I was once a naked canvas. My skin was untouched, smooth and that is what I thought beauty was.
My body yearned to hold life within it, and at the tender age of 18 I was granted that wish.
I saw only beauty in my pregnancy. My body was like a mound of clay; and by the hands of God it was being molded into a sanctuary for a life to grow within its walls.
No longer did I have my defined ballerina body, instead it became wide, soft and chubby. My stretch marks were never a shame or a burden at that time. To me, they were like rose colored ivy weaving and dancing up and down my body; proof that my body was willing to heal after the pulling and stretching of my skin. Yes, they were different, and up until then, I never knew stretch marks existed. All I wanted was a happy and healthy baby, my body now was no longer my own.
It wasn’t until I gave birth that they became a horrific stain upon my life…
I went to the hospital in minor labor only to find out that my precious baby was being strangled by the umbilical cord. He was a strong boy right from the start; on the ultrasound it showed that he was actually trying to pull the cord off his neck, but it was only a matter of time. It was decided that I was to have an immediate c-section. My husband and I were terrified and confused, but hopeful.
As they were preparing me for surgery, one of the nurses blurted out ” Look at all those stretch marks, I never seen that many before”…My mind froze upon her words and immediate shame came upon me. I felt disgusting about myself, why did I let this happen to me.
Thank God that my son was born healthy and happy, despite being a tiny little thing ( 5 pounds, 6 ounces), he was perfect and I forgot about my body. It wasn’t until a month later that I started looking at myself again.
No longer did I hold life, instead I had a horrible bulge and what seemed like deep stretches of shame tattooed all over me. I felt so ugly, and I refused to let anyone( my husband) included see me naked. Why me? There were tons of women like my mother who didn’t have one stretch mark on their bodies, yet I had thousands. No more bathing suits, no more sexy clothes, no more beauty.
The mirror became my truth and my pain. I had to look into ten or more times a day. I would scrub my body over and over again,and I tried everything out on the market to get rid of them. I was so afraid of getting more.
Trying to feel comfortable in my own skin, I would study women like crazy, always trying to find their flaws..and if I knew they had children, I needed to know if they too bore the marks.
I was angry, I was crazy. I was wasting away my life.
Now I have come to terms with them. At times they bother me, but I love them all the same.
It makes my heart melt when my son runs his hands over them and tells me with true honesty that I am beautiful. Yes, I am far from flawless, but I am now truly one with the world . For I like the earth hold the marks of the life I keep. I am no longer the young maiden, so pure; I am the warrior mother, whose armor tells a story of true love.