As a little girl (with no brothers), I saw my mama’s bare belly plenty of times. But never for very long….because of the stretch marks. Those pearly-white lines etching patterns into her body. Like rivers on a road map. Like a tattoo that she never really signed up for.
I’d ask about them (because I didn’t have any yet – surely I needed those to be a beautiful woman like she was (is). She also had a big, puffy C-section scar – twice cut open. I needed one of those too…) and she’d laugh them off and say something along the lines of,
“You were worth it.”
I never understood what that meant until now, in my third trimester, with my third baby.
They weren’t something ugly, like my mama thought but would never say out loud. No. They were a bartering tool.
My mama, like all mamas, traded her body for my life.
What a precious, flawless thought.
And that’s exactly what this journey of pregnancy is. A handing over. An act of trust. Submission to whatever may come. Stretch marks, c-section scars, the swollen ankles, nausea, the acne. All of it – simply part of the deal. Some women go through the journey unmarked, while others take on a heaping bag of stuff. And the truth is, nobody goes into pregnancy and SIGNS UP for this stuff. I won’t pretend that I, like many other women, haven’t sought out ways around the stretch marks and cellulite.
When we devote time (too much time) worrying about how we’ll look after that baby comes or whether we’ll be marked up, we miss out on the beauty of submission and what the end result provides us with. New life! A small chance to play a bigger role in something beautiful.
I would challenge us all, myself included, to look at our bodies with a little more grace, pregnant or not. And THIS is why I won’t be sharing any anti-stretch mark tips with you. Because in doing so, I would in a small way be contributing to the idea that our bodies, squiggly lines and all, are things that need to be changed.
And they aren’t.