It all started in middle school. In grade 6 I wore boys clothing to hide my body. In grade 8 I was insecure because I wasn’t developing like my peers.
In high school I thought I’d find worth if I was taller & leaner. I believed if I was, I would excel in volleyball.
In 2012 I hardly ate to fit into my grad dress.
When I got married my body still wasn’t enough. Although my husband was always affirming me, I couldn’t see through the lies that crowded my mind.
Then I got pregnant and the weight gain and stretch marks consumed me. I ended up gaining a significant amount of weight during my first pregnancy and as an insecure young woman, I was devastated. This was not how I wanted things to go. I wanted the adorable ‘belly only’ pregnancy. I hated myself, I hated my body.
I assumed if I lost the baby weight I’d be happy, but then I lost 70 lbs and I still was not satisfied. I thought my butt was too flat and I needed abs. I was never thin enough, never fit enough. Now looking back, I can see I look almost sickly thin for my frame. It’s amazing how body dysmorphia can cloud your judgment.
After losing all the baby weight from my first pregnancy, I was determined to not gain it all back during my second one. I was trying to stay in control, but this was once again out of my control. As much as I tried to prevent it, the weight gain came and so did all the same insecurities as before - the social anxiety of people judging my size, self loathing, and a little thing called diastasis recti (ab separation). This led to me digging myself deeper into a pit of self-hatred & anger.
I lost 60lbs after my second pregnancy and I pretended to be happy. Pretended that I was content with my body. People praised me for how much weight I lost and how great I looked but I didn’t believe them. I still believed the lies that flooded through my mind: “your arms are too large, your waist needs to be smaller, your body fat percentage is too high...”
I was always trying the newest diet trend. Paleo, keto, intermittent fasting, you name it I probably tried it. I was chasing an ideal that my body was not physically capable of. And to top it off, I let the fear of gaining weight hold me back from having another baby. I selfishly wanted my body to myself.
During my third pregnancy, I started to find healing. It was about 17 weeks into my pregnancy when I came to the conclusion that my weight in pregnancy was out of my control and I could either choose to spend the next year or so absolutely miserable or actually choose to put my joy and worth in Jesus. It wasn’t an ‘ah ha’ moment but just the gradual realization that I’m more than what my body looks like or what it can do.
I was the healthiest version of myself, spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally yet I gained the most amount of weight compared to my other pregnancies. I felt beautiful & strong. I wasn’t trying to cast aside my negative thoughts but acknowledging them and giving them to Jesus. I can’t imagine our family without our Jozie and I’m so glad I didn’t let my weight get in the way of having her.
I now know my value isn’t in what my body looks like or what it can do, nor my pant size or weight on the scale.
With each baby, God has stripped a little bit of pride away and humbled me. I’ve realized I am so much more than a body, I am a soul. Next year I’ll be leaner then maybe the year after I’ll be larger again. My body is continuously changing and it’s not a place where I can place my value. So even though I am the largest I’ve ever been (besides pregnancy), I am also the most content because I know where my worth truly lies.
I had a friend recently ask me how I handle accepting my postpartum body so well and to be honest, it’s still a process for me. I’m not perfect. I have bad moments. But the simple answer to her question is just one name: Jesus. Knowing my worth is so much more than my appearance. I was created by the one who holds the universe and He used MY BODY to bring another soul into this world. It becomes easier everyday to place less value on my outward appearance and place more value in the hope I have in Jesus.
Then I pray to you Lord. I say “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” Psalm 142:5
I’m so happy God has taken me on this journey, and while I still desire to be the healthiest version of myself, I’m not pursuing an ideal anymore. There are many more important things in life than the size of my thighs. And I’m thankful it only took 24 years to see. I pray it's something my daughters never have to walk through.
Our bodies were built by our Creator, Jesus. Why do we tear down His creation every time we look at our reflection? YOU were built by His hands, and although society may try to tell you that you aren’t beautiful by their standards, He holds you close and tells you, YOU ARE. You are loved and cherished by Him. And no matter what this world throws in your face, God’s creation is always beautiful. For all the glory goes to the Creator of all things, God. Praise to the builder of your home!
“For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out, before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:13-18
About the Author:
Aralin lives in Steinbach MB with her husband, David and their three children; Mia, Roman & Jozie. Together they own and operate a film & photography company. Aralin love a good CrossFit metcon, a hot cup of coffee, the Canadian Rockies, and exploring the great outdoors with her family. And she is extremely passionate about pregnancy/postpartum health and fitness.
If you would like to send Aralin a message, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put her name in the subject line.