In 7th grade, my Language Arts teacher assigned us a project of getting information about a job we would like to pursue one day. I had an older brother in college working as a model and it looked like a lot of fun so I thought, why not? I sent away to the company he was working for, received the information, and took it to my teacher. She had a bulletin board where she was hanging each person’s chosen career and after she had hung mine, a girl looked at me and said, “You think you could be a model?” as she led the class in laughter.
I definitely had a rough patch in middle school. I felt very insecure about my appearance and that was furthered by this girl and some of her friends. At that age, when I did try to look nice, I felt ogled by men far too old to be noticing me and that made me extremely uncomfortable. But by college, I felt like I had finally grown in to my arms, legs, and breasts. I started working as a fitness instructor and enjoyed feeling good about my body. The attention from men who weren’t aware of my awesome middle school appearance helped just a little.
I met my husband my senior year of college. I was at my peak physical appearance after really working hard on my body for 4 years. When Krista asked me about writing on this topic, immediately I thought of my wedding day. Physically, I have never felt more unshakably stunning. Even emotionally and spiritually it was a day I felt freed from my struggle with lust because I finally had this husband that God approved of using for my every whim….because that’s exactly how marriage works, right???
About 8 months later, on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I were getting ready to step in to a hot tub with a glass of wine and I started to think about dates. You know the dates I’m talking about here. I hesitantly sat down and gave back the glass of wine telling him we should stop at the drug store the next day. We had not been trying to get pregnant and had actually been quite intentional about not getting pregnant the first couple years of our marriage. That didn’t stop our first daughter from joining our family. To say I was devastated was a slight understatement. And I will not lie; through tears I cried to him that my figure was gone. I knew that tight firm belly I had slaved over would never be the same.
Here’s where I get to the point: I have never felt more beautiful than I do being a mother. My first daughter is my spitting image. My second daughter holds a strong resemblance and I’m hoping this third little girl wiggling away inside me looks just like her sisters. Nothing on earth has ever made me feel more beautiful than hearing, “Wow she looks just like you!” Because when I look at those girls, heaven and earth shake with my love. I am overwhelmed at their beauty. To think someone thinks I even resemble those girls just does it for my self-esteem.
My stomach never went back to how it was pre-pregnancy and I’m getting to be ok with that. It will always be a little softer, a little rounder, because those lives have started behind that belly button. My breasts have let me in on what Victoria’s “secret” really is (thank You Lord for that little helper) but the nourishment they have given my daughters is a gift worth the loss of firmness and lift. My daughters inspire me, even on days when I’m not feeling my best, to keep at the forefront of my thoughts, words, and actions what I know God created me to be: a beautiful creation designed by the same hands that brought me these two miracles. I want to do everything in my power to equip them to fight this battle waged on us as women to love themselves and own their God given beauty. I am forever grateful to my friend Ann Wilson for leading me in a group through “Do You Think I’m Beautiful?” by Angela Thomas. This book, along with Ann’s wisdom, taught me foundational biblical truths about who I am in God and why that makes me beautiful. It also encouraged my husband to tell me he thought I was beautiful when he first started seeing the book on my nightstand J
Right before we found out our second child was a girl I started hearing the little phrase “girls steal your beauty”. Not my girls. They have given me beauty more precious than any plastic surgeon could bestow.
Jennifer Dugan is a stay at home mom of 2 little girls with a 3rd due in July! This most recent year has entailed 3 different homes as she and her husband pursue the Air Force life. The Florida gulf coast presented a lot of natural beauty but the midwest is home and they look forward to growing their girls in the knowledge of who God has created them to be no matter where the house is that they are making a home.