This weekend, I met up with two of my best friends, and had a maternity shoot. Two of us are pregnant, and the other is an amazing photo artist. I love the photos she captured, and I cannot wait until she has them finished for us.
Pregnancy is such an amazing time to share with best friends.
But, unfortunately, it also happens to be a time we often compare ourselves to others.
Just before we took our photos, Husband and I had a really rough day, communication wise. Things during this first year haven’t been easy, as they aren’t for most first year couples.
As I struggled to get ready on time to make the hour and a half drive, I found myself sobbing that I didn’t even think I wanted to go anymore. Having to position myself next to two amazing wives and mommas.
Here I am failing at being a wife, and what does that say about me being a momma? I can’t do this. I don’t want to stand next to them, they are so good at being wives and moms. I can’t live up to that.
I found myself sobbing these things out loud to my husband.
But, I put on my dress, fixed my hair, grabbed my make-up and headed for the car. And, I am so glad I did. I’m glad Husband was there with me. I’m honored to have stood next to one beautiful momma and be snapped by another beautiful momma.
I am so glad that, even though I will likely remember all the hard times of the weekend, which ended up with an ER visit for me, I will also have these gorgeous pictures that celebrate our love and friendship and Baby Girl, who doesn’t deserve to not be celebrated just because I feel less than.
Mom guilt, mom shaming, not feeling enough-ness. It all starts early, I’ve learned. It starts even before pregnancy at times.
We are all guilty of it. And, it steals our joy and our peace, if we let it.
But, the fact is, when we compare, we are not comparing the whole story. We are often looking at our darkest times, comparing with what we know about others. And, others only often share the good times, the joy.
We don’t always hear about their own rough first year of marriage, full of fights and borderline calling it quits. We don’t always hear about their morning sickness, or extreme exhaustion, or body image issues. We don’t always hear about the difficulties of those first months: baby won’t sleep. Colicky, won’t latch, changing how we thought parenting would go.
Meanwhile, we see perfect pictures and joy-filled captions and think why can’t I be like that? Why are we struggling so much with…?
Chances are, we are doing something well that they aren’t, and they are looking at our highlights wondering the same thing.
Which is why I’m careful about how, where, when, and why I share the struggles I’ve had in this pregnancy. Guys. It has not been easy.
As a matter of fact, I don’t like it. Outside of my stretch marks (yes, I LOVE THEM!) and hearing her heartbeat and feeling her move, it has been a miserable experience over all. And, at so many moments has felt extremely isolating.
But I am careful about sharing, because I know others who would love to be this miserable right now, if it meant being able to hold their baby in their arms at the end of nine months. If it meant not having to say goodbye within weeks or months.
Is it my job to protect everyone? No, but it is socially responsible to find the right times and place to go with those complaints or any updates, and keep the rest away from those who may be hurting.
Because, they will look at my highs and lows, and compare.
Comparison is a thief.
It steals peace and joy. If we want those things in our lives, we have no business engaging in it.
Yet, pregnancy and motherhood make it so hard not to.
With the millions of differing opinions of how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, etc. When everyone is waiting to tell you you’ve done something wrong, or you are surrounded by people always seeming to do it right.
But, I will say it again:
It’s a thief I have been fighting for months, really, since I got married. But, every day I get a little better at ignoring it. At accepting who I am and how I do things.
And, by learning what God has to say about womanhood, marriage, wifehood, pregnancy, and motherhood, and what all of that means for me.
Which brings me to the last part of this, there are 7 great verses that have been helpful to me during this time.
These verses help me re-focus on the miracle happening inside of me. They help me keep my eye on Him and myself, letting others be. They have brought comfort and peace. They have been excellent for my journey, and may be for yours as well:
Genesis 29:35 – “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son, she said, “This time, I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
Leah finally realized it was God’s love that blessed her. Judah was her child of praise, and Baby Girl is my child of praise, praise that I am a part of the miracle of creation.
Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Even though I have no idea what she looks like, what personality she will have, how she will be like me or like my husband, God knows all of this already. He is knitting her together now. And she is His workmanship. The prayers for the good works He has set before her can start now. And, no matter how long or short her life, she is a beautiful piece of God’s creation.
Joshua 1:9 “Have i not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
This verse has always been special to me. It is an anxiety reducer. It is a verse that God always brings to mind when my focus falters and my fear takes over. There are a lot of anxiety producing, lonely, and sad times in pregnancy. But God is always with me.
James 1:17“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Baby girl is a gift. She is a blessed surprise. God’s gifts are good. Even though it’s a rough time, the outcome is the best gift ever.
Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
If I am too busy comparing myself to others, looking at what they have and what I lack, I will lose focus on the important things. I will begin to falter. I will sink. I will not be able to do my own “good works” God has laid out before me, because I am too busy looking to the right or left.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Like many of my verses, this last set is about anxiety. One of my biggest struggles, that seems to have only increased in pregnancy. But, when I focus on Him, and His hand in all of this, when I stop comparing, when I remember the gift, the anxiety lessens and I find His peace replacing it.
I’m learning daily to focus on Him and me, and not the world around me. Not allowing comparison to steal precious moments, like those I had this weekend.
I’m allowing His love and the love of those around me to fill me, so there’s no room for the rest.
What about you? What verses helped you during pregnancy? What verses help you in marriage? What verses remind you not to allow comparison to be a thief in your life? Comment below, and if this post has been helpful to you, share it!