Hannah is tiny, not only is she thin, but she’s just small. When we were just dating, I would pick her up and twirl her around easily, her 5’6” frame contrasted by my height. I’ve told her that she’s short, but her constant argument is that I’m abnormally tall, and she’s just average. The argument has died down now (since she is short), and as we enjoy time together, lying on the bed next to each other as we read or watch a movie, I notice that things are changing for us. Hannah has been pregnant for nearly 12 weeks now, and her body is adjusting to a baby who is growing pretty dang fast.

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I notice stretch marks, and veins popping up, skin growing tight and making a safe place for a baby to grow in. My wife’s body is changing. She’s getting bigger and rounder, and strangely more beautiful to me. In a culture fascinated with thin bodies and tight abs, I’m suddenly presented with a wonderful picture of life, growing right before me and it’s amazing. Now is the time for resolutions and posts about bodies changing and people needing to lose a few more pounds, but my wife is focusing on feeding two people and actually trying to gain weight!

There will be more changes to deal with, more stretches and blue skin, and the marks of growing old and loving a baby more than my wife loves her own body.

 

There will be birth, and pain and recovery, and a miracle called, “new life.” It’s going to come with changes, and it’s going to come with my responsibility to refuse to compromise, to refuse to change:

 

I refuse to stop loving my wife in the same way that I started loving her.

I refuse to let my definition of beauty remain the same, when my wife changes with the weight and responsibility of my child.

I refuse let stretch marks, and signs of pregnancy- maybe we should just call them beauty marks- be negative, but rather a badge of courage and strength.

I refuse to let my wife sink into self-doubt about her body, by doing all I can to let her know that I love her.

I married Hannah, knowing that there would be changes, knowing that I committed to love her and let my definition of beauty evolve with the experience of knowing her. Pregnancy is a huge responsibility, and as I watch Hannah go through morning sickness, nausea, dietary and bodily changes, I’m stunned at how hard this is and just how strong my wife is. I am so glad that I’m able to support her, love her, and embrace her as she changes sacrificially.