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Heather (Babs)

July 16, 2006

Hi,
I did the post for “Babs”, with the black and white picture that showed the c-section scar.
I came back and read some of the comments that people had left. I was a little afraid to at first, wondering if they’d all be around the lines of “You’re so lucky” – and I was so grateful to see that they weren’t: everyone’s different. This blog is inspirational and I’m so glad it’s here.

Someone commented in a way that felt very true to me. She said: “Thanks for sharing your photos. My body bounces back fairly well, too. I lost my first child when she was 16 days old, and I actually hated that my body bounced back. It was if all evidence of her had been erased, except for the c/s scar. I wish I had taken a pic of myself like you did. With baby #2 (a boy) I didn’t bounce back quite as well, but I’m nearing 40 and I think I look ok. Anyway, I related to your post in a big way and had to say thanks for having the courage to share.”

I wanted to say that sometimes those stretch marks that everyone hates can be something another yearns for. I don’t get any marks on my stomach, and the only stretch marks I’ve ever gotten were faint ones on my hips. After I had my son, my stomach went flat almost immediately. I felt carved after my c-section, and confused. I had it done under general anesthetic and I was not able to see him until after he’d died. The entire birth, and life, experience was robbed from me.

Going home with no carseat, in pre-pregnancy jeans felt unfair: I wanted something, anything, some evidence that he existed. Something other than a c-section scar that I felt ashamed of because I was forced into it. I am still coming to terms with these feelings as I await the birth of my third child. I’ve considered having a tattoo done of the only partial handprint the hospital offered me, so I could leave his mark on my body in a place no one but me would see unless I chose to show them.

Mamas: cherish your battle wounds, your stretch marks and bellies. They are beautiful; they are the footprints that your children have left behind as were created and nourished, and while you may have days where you want to hide them, others might be looking on at the majesty that is a mother’s body and appreciating them for the art they are.

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21 Responses to “Heather (Babs)”

  1. Alaina Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 8:11 am

    Thank you for your beautiful post.

  2. Whitney Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 8:18 am

    A very good reminder to be grateful for what we have. Thank you for writing this.

  3. thordora Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Yes, thank you. I try and remember stories like yours when I become upset with my own “stripes”.I must say though, today I felt no shame in wearing my bathing suit for the first time in years.That would be a wonderful tattoo.

  4. Anonymous Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a welcome perspective for me. My son died earlier this year, and I’ve often thought how unfair it is to have a postpartum body with no baby to bring home. But now, maybe, I can think of it differently, as proof to the world that he did exist.

  5. Special Red Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for your story. You made a lot of mothers rethink their own bodies, relating to your words. I’m so sorry about your loss. I think that tattoo would be fabulous. I really think it would be a good idea. The reason I say it is because of my own tattoos: I recently had my backpiece started, which contains a mural of heaven, with portraitwork of people who were close to me that died. I had pushed all of that rage and bitterness and hurt deep down, and found it all released with the pain of tattooing. It brought to terms what happened for me, and the pain of the needles really unearthed all the hurt I’d been feeling, and let me conquer it. Even now, looking at my unfinished tattoo, I can smile instead of cry at the beautiful faces.

  6. Clair Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    I lost my first child in my 43rd week of pregnancy. There is something about going home without a baby, to an empty home, that makes you feel as if your identity as a mother has been erased. No one can see that you are a mother, it is something that simply has to live inside of you. The one thing I always turned to when I wondered if my child was even real, when I wondered if I’d just dreamed her up, was this body of mine that changed so much because of her. There was something comforting about the new dimensions of my body and about the stretch marks that lined my abdomen and hips in silver. They were proof-positive that I was a mother and that once upon a time a beautiful little girl lived within me, that she grew and thrived and felt my love. I am grateful for these scars… they are among the few tangible imprints that my daughter left on this world.

  7. Anonymous Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, and I think the idea of a tattoo of your baby’s handprint is a beautiful tribute.

  8. GiGi Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    I hope you won’t mind my linking your post to my blog…Your words are very important and more women need to read them. Whenever I feel that weird disapproval of my body and all its postpartum strangeness, I think of how wonderful my daughter is and how it was all worth it.The tattoo is a beautiful idea – go for it!

  9. Rebekah Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    This post gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I am one of many women who have spent waaay too much time cursing the stretch marks and imperfections that bearing a child has caused. I don’t think I will ever look at my stretch marks and pouch that begrudgingly again, after reading your perspective. Thank you. So very much. I am terrible sorry that you lost your baby. I also think the tattoo is a beautiful idea. I say to go for it. Peace be with you, mama.

