Stretch Marks Might Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me
I remember being pregnant with my first baby. The body changes…
Wow, there was some fear there.
I smothered myself in shea butter daily. Well, on my belly at least. Didn’t want those stretch marks on my svelte 20-something belly.
One day I stepped out of the shower and my husband asked me what that red thing was on my thigh.
I shrugged. I don’t know…
Ladies – I had stretch marks all over my thighs. All over. I remember calling up my friends with multiple children and asking them why they never told me that you could get stretch marks there. I was a little upset that this was secret information!
A few days later I noticed that I also had them all over my chest.
Purple. Purple stretch marks. I didn’t even know that was a thing!
It was a sight to see.
By a strange twist of fate, I didn’t get a stretch mark on my actual belly until the end of my third pregnancy, and I didn’t even know they were there until she was months old and I could finally see past my bulging gut.
I look back on those days of vain body concern with a mixture of humour and incredulity.
Could I have ever been that shallow? Did I really think that my worth as a person was somehow impacted by the scars my body bore because my body bore humans?
I was that girl, innocently navigating the great changes, both physical, mental, and spiritual, that come with motherhood. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what would come. I didn’t know what I was capable of. And I didn’t really understand what mattered and what didn’t.
All I knew was that I didn’t want to lose that “pretty” part of myself. The part of myself that felt confident in clothes or lovely when I dressed up and went out.
There is a lot of talk about stretch marks and the other signs of motherhood and age that accompany our journey through life as we age and grow and stretch in all the ways that motherhood stretches us.
I care little for that concern these days.
I now know that my stretch marks are one of the best things that ever happened to me. I also know that I barely notice them anymore – partly because they have faded, and partly because I don’t care and don’t have the time to care about something so insignificant.
I am grateful for my stretch marks (and the saggy skin and the crows feet and the tired eyes and all the other physical changes that have come) because they are a great symbol of motherhood.
I have been stretched my motherhood. It has been incredibly hard at moments. I don’t really think that I am “good” at this job. But I want to be.
I want to be.
It has pushed me in many ways.
I was stretched by those early days of babyhood where I rarely slept, nursed all the time, and poured my whole soul and body into this tiny, dependent person who truly needed me.
I was stretched in those toddler days (does anyone else hate the age of 18 months as much as I do? Probably not.) when my little one was no longer a precious baby but a running, screaming, overtired, teething wrecking ball of a toddler who didn’t think they needed me any more.
I was stretched by those three-year-olds who were too old to be distracted but so young they still needed baby time, cuddles, and constant grace.
I was stretched by five-year-olds that yelled and fought and hated to get up for school and hit and kicked and had a hard time controlling their impulses.
I was stretched by those 8 turning 9-year-olds who are beginning to realize that there is a big world outside of their home and who are scared by the true independence and separation that is encroaching on their small world.
I have been stretched by children that are willful, sad, angry, or struggling with their own difficulties, friends, and trials.
I am sure there is much stretching on the horizon as my four children get older and move further and further away and find their own self separate from me.
Stretchmarks are a symbol of the hard times, but proof that I made it through.
I survived, not unchanged, but stronger.
Someday, I will look at the faded, silvery lines on my body and remember a time when I thought that a few scars on my body were a sad reminder of loss of the beauty of youth. I will smile and know that I am better now. I have been stretched by motherhood in ways that are far harder and more real than the actual physical stretching of pregnancy weight gain.
My stretch marks are the best thing that ever happened to me because motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me.
All my efforts to be smarter, learn more, read more, and be better are a pittance when held next to the changes, both physical and hidden, that motherhood has wrought on my person.
I am grateful for the way that motherhood and those stretch marks have forced me to see that there is so much outside myself than I ever knew possible. I am grateful for the lessons in service, sacrifice, devotion, and duty that I have learned at the feet of this great teacher called motherhood.
I am grateful to know that if I want to truly be better, I don’t need to apply a special cream to my skin or inject something into my little wrinkles. All I have to do is offer myself and my will to this great teacher.
I don’t really notice the stretch marks any more. I am too busy living an incredibly full life.
I love it, and I hope you do too.