It’s not that I have an Open Door Policy when it comes to the bathroom. Believe me, part of any Momcation for me is the thrill of peeing by myself. But in this season of life, I have young children that are in that odd place of still learning personal boundaries and perfecting their potty training skills. So between breastfeeding a baby, and needing to leave the bathroom door unlocked while I shower in case of a potty emergency, my body is often on display, whether I want it to be or not.
This has caused spontaneous discussions like Why Girls Can’t do Standup Potty, and What Are Nipples? and the fun game of If you eat dirt/poop/cookies will your milk taste like dirt/poop/cookies? I’ve also made a point of not hiding the stretch marks that are sketched across my abdomen and gather in a puddle around my belly button.
Let me be frank: these etchings in my skin used to haunt me. They marred once smooth skin, and they were just another reminder that things weren’t the same since entering in the world of motherhood.
But when I see them now, after three children and a miscarriage? They are reminders that I wear – maybe not with arrogance or boastful pride, but with a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of contentedness. They are symbolic of the person I have become – the hardships I have gone through, the hard work it was to grow these babes and that thrill and rush of joy once they were out. I’ve told Quincy and Eloise that they were growing so well and getting so big that momma’s tummy just couldn’t fit them inside, so my belly stretched and stretched and stretched until there was enough room for them. I let them trace their fingers along the softness of the lines, and they giggle and love the idea that they were just too big for mom.
Call them what you will: Tiger Stripes, Adventure Lines, Pregnancy Roadmap, or just The New Normal. They are me, and they are important.
So ladies and gents – if you’re out at the beach this summer, know that I’ve given up caring that my stretchies are showing. They’re out and don’t mind saying hello. They are beauty, they are pain, and they are part of my story.
What stories does your body tell?