A note of encouragement

With all the encouragement we have been getting to celebrate Easter in a big way – to buy new clothes and dress up, make gorgeous meals, and fun activities for the kids, it occurs to me that something has been left out.

We are now officially into Easter weekend, and the time to shop for new clothes and lose weight has run out. Many of you are also recently post-partum and there is really nothing that compares to trying to dress up a body that is profoundly out of touch with itself. In my case, I believe that my stomach muscles may have lost their way in the world altogether, nevermore to rig it in.

Well, last night brought about something pretty hilarious at our house. I was sitting on the couch nursing the twins, and my husband and bigger girls were playing with balloons. They were trying to bat them across the room. My husband swung their little toy broom with a good wrist flick, and off came the head. It shot across the room on a rope and hit me in the eye, giving me a great big Easter shiner. Even at the time I could see this was a funny one. I could hear us reflecting in future years “Well, at least this Easter you aren’t nursing the twins and a black eye!”

Anyway, however fascinating this anecdote, it is beside the point. It did however, lead me to the point. I remembered a note my husband left on the breakfast table two years ago, when Easter fell about 2 weeks after the birth of our second daughter Daphne. I believe it was entitled “A note to my wife Easter morning before she even goes near the closet,” or something romantic like that.

But the point he made in it was one that I am appreciating again this year. It was basically that there is no more appropriate way to celebrate Easter than to be in a body that has been taken all apart on behalf of another. So do it cheerfully. Look at your babies and laugh at the new life and don’t become absorbed in the old death. This is the good stuff – all the extra weight included.

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24 thoughts on “A note of encouragement

  1. Wow. How timely was THAT post? Thanks, Rachel. And by the way, you were looking lovely last week, freezer meals and all.

  2. OK so that made me cry.

    I was settling in for a little late night pre-Easter baking spree and your sugar cookies are on the list . . . I made myself a pot of coffee to get me revved up, found this post on my way to your cookie recipe, had a little cry and now I’m ready to roll.

    Love ya!

  3. I just had my 4th little boy and he is 3 1/2 weeks old. He is getting baptized on Easter and it has definitely been on my mind that I would like to look nice. This post was just what I needed!

  4. I cried too. You’re absolutely right of course. The modern American culture tries hard to tell mom’s what they are supposed to look like soon after giving birth– you know, flat stomach, toned muscles, high heels and a hairdo and make-up that look it took two hours to put together. What every happened to looking like a mommy? I struggle with this A LOT!!

    Thanks!!!

  5. What is it with Easter and post partum bodies? Last Easter I was just a few days post partum. But I went ahead and bought a bright pink skirt at about 8 months just guessing that I would fit into it. Sure enough, though the top ended up soaked with milk a couple of times the skirt was perfect.

  6. Oi…I HOPE I’m postpardum by Sunday…due 3 days ago! At this point I’d be happy to look beautiful in a hospital gown! 🙂

  7. Count me in with the criers.

    For me it’s not a postpartum body, but a 11 week pregnant body, not quite normal, topped with a face that looks like it’s been through 7 weeks of severe morning sickness…with a good chance of another 16 weeks to come.

    What a great encouragement about being purposefully “taken all apart” – thank you!

  8. Rachel, that is so funny and sad at the same time. It will be funny to look back on. I was just stressing out about all I’ve got to do today and this made me relax and think to enjoy the work instead of dread it. I hope you guys have a great Easter.

  9. Thank you for this encouragement!! Last Easter I was 3 weeks postpartum with my 3rd son, and this Easter I am 3 weeks postpartum from my daughter’s still birth at 6 months gestation. I am torn apart for anothers sake, though only able to rejoice in the life she lives in heaven, thanks be to the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, and his triumph over death on Resurrection Sunday. Praise God for the heaven to come!

  10. “in a body that has been taken all apart on behalf of another”

    Can we all post this in front of our mirrors? Paste it over ever magazine in the checkout aisle? And write it on our closet doors?

    I have a three-month old and a 14 month old and before I got pregnant the first time (not even two years ago!) I ran five miles a day and climbed 5.10s regularly so the changed body is so very hard to accept. But that thought so perfectly expresses the chief way we mothers are imitating Christ that I almost wish I hadn’t worked as hard as I have to “get back in shape”.

  11. Thanks so much! My son is a year old and I still struggle with this…

    Last week at church, I wore an outfit I hadn’t worn since my son was born (finally fit back into it) and I got two reactions: “Hey! You get smaller every time I see you” (from a girlfriend who always makes me smile) and, from a man in Sunday school: “Your boy is so precious. So, when’s your next one due?” (I know he didn’t mean it like that, but it almost made me cry. I’m not pregnant!)

