The inquisitive mind of a three year old is interesting. They are constantly taking in information from all around them. They yearn to acquire knowledge and the questions are unending, the most familiar question being, why? I try to be intentional about giving real and truthful answers in ways a three old mind can grasp. This takes time but I think it is only fair. Besides I want to give her answers before the world infiltrates her little innocent mind with noise. (sorry for the rant)
So my three year old asked me a very pertinent question the other day, as she watched me change my clothes. “Mom, what are those stripes on your belly?”
Those stripes were my stretch marks.The pain of insecurity that my body left me with after delivering my second child was huge. I felt unattractive and fat. Then I felt guilty for being so vain because I was blessed to be able to bear children. I saw pictures of other moms who just bounced back into skinny jeans and swimsuits after 4 months. I dreaded trying on clothes, because they didn’t fit my body like they used to fit, I didn’t want to take pictures or go anywhere. I didn’t even want my husband to look at me.I barely looked at myself in the mirror, because my reflection made me feel like a failure. Those stripes marred my identity and stripped away my confidence. But I knew my three year old wasn’t ready for that answer, so I thought about it for a few minutes.
“Those stripes,” I told her, “are called stretch marks, they allowed mom’s belly to stretch to make room for you and brother when you guys were in my belly so you can be comfy and wiggle around.” “Do they hurt, mom?” she asked. I looked at both of my beautiful and healthy children and I responded, “not anymore!”
Those stripes didn’t mar my identity, they marked it. I was now, “mama”.
Those stripes reveal my true strength. In the midst of constant nausea and throwing up for the entire pregnancy with both kids, I worked a full time job as a physical therapist and supervisor. Amidst some of the most chaotic changes at work, I handled the stress with grace. Those stripes remind me I am more disciplined than I think, as I gave up coffee ( usually drink 3-4 cups/daily) and lot of other things that I enjoyed eating like sushi and hotdogs for 9 whole months. Those stripes cry out that my body is amazing that it was a vessel that held and brought forth the greatest blessings in my life, my children. Those stripes call out my purpose in life to raise up 2 wonderful humans that will surely change someone’s world. Those stripes give me peace, reminding me that there is hope even when I am hurting and a purpose in the waiting.
Those stripes don’t hurt anymore, they are a testament of my hidden super powers!