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I’ll Never Be the Same

I think in many mothers' experience, there comes a point, post-partum, where we say enough is enough. Our newborns are no longer newborns. In fact, many of our "newborns" are crawling - nearly walking! And we recognize that we still have that extra baby-fat hanging on for dear life, anywhere and everywhere we least desire. Well, I got to that point after each of my babies, but after Ty, I made a decision that I would indeed reach my pre-pregnancy weight and be that athletic, fit girl that I used to be in college. 

Late this morning, I had the privilege of going for a run. I need every opportunity I can get to burn extra calories! I nearly fainted by the time I got back, but I survived. When I got back in, I went in the bathroom to wash up. Every so often, before jumping in the shower, I take some time to gauge how much progress I've made on recovering the shape of my body. This is one incredible entitlement that mothers get to experience. Within a fairly short timespan, you get to see your body grow and change with the knowledge that a life is growing inside you. After you give birth, that bulge is gone, but your body takes a while to slowly shrink back to a normalized state. (I know, it doesn't sound pretty...and it really isn't.) 

As I was standing in front of the mirror, the sunlight from the window was shining on me in such a way that I nearly gasped. I knew I had stretch marks, (especially after carrying Micah), but what I was staring at in disbelief through the mirror was something else! These marks were so ugly! I never did really care about my them before. Thoughts ran through my mind. Forget about the marks - what if the loose hanging skin never goes away?! It is very possible...especially after 3 fairly large babies. How embarrassing this would be if anyone would see this! And that 6 inch horizontal keloidal scar on my lower abdomen...I felt like I could star in some sort of Frankenstein film.

Momentarily, I thought about different options:  Maybe I should get lotions/creams to minimize the appearance of my stretch marks and scars...Maybe if I built enough muscle there -- I'm doing sit-ups everyday!...I just need some plastic surgery! 

I immediately realized how silly I was sounding in my own head and I was brought back to reality as I wondered why I cared so much about it. I jumped into the shower...and began to think.

I was reminded of Jesus and how much His body had to endure. If we believe that He forever enjoined Himself to the human family, it would be silly to think that when He ascended to Heaven, He changed back to exactly how He was before. He not only has scars. His body is not the same. There were consequences for His decision to come down to earth and save us. I don't believe Jesus ever looks upon His body with shame or remorse. In fact, based on my limited knowledge of my Savior, I can imagine that Christ looks at His now imperfect body with a sense of joy...a sense of hope. His suffering bought the price of the entire human race. For Jesus, it was more than worth it. 

My emotions suddenly shifted as I felt so honored to have just a taste of Christ's experience. It seemed so selfish for me to view my body with such disgust. After all, it was to give life to my greatest treasures. It was a privilege that Jesus didn't have to give me. And I too, will never be the same. I smiled to myself as I considered this: With my scars, I gave my boys life. With Jesus's scars, He gave my boys life eternal. If Jesus is keeping His, I want to keep mine.

From that point on, I began to view my scars in a different light. Yes, they will be a reminder of the privilege of motherhood. But they will be much more now. They will be scars of hope, that together with the scars of Jesus, my boys will not have been born in vain. 

"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:13

__________

Judy, along with her husband and their three boys, live and minister in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.


Comments

Judy, I appreciated your article and I could definitely relate as I have had 4 children myself and I commend you on your devotion to getting back to shape.  I have to admit I have given up on that a long time ago.  What profound thought that Jesus was changed forever because of his sacrifice on calvary.  It brings to mind the famous picture of a little girl pointing to Jesus’ nail marks and you could imagine Jesus replying, “I got these marks in the house of my friends…” I agree with you that Jesus does not regret the physical changes his body has been through because it was so worth the sacrifice.  And what a blessing it is that we, as women who go through childbirth, get a taste of that experience.  I’ve never thought of it that way before and I thank you for taking the time out of your busy day (with 3 young boys, I give you props!) to write.

jane chung (#1) – October 18, 2011

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