Sunday, May 16, 2010

Silver Ribbons of Motherhood

In our house, my husband and I have raised our children to love the bodies God made for them. My oldest is tall and muscular. My second son is shorter and a little rounder. From the time they were tiny, we would stroke their bellies and say, "Nice tummy." lovingly to them. To this day, we reinforce the opinion, that whether flat or round, tummies are all nice. We are all made differently and wonderfully ("... for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." Psalm 139:14) and to make fun of someone or hate yourself because the outward appearance is different, would be terribly wrong. Not just for the emotional pain it inflicts, but because it is false. Magazines, movies and television sell us falsehoods that tear down our society one child's confidence at a time. Pregnancy is a wonderful tool to teach our children, that our bodies change and are special in all it's forms, not to be mocked. I came to this conclusion a long time ago. But let me start from the beginning....

I distinctly remember, as a child, playing with my mother and at one point, her shirt was lifted up a little to expose her belly. My mother is so beautiful, with olive skin and in that moment, I immediately noticed light silvery lines on her belly. I remember touching them, they were soft as silk, and asking her what they were, concerned because they looked like "owies". She told me how, when I was growing inside her, and getting bigger and bigger, her skin had to stretch to hold me. I don't remember anymore of the conversation, except that she had this soft loving smile on her face that was heavy with love and her voice was light with emotion. In that moment, I felt so wanted and special without realizing the depth of it all.

Today, as I write this, I have my third son wrapped on my body sleeping peacefully. When my belly began to swell beyond question of my condition, my first two sons were fascinated. My eldest would hug and nuzzle my belly, saying "I love you." first to me, and then into my belly. My second would put his hands on either side of my belly and pat it saying, "I love your tummy!". The growing belly of a woman with child is a magical thing. The ultimate in wonderfully wrapped and mysterious gifts, waiting to be opened to reveal the precious contents inside. Children are in wonder and awe. Even when they don't say anything, children I passed in the grocery store or on the side walk would slow, their eyes grow big and lips slightly part in a silent expression of wonder. It hit me even harder, how beautiful and special pregnancy is, one night at dinner. My eldest turned to me and said, "I love you, and the person inside you." Then my youngest got up, laid his head on my belly and said into it, "I love you, and the person holding you."

After I had my newest bundle, there was a little twang of sorrow right after giving birth, as the belly deflates and is empty. I missed that feeling of fullness. Yet that feeling leaves so quickly, as you hold that tiny squirming bundle. As I healed, I seemed more aware of my belly this time. A few more stretch marks, things that once were firm, now soft. I stood before the mirror, holding a sleeping bundle, gazing at my form. The door opened, it was my second son come to tell me he loves me before he goes to school. He put his hands on my soft belly and said, "No baby in there." then looked up at me with a huge grin, putting his cheek on my belly, "I love your big, not so big tummy, mommy." then skipped out. I never thought I would be okay with my form in it's current state. However, I have come to realize that it is a moving record of our family. Each child has etched the beginning of his life in my skin and as I touch those soft silvery ribbons, I am reminded of the life I've brought into this world and how precious it is, from the very beginning.

Psalm 139:14-16 "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Written as a project for "Save Our Daughters" through  The Shape of A Mother website. Check them out!


Charlene said...

That was a beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this is beautiful...thank you for writing this.

Nadia said...

Absolutely beautiful! Women are beautiful, whether we have stretch marks or not! We are able to create life, and that is amazing. Please read my blog post about stretch marks!

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