Kids’ Ages: 16,13,11,8 ALL girls
8 Years Post Partum
“What happened?” said the young boy, “Did your baby scratch you?”
This is the moment I discovered the awful truth that would impact the rest of my life. I had stretch marks. Back story: I was a 5’10” model who weighed 120lbs soaking wet. I was 17 when I conceived my first child, and pretty happy about it actually. My pregnancy was calm, serene and basically uneventful, until my friend’s son uttered the above quote. I couldn’t see the underside of my belly, so I immediately went home and broke out the hand mirror. There they were. Approximately 4 tiny, purple, stretchmarks. Two on each side of my giganormus belly. “Oh well.” I thought. “They’re little, no biggie.” However these scars grew exponentially for the next three weeks until I delivered my healthy 8lb baby girl. I didn’t think of them during labor, delivery, or recovery of course. I was too busy falling in love with my baby. But when I got home I decided to shower and change into a nice pyjama for easy nursing. There was a full-length mirror in the room and I didn’t immediately recognize myself at first glance. But when I did, I cried at the sight of my huge, painful boobs and belly full of ugly stretch marks. “They are the stars and stripes of motherhood!” my mom said. Well, I am not that patriotic of a mother I suppose. I literally mourned my former body for the next decade or so. Not only did puberty just grant me that “kick ass” body I had always dreamed of, but mother nature came and took it away! And only after a completely natural and painful birth. To make a long story short, covering my belly has been a goal since that day. Swim suit shopping often ends in me crying in some department store dressing room. Three kids later, my youngest taught me a lesson. I was wearing a tee-shirt, and my lil one was cuddling with me on the couch-both of us in sleepy mode.
“What are these mom?”
“They’re stretch marks, hun.”
“How’d they get there?”
“My tummy stretched a lot when you girls lived in there.”
“Well it looks like a map! With a lot, A LOT of freeways!”
“Yeah, thanks Paisley. It does look like a map.”
That stung, but then she started doing something odd. She traced the stretch marks one by one with her fingers and said-get this:
“I think they’re pretty! They are all shiny like satiny. And all the stretch marks are the map to where I came from!”
I kissed her forehead, and remembered exactly why I should not be ashamed to have them. They kind of are the map to where my kids came from. Its been an honor and a blessing to be their mommy, and I would not trade it for anything, especially minor vanity.