I Feel Like A Fraud

I feel like a fraud.

In my day to day, I work quite a bit with eating disorders. I challenge the thin ideal and encourage others to expand their perception of beauty. I run around shouting, “all bodies are beautiful!” “Celebrate your curves!” Then I look in the mirror… 

I am currently 28 weeks pregnant, and I feel like I wake up a little bigger every day. My clothes don’t fit. I have never worn so much elastic in my life, and everyone wants to touch my stomach. Let me tell you, nothing makes me feel more beautiful than getting belly rubs on a regular basis. People don’t even hug me anymore; they go STRAIGHT to the belly.

I know, I know. I should be embracing this. Trust me, I would love to feel beautiful in this pregnant body of mine. I would love to feel like I had this gorgeous pregnancy glow, but instead I am wondering how much weight I’m gaining in my face.

Fortunately, God knows I am struggling with this. I can feel Him intentionally placing people in my life right now in order to give me a truer perspective. The other day I had a client in my office who was hyper focused on wanting smaller thighs. We talked about general diet and exercise, but she then looked at me and wanted to know if following my recommendations would guarantee her smaller thighs.

I often encounter clients in this predicament. Too often we are so focused on wanting our bodies to be aesthetically pleasing that we forget to notice how our bodies are actually functioning. There is nothing aesthetically pleasing to me about my pregnant belly. However, my body is in the middle of doing incredible things. I am literally sustaining life.

I feel so grateful to have the opportunity and ability to carry my own child. I hate feeling like I am taking that for granted. The truth is, I know that body image is a struggle regardless of being pregnant or not. This is a ME issue, not a pregnancy issue. However, I know I am not alone.

We all struggle with our bodies on some level. It’s really such a shame. I have worked with clients who can’t see how valuable their body is. All they can see is a distortion - something larger and heavier - something that it is absolutely not.

God never wanted us to feel ashamed about our bodies, nor did he intend for them to look a certain way or fit into a limited mold. He gave us these bodies as a gift. Our bodies are a vessel to spread love, grace, and truth. They are not an ornament to be looked at critically, sexually, or define our self-worth.

But in truth, the struggle is real, and it continues to haunt me every day. However, I know that my body is capable of amazing things regardless of what it looks like. Happiness isn’t size specific, and true joy is found in the love and experience of Christ.

Deep breath- let’s do this. Everyone make room for my growing belly!