Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why I Love My Stretch Marks

Do you remember that part in Gone With the Wind when Scarlet has just had her baby and is upset because Mammy can only get her corset laced up to 21 inches instead of her pre-pregnancy 19 inches ?

Mammy tells her, "Honey child, you done had a baby. You ain't never gun a be 19 inches again."



I think those are some of the wisest words of the entire show and lately they have been circulating through my mind a lot.

My little nursling will be 7 months old soon and my body is still not back to how it was before I was pregnant with her. Even though I've been back to my original weight for a few months (breastfeeding works wonders on my metabolism) my body is still different. I'm sure you wouldn't notice anything by looking at me, but I've lived in my body for a quarter of century and I can tell you that things aren't the same as before-- my hips are wider, my chest is a bit more saggy, my core muscles aren't quite as tight, and I have six purple marks on my side that remind me my belly really can stretch to an unfathomable size.

I just have to keep telling myself, "Heather child, you done had two babies. Your body ain't never gun a be the same again."

It has taken me awhile to come to terms with it, but it is true. No matter how hard I try my body is never gone to be the same as it was before I had my children. My children are literally parts of myself and they exist because my body sacrificed blood, cells, calcium, iron and millions of other particles to make them. I am literally missing pieces of my body that I will never be able to get back because they are now walking, talking, breathing, laughing, crying, and living in the form of two beautiful children. Becoming a mother, even if you don't physically give birth to a child, requires a huge sacrifice from your body and spirit. It is a sacrifice, that according to Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife Marie K. Hafen, greatly parallels the sacrifice made by our Savior, they said:
"Just as a mother's body may be permanently marked with the signs of pregnancy and childbirth, [the Savior] said, 'I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands' (1 Ne. 21:15–16). For both a mother and the Savior, those marks memorialize a wrenching sacrifice--the sacrifice of begetting life--for her, physical birth; for him, spiritual rebirth" ("'Eve Heard All These Things and Was Glad': Grace and Learning by Experience," in Dawn Hall Anderson and Susette Fletcher Green, eds.,Women in the Covenant of Grace: Talks Selected from the 1993 Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994], p. 29)."
I gives me strength to remember that just as Christ bears marks in his hands, feet and side as symbols of his blood sacrifice; I too have stretch marks on my side that bear testimony to my sacrifice of blood and my willingness to bring life into the world. I find strength to go forward with my mothering by remembering that just as Christ's body was resurrected, making him complete physically and spiritually, that my body is constantly renewing itself and that one day I too will be complete, physically and spiritually. I also know that my joy is more full because of my children and that because of the sacrifice my body has made life will go forward and my family will go on eternally.

So for all the mothers our there I want to remind you to rejoice in your stretch marks, to be grateful for your extra weight and wider hips, to accept your c-section scar, and to find joy in the tired bags under your eyes because they are symbols of your sacrifice.

For all you who have yet to become mothers I want to remind you to rejoice in the blood you shed each month because it is a beautiful symbol of hope and it bears testimony to the promise of continuing life.

And for all you women who are struggling with loving and accepting your body I want to remind you that anything or anyone that belittles, exploits, demeans, or mistrusts your body is not from God. Your body is beautiful, mind boggling amazing, and so deeply symbolic of Christ. Also, remember that in the eternal scheme of things-- frankly my dear, no one will give a damn if you had a 19 inch waist or not. If you are shocked by my swearing, you need to watch the end of Gone with the Wind :)

14 comments:

  1. LOVE it! Thank you for reposting it on here. I don't think we as mothers can hear this enough.:)

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  2. thank you to the reminders to all of these places women are in. Beautiful! beautiful quote! beautiful thoughts!

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  3. I loved this blog post today! What a wonderful way to view yourself. Thank you so much for sharing part of that talk with us. I think I need to go and buy the book!

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  4. Hi, a friend linked your post via FB. I'm 25 and had my first child a year and a half ago, and have recently been feeling quite down and unattractive. Your post really spoke to me, I feel a lot happier than I have in months.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on things, it really is a beautiful thing.

