The postpartum story I want to be able to tell you...
The postpartum story I want to be able to tell you...

This is the story I want to be able to tell you…

I was so well prepped during my pregnancy that I could take labour in my stride. I mean, of course it was one of the hardest things I could ever do, but my fitness, strength and mental resilience got me through.

It took some time, of course, to recover from labour but now I’m back into sport and I love it. You’ll see me at buggy fit classes, or doing workouts with my baby strapped to me. You’ll see me out running, and generally getting back into sport. I’m making sure I have a healthy diet. I’ve regained my figure too, it doesn’t look like I was ever pregnant.

Of course pregnancy kept me out of my sports club for a while. But I kept in touch with my teammates and having a baby has been such a great opportunity to share something of Christ. Friends have come along to church and I’m hoping to start reading the Bible with them soon.

That is the story I want to be able to tell you. I guess that’s what I imagined my story would be. Maybe it’s yours. But it’s not mine. That’s not my story.

My story…

I thought my athleticism would mean that I had a quick and straightforward labour, it would be similar to the gruelling sports events I’d done before. But it wasn’t. It took what felt like forever, it was anything but quick. And I wanted to quit. I just wanted it to end. I would have taken any easy way out if they offered it to me.

And now I am still so far off playing sport again. My body feels broken, weak, exhausted. Legs, arms, drained of the strength I once knew. Core dwindling somewhere in the depths. Too tired to sit up straight. All my energy spent on another.

There are exercises to do on this long road to recovery, but finding the time or energy can seem impossible. There is always so much else to do. I thought about couch to 5K, but I’ve been on the ‘couch’ part for a long while now.

They tell me what things I should eat and shouldn’t eat. But who has time to choose the healthy option? To make things from scratch. We just do what we need to do to get through the day. Oh body, I used to think so carefully about what I put into you. How to look your best, how to optimise performance. But there’s no time for that now.

Others don’t look like they’re having these issues. Other women who have had more babies, more recently than me, have bounced back to their flat stomachs fast. They look like they were never pregnant, as they squat and jump and run for miles. How have they bounced back so quickly? Their diets are perfect and their houses are clean. Or at least that’s how it seems.

And Pray Play Say? Covid and pregnancy have kept me out of sport, and I have wondered what it means to be a Christian in Sport in this season. I am sure there is much I could have done, but the truth is that evangelism to sports people has fallen off my radar.

I sometimes feel diminished, frustrated, and less than I was.

But what about God’s story? I am part of His story. So this cannot be without Him. And He meets me here. How can God’s story change my view of my body?

God’s story

Body, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). You are a gift from God, for His glory. You are made to do good works for God (Ephesians).

And look at what you have done!

You formed and grew a life within you. A sanctuary, a fortress for her.

And then you brought her into this world. A challenge greater than any physical effort you had done before. A feat unknown to man.

And now she grows and she thrives because of you. You gave her life and you give her life.

You carry her, you hold her, you comfort her, you play with her.

You give yourself for her. You sacrifice so much for her. What an honour! What a joy.

Her body is a gift from God too. As she learns to sit and to stand and to crawl and to walk and to pick up and throw, see the wonder of the human body! The wonder of creation! This child that you are growing, what will she be? What will she do? What will she play?

Will she know that her body is a gift from God? Will she know of God’s mercy, and in humble thankfulness offer all that she is as a living sacrifice? (Romans 12:1)

Can this in some way point me to Christ? Body, you were broken to give life. You gave yourself and you give yourself for her. Just a small shadow of the Saviour whose body was torn apart, and who gave up everything to give you new life.

And in view of His mercy, will you offer yourself up as a sacrifice again? As you play some form of sport again, perhaps… but in your every day. When your exercise is basically just breathing. Or walking. And more walking.

Oh and body, I put so much pressure on you! I have so longed to get back into the action that I have gone too fast, done too much too soon. There’s a lesson I still need to learn in all of my life. That’s why we gave our daughter the middle name ‘Grace.’ I need to remind myself - I am not justified by how much I can do, I am not made whole by sporting success, I am not saved by my physical abilities. Indeed I am not defined by my evangelism, which falls so far short of God’s calling for me. God is kind. He saves me by His grace. He meets me in my weakness and failure and He loves me still. Christ is enough.

My story is that I am not where I want to be, not where I thought I would be. But I have a Saviour who has a purpose for me, who holds me in the palm of His hands.

Who meets me in my weakness and has a plan for me in every season of life. In this season, I can’t be the Pray Play Sayer I was or hope to be again someday. But I am Christ’s. I am forgiven, I am justified. And I will offer this body, such that it is, as a living sacrifice.

Rosie Woodbridge

You can read Rosie's blog on pregnancy, 'A letter to my body' here

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