I didn’t gain much weight while pregnant and do not have a single stretch mark across my belly. Before you hate me though, read on. My upper legs grew thick with varicose veins during my first pregnancy. My second spread them to the bottom half as well. So thick and embarrassing on the right side, I wore an exercise band in warm weather to hide them. I was told they would go away after my son was born. Most did, but not all. I am a young mom and yet I bear the marks of an aged woman on my legs.
My breasts were never large before children, but after two babies and lots of nursing, they are now nonexistent. I try not to think about it. The gym is the worst though, because who wears a padded bra working out? I try not be self conscious about it, but it is not always easy. I often feel like I am ten years old.
I have read countless times how these scars of childbirth are beautiful. It is a lie. They are not.
My varicose veins are not beautiful. They are ugly. My boobs are not beautiful. They are gone. Your stretch marks, excess weight, saggy breasts, plagued skin–whatever scars your body holds–they are not beautiful.
And let’s be honest, constructive surgery is not an option for most. Expensive, risky, potential complications, and who can really go have surgery and hop right back home to take care of little ones?
So, for most of us, we carry on, bringing our scars along. We cover them up, wear loose shirts, skirt type swimwear, supportive bras. We keep our secrets from the world, but inside we know they are there. In bed, with our husbands, we know they are there. And sometimes we really just want to make sure the lights are first turned off.
We try to ease our embarresment by calling them “beautiful.” They are not beautiful.
But they are worth it.
For these scars breathe the sweetest gift of life.
The gift which holds on tight to our flawed body in complete trust. The gift which gently strokes our scars in love. The gift which looks at us as we take off our clothes and with all her heart exclaims, “Mom, you are so pretty!” Because to her you really are–stretched belly and all.
And she is gently teaching us that beauty really is not what Cosmopolitan says after all. It is not flowing hair or flawless skin, large boobs and a tiny waist. Beauty is being the one they know will always be there for them, no matter what. Beauty is laughing at their silly antics and kissing their scraped knees. Beauty is cheering them through their successes and holding them through their pains. Beauty is she who lives her life for someone else.
Beauty is what you are to them. They do not care about your stretch marks.
So, go ahead and embrace your ugly mommy scars. You may feel a bit insecure somedays. That’s okay. We are Mom, and every varicose vein in the world is worth being that.