Monday, May 10, 2010

the marks of motherhood

From the time I was three, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a mom and work with kids. I told people I was going to be the greatest mom that ever lived.

My first real "experience" with motherhood began while pregnant with my son. I had HUGE purple trails running from bellybutton-to-thigh, that were several inches wide and ITCHED. When I asked the doctor what they were he told me quite frankly, "Oh, those? They're the worst case of stretchmarks I've seen in 28 years!"

Welcome to motherhood... you're now marked for life.

And yes, they grew even LARGER with my second pregnancy. My son used them as racetracks for his Matchbox cars as he "played with the baby" in-utero, and my daughter's knuckles were clearly visible through my paper-thin skin. I was told that they would fade, promised that they would disappear, and people swore that they would stop itching. They were all wrong - they're still with me, still purple, and even after 15 years - they still itch!

Over the years I have been shocked & embarrassed by, resolved to endure, accepting of, and finally proud of these marks. They are a visible symbol of my efforts at becoming that "greatest mom that ever lived." Each one of these purple trails is here to show me that to become the greatest mom, there are things I will need to endure, and that things will happen beyond my control that I just need to accept. They are the merit-badges I have earned on my journey through motherhood.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said that "true friends will leave footprints in your heart." My kids chose to leave roadmaps on my belly - and as I look at them I no longer see scars or deformities... but a sunrise of hope & success rising above flames of frustration & failure. The marks that once terrified me have become my inspiration to try harder each day.

Every mom has a story, and every mom carries her own marks - I just wear a few of mine on the outside. I only pray that others can learn to accept their own marks sooner than it took me to accept my own.