For me, December 5th will mark a whole year from conception. As you all know, it’s been an intense year, and one that has fundamentally changed me, mind, body and spirit.
Today I was enjoying my son, and thinking about how much he’s already learned in such a short time. The changes are so rapid, and so monumental. He’s grabbing things now. He’s moving things. He’s starting to make splashes with his legs in the tub. He’s learning that he can actually manipulate his surroundings – interact with the world, touch it, move it – not limited to placidly watching it anymore.
I’ve been thinking about change, and how life, from birth to death is change. The idea that there is or should be some sort of “growth plateau” around our 20’s or 30’s is an illusion. Change is perpetual, and it leads to transformation. And life changes are not constant or gradual, they come in fits and spurts. Growth spurts.
So, I’m watching my son, and I’m marveling at his benchmarks and growth spurts and chubby cheeks and laughter and at some point, I ask myself, “If you are so happy for this rapid change, growth and transformation in your son, then why aren’t you celebrating your own as well?” Deep. I mean, here we are, new mothers holding babies on our hips that grew inside us feeling bad about stretchmarks and cellulite. Stupid, isn’t it?
But shoot, we don’t know any better. We get tricked into believing that having a baby is a thing you “bounce back” from. We don’t understand it as a fundamental transformation, but rather as some sort of “situation” that we will return to “normal” after.
I mean, men probably have a better understanding of what women’s post-pregnancy bodies look like than we do! Unreal. I’ll admit that at 33 years old, I’d only seen one belly with stretchmarks before I got my own. I remember feeling so bad for her. God…
When I got mine in the 8th month, I couldn’t believe it. I would just stare and stare at them in the mirror. I got more and more in that last month and they swirled up around my belly button like a galaxy. A few days after I had my boy, I finally looked at them again in the mirror. I didn’t hate them. I kinda liked them. I mean, isn’t it like a souvenir of pregnancy? You go to Florida and get a mug or a t-shirt, why shouldn’t you have a souvenir of pregnancy? I say stretchmarks are the new tattoos!
Change is still happening, and they’ll probably fade over time and the pooch will go down, but I’m not going to feel bad about them. Those marks symbolize a whole transformation in me. Those stripes taught me how to love again. Those stripes gave me hope again.
So ladies, I earned my stripes, and I’m proud of them! I say you should be too! :)