I have a dirty little secret.
I’ve been marked.
Yes, I’m one of the unfortunate few who have been permanently branded with a scarlet letter.
Or should I say, letters.
A red alphabet that stretches across my middle, like graffiti.
I remember the innocent days of a mark free stomach.
I also remember the evening when the first, tiny, innocuous mark appeared.
I thought it was a bug bite.
Oh, how wrong I was.
And to think, I actually laughed off this first little sucker.
On a lark, and because I tend to do so with everything, I, of course, googled stretch marks.
Apparently, there are certain risk factors that make women prone to such markings.
Age: Nope, definitely not age.
Weight gain: Unlikely, I’d gained very slowly, almost below average.
Not enough water: NO WAY. I drank my bodyweight in water on a daily basis. My thirst made any hydration issues next to impossible.
Genetics: I did research, and no one else in my family had ‘em.
So I had to ask,
(and please, let me explain that I ask that as in “why did I get them when I have no risk factors?”, not as in “Whyyyyyyy meeeeeee?”)
It’s so interesting.
I never planned to be back in my two-piece bathing suits the summer after giving birth.
It would take awhile to get back into pre-baby shape.
I’d surely have loads of extra skin to tone and get rid of.
And, with a c-section, there would be a scar.
No more bikinis for this mama.
But, remarkably, none of those things turned out to be my issue.
Most of my weight turned out to be water weight (not so shocking, as I’m not exaggerating about how much liquid I drank during my pregnancy)
My body may not have bounced back 100% to what it once was, but it was close enough, and I couldn’t care less about the change in shape.
And my c-section scar was a masterpiece, as far as scars go. Thinner than a pencil-line and “below the belt” so to speak, so not an issue, either.
Never in a million years would I think that the thing keeping me out of my swimsuits would be angry, red lines stretching across my skin.
I would be lying if I said that these lines don’t bother me.
I look at my fuller hips and think of my baby growing inside of me and how she started out the size of a poppy seed and grew to….well….7lbs12oz.
I look at my c-section scar and wear it like a badge of honor. This is how my daughter was brought into the world.
But the stretch marks?
Hard for me to put a positive skin on them.
Oops, did I say skin?
A positive spin.
(had to leave that slip in there, it was just too good).
I can try every cream under the sun, but I have a feeling that these guys are with me for the long haul.
So, I can hide my marks from the world.
Or, I can display them proudly,
And tell people that I’ve been attacked by a tiger.
Or something like that.
Because the more I think about it, I guess they do represent something pretty cool.
Without these marks,
No matter what it may have been,
Would have been different about my pregnancy.
And because it was my pregnancy that brought me my daughter,
I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
So, I will go down in the ranks as a marked woman,
Just like Hester Prynne before me,
And I will try my best to wear my scarlet “M”s with pride.
Because”M” is for mom.
And a mom is the best thing I’ve ever been.