Recently, I was cooking dinner.  I leaned against the stove to stir the pot on the back burner, and I noticed that my used-to-be-a-baby-bump chub squished against the handle of the oven door.

My first reaction was one that I’ve had many times over the last several months-frustration, embarrassment, longing for the body of my college days.  But that passed quickly, and it was replaced by something else that I hadn’t experienced in relation to my recent…ahem…higher BMI.

I felt pride.

A few days before, I had been hanging out with some friends, and I noticed my friend’s belly.  She is in no way overweight, is actually quite petite, and has had kids.  I found myself longing for what she had-a badge of honor, a token of motherhood.

It wasn’t until I squished my belly while cooking that I realized that this pudge that I had been looking at so begrudgingly was my own badge of honor.

I lived in Africa for four months-something that many people only dream of.  Somewhere between the carbs on carbs diet, and hitting 25, my body decided it wanted to start storing.

Maasai Mara

I lost a little bit of Africa weight when we returned to the States, but then I found out I was pregnant right after Christmas.  We didn’t have a scale, so I don’t know if I gained or lost any weight during the pregnancy, but I do know that my belly was growing.



Then, I miscarried at 11 weeks.  I remember thinking, “What’s the point in eating?  I’m not taking care of anyone else anymore.” For a few days, in my grief, all I ate was a bowl of cereal here and there, and a few bites of meals.  I remember looking down at my stomach, and seeing it flat again.  I laughed bitterly and thought, “Well, there’s nothing in there anymore.  Might as well have a visual reminder.”  When of course, I would have given anything to have a life still inside my womb.

After the not-wanting-to-eat-anything period came the wanting-to-eat-everything period.  And I gained it all back again, including the belly chub.  Since then, most days, it has been the thorn in my side.  But not on this day.

I smiled as I thought about how I walked miles in the African bush to meet with villagers for Bible study, and how they gave us chapati after chapati to eat.  I thought about how even though I’m not pregnant anymore, I supported a flipping life inside of me for months.  I have had almost 26 years of rich, full life, and I have the privilege of having a few physical reminders of that from this body that has carried me through them.

So, I still look up a ton of different workouts and confuse my cats when I do them in the living room.  I still try (and fail most of the time) to turn down the free Chick-fil-A employee meal on my break at work.  I still find myself wishing for the days of old when I felt confident in my body, but I’m also trying to remember that I am lucky.

I get to carry my badge of honor with me.  I am a missionary.  I am a mother.  And I definitely wouldn’t trade either one of these for a flat belly.

One thought on “The One About the Chub

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