This body has held two babies; when they were first placed into its’ arms, and now, as their growing bodies stretch down more than half of its’ torso. This body may be thin, but it is strong. And this body, it has run up and down flights of steps thousands of times in search of binkies, special blankets, baby dolls, and stuffed lions. Many a night is this body exhausted, but it never gives out, it never gives up.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve watched every inch of me change. The increased smile lines around my mouth from all the laughter that escapes, and the brow indent from none other than that worried and cringed face when times were tough. The veins on my calves beginning to spread, the core I’ve been working on has flattened and yet kept its’ faint stretch marks. My tummy that has gotten tighter, but yet refuses to let go of that mom skin.
Giving birth seems like a lifetime ago, yet each one is permanently engraved on my heart. I remember, just when I thought my body couldn’t handle the pain, another contraction would come and go, and I found myself surviving. Two times, I was blessed to have experienced it, two times, my body carried an eight pound, full-termed baby. I’d kick my legs, or I would drop to all fours, crying out, “Oh no,” with each pained breath. And then, just as I realized how long I had been at it, just how tired I was, I was holding someone that was half ME. And just like that, I was given an entire second wind, un-phased by the pain.
My daughter tripped and fell when she was fifteen months old, requiring a couple of stitches and a late night in the ER. She has a tiny scar in the top left of her forehead, and really, that’s her only ‘flaw.’ Maybe I should call it a beauty mark–there’s no such thing as flaws. Sure in error, when one has physically messed up or didn’t mean to do something; but on our bodies, no. As my daughter continues to grow, her skin will no longer be as smooth; she too, will begin to show the test of time, she too, will reflect on these years. Both of my children will grow tall, probably like their daddy, and so much of them is destined to change. Will her hair forever hold her now tight ringlets? Will he always smile with his eyes and crinkle his nose when he laughs?
Each mark, each scar, each year, telling all of our stories.
My body has told the story of TWO bouts of Postpartum Thyroiditis. It had seen two-digit numbers on the scale when it crashed after my son’s birth, and it has since then, rebounded back to healthy. A year ago I had begun to panic at my reflection in the mirror slightly; I wasn’t yet ready to love this new body, all of its’ progressions, all of its’ pain. But now?
I’m beginning to see a victory–I don’t mind as much the mom skin that still exists. I have worked hard; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually– to accept this body. To be proud of this body. To share its’ story with whoever needs to hear. And to show my children that these changes are okay.