  10. Anonymous Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you for your post. I, too, felt robbed for going home w/ a c-section scar after losing our 3rd son, caleb, three years ago. My stomach never bounced back from the c-section like it did after our other 2 boys. At first, it angered me, but I find myself touching as if to remind myself that I was not crazy and he did exist, move and grow inside me. God bless you!!!!

  11. SSV Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 5:37 am

    Your post brought me to tears and I am very sorry for your loss. I am also another person who has hated the marks left behind. Reading your post has really made me rethink as to why I am so ashamed. Now I feel grateful and I will learn to embrace my beautiful marks of motherhood. Love and peace to you!

  12. Jenny Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 6:46 am

    This post has haunted me for days. Thank you for sharing your sadly beautiful story.

  13. Anonymous Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 8:26 am

    I too lost a baby at birth. I already had 4 children when he was born, so the stretchmarks and sagginess were well established. The breasts full of milk for a newborn who never tasted it and the sleepless nights empty of any baby noises hurt horrifically. I had to stay strong for the rest of my kids, and I think that kept me going. I cannot imagine having nothing to hold on to. My heart aches for all those who have had to feel this pain. The worst thing was being out shopping with my 2 boys and 2 girls and having someone say “Ohhh 2 boys and 2 girls, you have the perfect family!” I couldn’t very well scream “NO you idiot! The perfect family would have been to have all 3 of my boys here with me!!!” It was meant as a compliment, but it cut deeper than any insult.

  14. susannah Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Thankyou for sharing your story. I too lost a baby and we have his feet tattooed on our arms. I bounced back straight away which felt like insult upon insult for me. As you said, it’s the only tangible reminder of him.

  15. Dylan's mommy Says:
    May 4th, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I lost my son Dylan 7 years ago. He was stillborn. He was alive just before I was rushed into the O.R. for an emergency C-section. I was made to wait for quite a long time before anyone would attend to me properly. My water broke and I looked like Niagra Falls all the way to the hospital and waiting there as well. I felt my son fighting inside my body for his life. By the time he was separated from me he was gone. His body was suffocated by the umbilical cord. My first and only child. I felt betrayed by my body and angry. I had the pain and reminder in my scar. Ever since then when people ask me do I have children, I say, I am a mother but my son passed away. I do not discount the months I had with him inside me, nurturing and protecting him. He is no less of a person. His memory will live on with me…ALWAYS

    Dylan, your mommy loves you and thinks and prays for you everyday

  16. Angele Says:
    April 17th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Thank you. I have never thought about it in that way! I will never look at my stretch marks and saggy skin the same. God bless!

  17. Grateful Mum Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    As I write this my 14 lb angel baby is by my side and the 14 extra pounds I’ve been cursing (along with the lumpy C section scar and nerve damage) seem like the greatest gifts from God. I’ve been so so selfish and stupid. Thank you for your generosity and courage. Your sharing has me in tears of sadness while my heart swells with gratitude and joy.

  18. OMG We're Pregnant Says:
    May 9th, 2009 at 3:57 am

    This so beautiful and so sad… it really has helped me put things in to perspective as I am dealing with my changing body. Thank you for sharing x

  19. aaryn peterson Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful sight, honoring Mommy’s and the path that leads us to that point, and the road after. I often feel ashamed of my sagging boobs, but then remember with pride that I earned those saggs! I nurished to healthy, beautiful babies!

    The post about loosing a baby was so beautiful, so sad, so worthy of sharing. Thank you, thank you for your Mother’s Heart. Much love your way!

  20. L Says:
    February 13th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    THank you for sharing your story. I cried as usual with the stories on this site. Im really sorry for your loss. I only fouind this site recently. My son was born in April 06 Im not sure when your son was born but I can only imagine the pain you still feel. THank you for you outlook because Im am often ashamed of my marks I feel like i destroyed my body not my kids. But after reading your post and you longing for something of your son made me understand alot.. Thnak you very much for this post and again Im so sorry. I hope your other children are doing well!! they are probably already big fromthe date of this post…best wishes!!!

  21. terah carter Says:
    September 30th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for writing this. You saved me! Since my pregnancy with my first child I have hated with passion the way I looked. After my second child I didn’t even want to the leave the house. I robbed my children of many experiences because I felt so ashamed of how I looked and didn’t want to be seen. I have struggled for 3 years but came across your post today! I am deeply sorry for your loss and cannot imagine. Your story really has saved me. I can now look proudly at myself knowing what gift I have been given! May god bless you and all women who have experienced loss! I pray god can also guide women to your post who are dissatisfied with themselves. You are inspiring!

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