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battle scars

I was so disappointed and still get teary when I think about how late they arrived. 

I thought I was in the clear, I was bragging about how they hadn't arrived and then I turned around one morning.  There in the mirror, starring right back at me, at 39 weeks, they were here.  

I thought it was just something on the mirror, so I went to the bathroom and they were still there. 

All over my belly.


Silver lines.

Stretch marks.

I had just been talking to my mom about how people think it's wild that I don't have any and how she didn't have any so maybe it's genetic.  I was saying how I use Palmer's lotion and how it "must be doing the job."

I started reading on the internet about how some people didn't get stretch marks until after their labor.  Some had stretch marks beforehand but they worsened after labor.  Some didn't get any at all.  Then I started to fear that I could potentially get them after labor...

I was so determined to let my body go into labor on its own.  I didn't want to force what is natural.  I wanted to wait.  So, we did.  I was 40 weeks and 6 days, the day I delivered.  And there they were... they didn't want to wait 13 days, they wanted to invade and they did.

I was so mad.  I couldn't believe that they had shown up so late and that they were just everywhere.  I think about what my next pregnancy will be like and I wonder if they will get worse.  I think about looking at myself in the mirror and just hating the way I look.  I get this lump in my throat thinking about what my body used to look like and what it does now.  And then I think about my husband.  If I feel this way about the way I look, does he feel the same way?  It just makes me so upset.

It's just awful.

When I was really down about it, I found this picture and poem and I thought... oh, I'm such a brat.

A mark for every breath you took,
every blink, every sleepy yawn. 
One for every time you sucked your thumb
waved hello, closed your eyes,
and slept in the most perfect darkness.
One for every time you had the hiccups.
One for every dream you dreamed within me.
… It isn’t very pretty anymore.
Some may even think it’s ugly.
That’s OK.
It was your home.
It held you until my arms could
and for that,
I will always find something beautiful in it.

Now, I think about our journey to finally hold this little one in our arms and love him.  I think about the doctors that tried to walk with us down this struggle.  I think about the drugs, needles, dr. appointments, fights, tears, phone calls, pregnancy tests, vitamins, IUIs, ultrasounds, surgeries, procedures, tests, nurses, exam tables, and heartache.  I think about the blog entries I would write, the pain we felt and the emptiness.  I think about "Spud", our first pregnancy and how in love we were with everything surrounding that pregnancy.  I think about losing that pregnancy and how much we hurt.  I think about all of the miles, the gas, the money, the plans and the hope that we had with every day that would pass. 

I think about all the planning we did, only to have everything fall into place when we really weren't looking.  I think about the happiness we shared when we found out about both pregnancies and the joy that filled our hearts, both times.  I think about the months that we watched my belly grow, the dr. appointments, the hospital visits, the hours we spent in the nursery, the things we bought, and the love that we had for this little one... long before he arrived.

I think about the 11 hours I labored with Coen. I think about every breath I took without an epidural.  Everything that lead up to my c-section and finally holding my little baby boy.

Yes, that's me.
 Each of those lines on my belly that are now purple, silver and red represent those moments.  Today, I realize that those lines might be ugly to look at in the mirror, they may not remind me of the body I once had, but they are mine.  To me they represent our journey.  A visual reminder of all the work, heartache and joy that we went through to bring such a beautiful life into the world.  A life we weren't sure we'd ever get to meet.

Just look at the sweetness...

I'm learning to be more and more proud of these marks.  It's not easy.  I read this poem above to remind myself why they are here and why they arrived.

I realize, now, that they may never go away.  They may never fade or disappear.  And I'm learning to be okay with this.  So what if I can never wear a bikini again... they make some great mommy bathing suits these days.  I'll make do.

These lines, they mean something.  They tell our story of how we brought this little one into the world.  They mean more to me than I ever thought they would.  So what if they are ugly.  It's just another piece of our journey and I'm happy to have them.


Andrea said…
Great post! I, shamefully, have been terrified of stretch marks throughout both of my pregnancies. At times I'm over the top and need to relax a bit. At this point I keep telling myself that I'd rather endure stretch marks than empty arms for the rest of my life. And that way of thinking certainly puts things into perspective.

I ended up getting a few small marks on my lower belly with Eli and honestly, they really do fade. You can count on that. Since I was such a crazy person about those things though I used a lot of lotions and creams to help fade them and I really think some worked wonders. If you're interested, shoot me an email. I don't want to bombard you with all my suggestions if you're perfectly content with the way you are :) [As you SHOULD be!! :)]
IVF Again! said…
My stretch marks didn't come until the last few weeks of my pregnancy. And no one believes this but they actually got worse, and I saw even more after I had Stella. Weird, I know! I lost the weight in weeks, but the stretch marks stuck around for months. It's almost been 18 months since I had Stella and you really can't see ANY of them any more! So they fade and/or go away! I promise!!! I was worried they wouldn't go away but they did. :)
Kristen said…
My stomach looked just like that after I had Christian and I can't see any of them now - they've faded to blend in with my skin - they may never go away completely but I can promise they will get better in the coming months :)
Whitney said…
You GO, girl. I was right there with you with this whole post: "Ugh, I know. Me, too. ... Oh, that poem! How sweet! ... What a trivial problem! They are my battle scars! I love them! Hear me roar!!!"

Chrissy said…
Aww, such a great post! So sweet! And a great way of looking at stretch marks. We SHOULD be proud of them!!

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