Hi guys! My name is Natalie Howell and I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to share with you a little bit about myself through my good friend, Meagan. When I was asked to be a part of this blog series I thought I knew what I was going to write about for sure, but as I contemplated a little bit more it became a somewhat hazy for me. Unfortunately, I have always been insecure about my body, which I suppose is normal for teenage girls. However, my insecurities exceeded the “norm” I guess you could say. Why, you ask? Well, to be brutally honest, I had a baby when I was just 16. Crazy, right? Trust me, I still can’t believe it at times. Nonetheless, my little boy is BY FAR the biggest, most rewarding blessing God has granted me.
Anyhow, before I get on my soapbox about that, let me give you a little background information about myself. I grew up in a wonderful family, I also grew up in the church so I knew what was right and what was wrong and my parents did their best to enforce that upon all of their children. I was also the athlete in my family and I was constantly pushed to do better in sports as well as maintaining my grades in school. I never focused much on boys, not seriously anyways, but I’ll be honest and say that I fell for this one boy much harder than I had ever intended. We were young, stupid and in love. We didn’t listen to what our parents had always told us growing up, instead, we did what we wanted to do and didn’t think about the consequences.
I ended up pregnant by the time I was 16 years old, I was just a kid. My once athletic frame was changing drastically, my flat belly was bulging out, my thighs were getting bigger, my arms, even my hands! I was having a hard enough time facing my family and the evidence of what I had done was not able to be hidden. I gained around 25 pounds during my pregnancy and I have yet to lose it all. My son will be 3 in September and I am still struggling with the “baby weight.”
As a 19 year old mother, I look back and wish I still looked like I did when I was 16 but you know what? I’ve matured a lot since I had my sweet boy and realized being as skinny as a rail is NOT the most important thing in my life. What is most important is that I am a great mother, my priorities as far as school are on the correct path and I found the strength to realize I didn’t have to be a size 0 through wonderful friends and the comfort of my bible. If I have a hard day at school or things around home are getting so stressful I want to pull my hair out, I will make it a point to sit in my room, alone and open my bible and begin reading wherever I open up to. It never fails to comfort me and make me forget my insignificant issues of the day.
I encourage all of you beautiful ladies to stop worrying about what size you are or what the scale may say and live your life the way you were meant to!
If anyone would like to contact me to discuss my story, insecurities you may have or just in need of a friend, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise you, I will get back to you as soon as possible. Please don’t hesitate either! Thank you all so much for reading! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing this. : )
“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul..”
I'm so thankful I have a friend like Natalie who is willing to share her struggles with all of us! I want to hear your stories, too. I would love to know how you struggled and how you overcame your negative self image (your image of your personality or body) by allowing God to work through you and heal you. Please submit your stories to email@example.com and we may select some of you to be featured on the blog at the end of April!