), where I can feast of the Lamb's Summer without a worry for calories. Lesson: Have a broader perspective.
Third, drop the internal dialogue. This is easier said than done when the brain is fried to a crisp by small children's incessant questions or endless sleepless nights. My conversation with my head gets out of control almost daily now. But it's not just the words coming out of my mouth that need to be charitable. The words of my mouth "and the meditations of my heart" must be "acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord." Lesson: Practice interior silence.
Finally, there are just going to be days when the body changes are frustrating, when I cry in front of the mirror, or when I just feel ... frumpy before I'm thirty. On those days, I need to close my eyes and offer it to God who gave up his body for me. "Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bear fruit." This time, too, will bear fruit.
And those pants were so goshdarn cute...