22 Weeks and...

I should be saying, "counting," to finish out my subject. Instead, I'm 22 weeks and conflicted.

Yesterday was a rough day. There were some things that happened that I realize now may have been some increased heat in spiritual battle, namely having dreams that I had committed horrible sins and I woke up feeling guilty, as though I had actually committed the crimes. I used to think it was weird and figured the enemy would want nothing to do with me. I see now that a lot of areas of my life were somewhat of a playground for him, to just traipse around, telling me lies, and being like a bully who invited me to play a ring-around-the-rosy but then threw me to the ground just to laugh and deride me when I tried not to cry.

Something I've realized recently, though, is how free I feel with regards to food, weight, and exercise. I want to worship Jesus and generally I don't feel the controlling grip over my life that I had struggled with for so long before. For a long time it was just no control, eating ridiculous amounts of unhealthy foods and not exercising.

Then, during "I'm really trying now!" periods both pre- and post-surgery (I had RNY gastric bypass surgery in 13 months ago) I would try to be in consummate control, counting every calorie consumed and burned. That was exhausting in its own right.

Pregnancy freed me up some. I attribute this completely to the grace of God, but I find myself generally making decent decisions and wanting healthier food. I don't find myself overeating, or making consistently terrible food choices, all that much. Nor do I feel the pressure to prove anything by restricting my weight gain. There are moments where I have felt worry edging into the periphery, but generally speaking I've seen heart change in that as God has been drawing me near and showing me His character I worship Him. He hasn't specifically been "working" with me on food issues; eating as an act of worship has just naturally flowed out of resting in Him.

This pic from the web is a mom 22 weeks pregnant
with her first baby (also a boy!)...

So, then, why was yesterday so rough? In addition to some other stuff, last night before bed was just... kooky bad.

I was snuggling into my blankets, getting ready to fall asleep, when I did my nightly routine of reading my two pregnancy apps on my iPhone (the What to Expect app and the Pregnancy app from BabyCenter, for those who are curious). Both talked about how much "you" are showing now that "you're" 22 weeks, and one was even filled with tips about how to handle people walking up to touch your belly.

Suddenly I just felt horrible. You would never know that I am pregnant just by looking at me. You can hardly tell by feeling my belly, unless I lie on my back. Even then it's hard to tell. I know I am because I can't suck in my belly much, but really I just look fatter because the pregnant part of me is sort of pushing out my stomach chub without showing any evidence of a baby bump.

I knew when I got pregnant at only 9 months after surgery, still a solid hundred pounds over my loosely-set goal weight, that I likely wouldn't have the "cute" baby belly that (many) thinner women have. I felt ok with that. I still do--even when I do show, I'll almost certainly never look cute the way a thin woman would. That's never been my goal. I also can tell from feeling my belly that even if I were a lot thinner I would almost certainly be one of the women who simply doesn't explode early on the way some others do. Part of it's because I've lost weight, not gained, and part of it is simply that I'm just not sticking out all that much. I'm a little wistful, I can't lie, because if I were 140 pounds then I'd probably have a very cute, modest little bump right now.

But here's the thing--last night I just felt overwhelmed. I felt like a failure as a pregnant woman. I felt like a failure as a mother, and suddenly felt like a fear train hit me with wondering if I'm starving my baby and he's not growing and maybe he's dying in there and that's why my belly isn't growing and... boom. Like I said, it was like a fear train. And I just wanted to cry and I felt utterly horrible. I mean, I wanted to just die, it was so intense.

...and this is me last weekend. I know I have the wrap on,
but still... no discernible baby bump.
That's when I realized that, though I can't be entirely sure how much was due to my crazy hormones and my own deceitfully wicked heart, it was at least partially a spiritual attack. The accusation that I'm a failure and need to die for my sin is an old tactic of the enemy. And, praise Jesus, instead of allowing the bully to throw me to the ground, I refused to enter his game.

I turned to Jesus. I cried out to Him. I was honest about what I felt--that I felt fear and worry that I've starved my baby even though it's been a little hard to watch the scale creep back up. I started out pregnancy at 256 pounds; I was as low as 241 by early August, but now, nearly November, am back up to 248. Maybe it's wrong, but I sort of hoped to somehow not see the 250s again, but with 18 weeks of pregnancy left to go, and my baby needing to gain at least 6-8 pounds on his own, let alone the water weight, my uterus, the placenta, etc, that's seeming highly unlikely. Technically, my doctor's healthiest plan for me would be that I end up around 265-270 by the time I give birth, considering my original weight.

That's not easy. The thought of 270 pounds? Scary. Yes, I used to weigh 376 pounds. But I don't want to weigh 270 pounds, even if all of it is healthy weight gain that is helping my baby and it's not a result of me being a pig. So I had to turn to Jesus with that. I had to cry out to Him that I felt fear that I would get too fat, or that I'm not getting fat enough. I told him that was desperate for Him because I felt the accusation that I'm already a horrible mother and need to die.

Jesus met me there. I don't remember much that He said, other than that I kept crying out to Him and I knew He was right there with me, loving me and soothing me with His presence. And I slept deeply, peacefully, and woke up refreshed. I remember no dreams from last night. That's a huge praise considering the pattern that has been present recently. And, most of all, today I have kept going to Jesus with these heart issues. Again, I don't know where my sinful heart ends and lies of the world (that pregnancy only counts for the cute, thin ladies... go to any maternity clothing or pregnancy website and you'll see what I'm talking about) and the intentional accusations of the enemy begins. I know that I desperately need Jesus, that He loves me with His steadfast love and is redeeming me, and that He is a shield about me, He's my glory, and He's lifting my head today so that I can behold His glory and not get wrapped up in the temptation to wallow in my own shame.

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