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  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. It's true! I am pregnant with my third and even though I have lost all the weight from my previous two I will never be able to have body I had when I got married. I love the parallel you made with the Savior. It makes a difference when you look at being a mother from that perspective. Thank you.

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  6. I really enjoyed this post. I was so proud that I did not get any stretch marks from being pregnant. I religiously applied lotion to my stomach every day to keep these purple ugly marks from coming. After reading your post, I realized how vain that was. I should take pride in this symbol of motherhood and my sacrifice, and not pride in my lack thereof. Thank you for making me see a different side and making me think about what is important. I loved being pregnant and look forward to that experience again. Maybe I can wear these symbols of sacrifice after my next baby...

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  7. I really enjoyed this post. I was so proud that I did not get any stretch marks from being pregnant. I religiously applied lotion to my stomach every day to keep these purple ugly marks from coming. After reading your post, I realized how vain that was. I should take pride in this symbol of motherhood and my sacrifice, and not pride in my lack thereof. Thank you for making me see a different side and making me think about what is important. I loved being pregnant and look forward to that experience again. Maybe I can wear these symbols of sacrifice after my next baby...

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  8. heather my dear, you are a woman after MY own heart. I love this post and I LOVE how you wrapped it up. I feel like every once in awhile a good 'ol curse word just sends it home. Lol I'm working on that lovely, of good-report etc. thing. Anyway I've been thinking about doing a post about body image and this helped keep the cogs whirling. I'm sure I'll come back and read this when I give birth, because already I feel some anxiety about the way it will affect my body. These were choice words and insights, and you even drew out a laugh :)

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  9. oh and i forgot to say, that scripture from Isaiah is my all-time favorite. It makes me emotional almost every time I think of it, whether it is personal or in terms of what it means for the many women and girls that have been exploited and abused (I read a lot of accounts of trafficking victims in my line of work). Thinking of that scripture in terms of motherhood is lovely and deeply meaningful to me, so thank you for that insight.

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  10. I like to think of my stretchmarks as battle scars! (I have 7 kids, including twins so that isn't far from the truth!)On a more serious note, I have often thought of this parallel with Christ and wondered about the scars on His hands. When I was young I used to think of a ressurected "perfect" body as one without marks and scars. Flawless. Supermodelish. Now I wonder if that is true. I wonder if I will have these reminders of the choices and sacrifices I made in mortality. I can't say I would be disappointed if I do!

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  11. Amy, I love your insight. I don't think that having a perfect body means that we won't have reminders of our life here on earth. I think it will mean that we have a WHOLE and a COMPLETE body. With nothing wrong with it, nothing missing or out of place or mis-functioning. I think that we will keep our scars and our reminders of life on earth because they are a PART of us. They are what make us complete. And in all honesty I don't think that when we are ressurected we will care if we have stretch marks or not. We won't care what shape our body is, how big our thighs are, how much our tummy sticks out or any of those things because we will be COMPLETE-- physically and spiritually. We will be ONE with our body and with our soul. That is something I can't even fathom. So I wouldn't worry too much about keeping your stretch marks, but it wouldn't hurt to learn to love them now because there is probably a good chance they might stay with you!

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  12. I love this! I referenced your blog in my recent post, hope that is okay! Every woman deserves to read this :)

    -Kristina @ Mothersniche.com

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  13. Just stumbled on your blog. Love your thoughts.Each mother has offered her body—has experienced discomfort and disfigurement and deep pain—so that others might live. Thinking of this one day, I wrote these lines. It’s called “Stretchmarks.”


    Something holy happened here;

    something sacred slept.

    a luminescence brought to light—

    premortal promise kept.


    She wept, and as she strained,

    in pain, to introduce to earth

    pre-resurrection miracle:

    this angelsong-bright birth.


    Thanks. http://thetasteoflight.blogspot.com/2012/09/alma-mater.html

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