    Thanks for this reminder, no matter how others see me, I need to find my self-worth in Christ and him alone. And rejoice that my body is able to give life to our son!

  12. Just for clarification…I wouldn’t mind being pregnant again, in fact, I’d be overjoyed. But we haven’t been blessed in that way again (extended nursing, I guess). And I just struggle with being in shape and getting my stomach flat, and even then people still think I’m expecting. I was that way BEFORE I was pregnant and it’s hard. I’m finally getting back in shape to less than I was before pregnancy, but it’s taking a while. Thank you for your encouragement. Really, people should learn not to ask women if they are pregnant, it’s just rude.

  13. I’ve been struggling with something similar too. I’m 7 weeks pregnant, and so excited (we’ve been trying for over a year and a half). Just prior to getting pregnant I lost 31 lbs, and the process of giving up what I worked so hard for is a challenge sometimes. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who can’t wait to see what I look like pregnant.

  14. I’m due next week, and the checkout lady asked me if I was “almost done” today while I was grocery shopping. I don’t know… but I hope so, because I definitely feel ready to be! This post was very encouraging as I ponder which of my two choices to wear as I waddle around tomorrow! 🙂

  15. I will count myself among the teary-eyed brigade.

    I’m almost 25 weeks pregnant with baby number five, and I’ll tell you there is something worse than getting fat (Did I just say that??!!)…varicose veins. I wish I could show off my fat legs in a dress tomorrow. But I will be hiding the road maps under long pants and support hose. I do believe that the Lord has used mommyhood to remind me that there is much more to life than looking around the room and finding yourself in the top tier of attractive (if unattainable) women.

    Happy Easter.

  16. Thanks,Rachel. I needed that one. I’m sitting here at the computer at 3:30 in the morning waiting for the doctor to return my phone call, as Alaina my 4 yr old has been vomiting at least every half hour for the past five hours. My husband also has the coast guard duty phone–not a chance we’re going to make it to church tomorrow. My youngest, Katrina, is just potty training, so I don’t have the whole postpartum thing(although there are a few remains), but what you wrote struck a cord with me,as I feel physically spent in other ways these last few weeks trying to steer us through alot of sickness, doctors appointments, daddy being underway for a few days, and putting in really long hours otherwise. It was just encouraging to be reminded at these wee hours of the morning that that’s what Easter is all about– celebrating our resurected lord and the new life he’s given us so that we can freely give to others

  17. Thanks so much for the humility, sweetness and humor…I so appreciate the good cheer in your posts. I can definitely relate to the post-partum clothing challenges. This is where I eat a little less artisan cheese, keep steady with my Pilates and remember the loving command to rejoice in everything!

  18. What you say about “a body that has been taken all apart on behalf of another” reminds me of a message preached by our pastor David Bayly some time ago. He mentioned the very same thing – that, if we love Christ, all of us find the glory of life in the death we experience.
    He specified mothers giving of their bodies for their children…I only wish I had remembered this when I was trying to find something to wear yesterday! I have 5 children age soon-to-be-six, and younger, (no twins in there). So, my body has pretty quickly given way to death while bringing forth life.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  19. Just this morning I was taking a bath with my 6 month old little girl and thinking how I would not trade a single strtch mark or perfectly tight stomach for the joy I have in watching her splash delightfuly in the tub. Just know that you are not alone…thank you for reminding us as well.

  20. What a great perspective! Thanks. This Easter was exciting for me, because I was able to pull out my old dresses that I couldn’t wear for the last 2 years because I was pregnant or nursing. Despite my battle scars, it was fun to wear the old stuff again. However temporarily…

  21. Okay I will confess, I have shed a tear over this in the last few years of my own childbearing, body madness. But in the BIG PICTURE, I think we are a wonderfully funny sex. We love to be beautiful. What a noble thing, but I am pretty sure we have difficulty with our perspectives on what is beautiful. I am thankful for perspectives like what you have shared above Rachel. We really need to not take ourselves so seriously. Consider this, think about the bibles reference to Christ’s wounds from the crucifixion. When Mary saw him in his resurrected body he had scars from these wounds and she touched them. Christ will always bear his scars of the wounds he suffered on the cross, the ones he took on our behalf. I realized that I only love him more for it. The reminder of where He has been. His body taken apart for me. How will I ever be an example to my girls in teaching them to be thankful for the sacrifice I have made so they could have life, if I complain about scares or weight that have been left behind from this sacrifice? How will I teach them to not just expect, but look forward to their own marks of motherhood and experience. To get a good laugh at the imagery of deflated balloons and lightening bolt across our bodies. After all, this is all apart of how God has created it to be. Besides my time would be so much better spent if I where much less obsessed with the tone-ness of my belly (or the lack there of,) and much more obsessed with keeping the souls of my little ones in shape.

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