I had the honor of photographing the birth of a very dear friend’s third child last summer. That cute little bundle just turned a year old last week! My how time flies! So in honor of all pregnant women and this little slice of joy, I am reposting her mother’s birth story. It is a great reminder that every life is beautiful! Her last paragraph brings tears to my eyes every time….
I recently gave birth to my third child, my beautiful, first born girl, Olivia Kelly. So this is the story of my beauty journey, but it’s also a birth story.
I grew up in a loving family with parents who adored and affirmed me, and with a strong foundation of God’s love for me. Despite my wonderful upbringing, I struggled with self acceptance and feeling truly beautiful. I’ve dealt with weight issues, skin problems, bullies, and heartbreak. Just the usual things that wear a person down in life, and chip away at that solid foundation my parents worked so hard to build.
My heart’s desire for as long as I can remember was to be a wife and mother. God sure did deliver on His promise to give them! I married my wonderful husband at the age of 21 and had my first child by 22. At this point, I look back at all my issues with weight and just laugh! During my pregnancy with Jackson, I swelled to the size of a beached whale and tipped the scale at numbers I never dreamed I would see. After he was born, I was left with stretch marks and loose skin. It was a very self-conscious time for me. I was aware of every flaw my body possessed. Eventually though, as I grew closer to The Lord and became more confident in my roles as wife and mother, He helped me see the beauty in my new post baby body and life.
I went on to have another precious baby boy and then in October of 2011 found out I was expecting another little blessing. After a traumatic emergency c-section with Jackson and an intervention-filled and equally as traumatic vbac with Caleb, I decided this time I wanted a completely natural birth with no drugs and no interventions. I know I’m a little crazy! I just decided that it would be awesome to experience childbirth the way God created my body to do it. Did I ever!!! Craziest experience of my life! But God has taught me so much about beauty through birth!
I think most would agree that the birth of a child is a beautiful, life changing event. Well it may be beautiful, but it ain’t pretty!
When I go into labor for some reason I retain fluid, so in every picture of me laboring and immediately after, I resemble a giant hippo! My chin has three levels, and my cheeks are gigantically puffy, and I’m literally just a hot mess! But still, I choose to see the beauty!
During labor I am making these wild, animalistic sounds that mimic a dying cow, but the enormity of what my body is accomplishing in that moment is beautiful.
The overwhelming, about to die, send you to the moon, make you sob and cuss at the same time pain I was in was breathtakingly beautiful.
It brought my daughter out of my womb and into my arms! She is my only child I have seen and touched immediately after being born. My sons were both whisked away quickly, so I missed out on that moment with them.
That moment when I first laid eyes on her slimy little body, looked into her gorgeous eyes and touched her warm, wet skin…oh…I can’t relive it without crying. Pure bliss! I waited 41 weeks to meet my sweet angel, and now after about 9 hours of active labor, and nothing but Jesus and some amazing people to get me through it, she was here!
Through the births of each of my children, God has shown me that just because something, whether it’s a person or event or a trial we’re going through, isn’t pretty doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. Just because it’s not everything we imagined it would be doesn’t mean its not good..God uses the disappointment to strengthen our character and make us more like Him. He allows us to endure pain and suffering in life because it increases our faith, and causes us to seek and trust Him. Just because there’s pain, doesn’t mean there’s not beauty. I have three beautiful children on earth, but I also have a child waiting for me in heaven. There was so much pain in that short time of celebrating new life within me and then grieving a life gone too soon. I never met that sweet one. Never even felt a flutter or heard a heartbeat. But the loss of the hope and dream of that life has forever changed me. But oh how grateful I am that God gives beauty for ashes, joy for my mourning, and praise for a spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)! Turn your eyes upon Jesus. He will reveal the beauty in every circumstance, and he will rescue you! My name is Meagan and I am beautiful.