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I'm just going to come out and say it: Pregnancy has been one of the most identity-shaking events of my life. I had no idea going into it that there would be so many internal and external factors pushing themselves forward to try and re-define and re-identify who I am as a person. One of the hardest ones for me so far has been my physical appearance.

When it comes to beauty, I resonate so strongly with the prayer "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief". I DO believe that I am beautiful because of who I am, and that beauty shines through in how I look. As all you ladies know, physical beauty is only effortless for a very very few women (let's call them the unicorns). For the rest of us - for me - it's been years of finding the right skin care regime, the makeup that plays best with my skin type, the shampoo and conditioner and leave in spray, and leave out spray, and whateverelseittakes, plus guzzling a gazillion ounces of water each day and a dedicated workout schedule to physically hit my ideal "beauty".

Then I got pregnant. And years of diligent skin care, supplements, and diet choices flew right out the window as eating became "whatever I can keep down", working out became impossible (again, the vomiting), and I began to break out and loose clumps of hair (I thought that only happened post-partum!). I felt dirty, dingy, tired, and ugly to my core.

It took my husband's continual reassurance that I am beautiful in his eyes and a constant recitation of believing in my beauty before I had the emotional energy to figure out my new skin and hair, and find products that work for pregnant Ashley. I was finally in a good place physically when we took our announcement photos, and felt very happy with how well I was looking and feeling again (not vomiting every 15 min really changes your perspective back to positive quickly, as does not loosing hair anymore).

Then I posted the announcement.

And the comments about my appearance started rolling in.

I got told that I have a round face. I have that pregnancy glow (but they're sure it's from the oily skin!). That I really "filled out fast" - was I sure I wasn't further along? That my hair looks so lifeless... must be a girl because the beauty is being sucked out of me.


After I had worked so hard to get back some of the physical beauty I had lost because of the little (parasitic) miracle my body is housing, I still get told that I am less than before. Less slender. Less pretty. Less beautiful. Less.

I want to encourage you, Reader, to join me in learning to tune out the voices that are telling you that you're not beautiful enough, that you're not slender enough, that you're just not enough. You are stunning, you are truly beautiful, you are enough and your heavenly Father is head over heels in love with you.

Those voices don't really know who you are. They're expressing their insecurity, tearing you down to try and build themselves up, and through them Satan is whispering, whispering, whispering lies into your heart that will keep you from your purpose.

So let's tune them out, and listen to the voices that whisper worth, love, beauty, and truth into our hearts. Because, believe me, you are so beautiful.

"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."

- Mark 9:24 -

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