"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 ugly. That's OK. It was your home. It's where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it."
So if I were really brave, I would put a picture of my own stomach here instead of this brave and beautiful woman in the picture. I normally kinda gag at cheezy stuff like this, but for whatever reason, my eyes welled up with tears when I read this. As you can imagine, my once supple and very normal looking mid-section went through quite an ordeal carrying my girls for 35 weeks. I knew at the beginning of my pregnancy that stretch marks were pretty much inevitable, so I wasn't crazy with the coco butter (I happen to think it's all a big marketing scheme anyways. Oh but my friend that had triplets escaped her pregnancy stretch mark free! Steph, you're my hero) And boy oh boy was I right. Obviously I realize and often tell people when talking about the fact that my stomach looks like a wild animal attacked it, that it was "totally worth it" and I truly mean that. However, it never stopped me from being pretty grossed out catching a glimpse of my tummy in the mirror, and simultaneously wondering if my husband really still thinks every part of me is beautiful. And having been pretty OK with my physical appearance most of my life, it's not a fun feeling to really dislike looking at yourself in the mirror. I put off really trying to get rid of those last 10 pounds for quite awhile because I felt that even if I did reach pre-baby weight, what was the point? A two piece will never be a part of my summer wardrobe again anyways unless I want to frighten small children. I think that's why I felt so emotional reading this. Before I always just thought of it as the price I paid for my babies. Now I look at it as a daily reminder of how beautiful it really is. No, I will probably never wear a bikini again in my life (if only everyone thought my stomach was "beautiful"), but my now very scarred stomach held my girls until my arms could. And I'm thankful for whoever wrote this for giving me this perspective on what our bodies go through to bring life into this world, and who are we to feel ashamed of that?
While I still don't feel like Gisele when I look in the mirror (and totally wouldn't pass up a free laser surgery stretch mark removal), I would sincerely urge any mom reading this to take it easy on yourself, don't ever feel ashamed of the extra stretch marks/cellulite/flab, and realize we are all super heroes for what our bodies go through and the craziness we still endure daily as moms. And remind me to take my own advice the next time you talk to me. :)
Cheers to us!