Last week I posted pictures of of my stomach. I tried to make light of it, but the truth was, I was terrified of letting people see what it REALLY looks like.
I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve cried over the way my stomach looks. When I see it in the mirror, I feel like some kind of a beast. When I’m watching a movie with my husband and an image of a beautiful woman with a stomach that is flat and not full of stretch marks and a deformed belly button appears on the screen, I want to throw up from the shame that I feel for the way that I look.
No matter how many times my husband tells me that I’m beautiful, I can’t believe it because of my stomach..
His hands gently stroked my belly, as he looked at it. “You’re so beautiful.” He whispered. “Stop calling yourself ugly. I love your body. Those stretch marks are beautiful to me, because they remind me that you carried my children. My children grew in there and you’re beautiful.” The tears came faster and harder. Here is this man, this wonderful, loving man, rubbing the body I hate. Looking at it, loving it. Why can’t I just accept it for what it is?
To expose my belly in that way was terrifying. I didn’t know how people would react. Would people be as repulsed as I was? All of the feedback was positive, except for one comment and of course, that was the one that stuck with me the most.
“your husband just wanted to get laid, why else would he say you are beautiful? Your stretch marks are hideous”.
And that comment was exactly the reason why I had felt so ashamed. My body isn’t what “Society” considers a beautiful body. It’s hideous and repulsive. Sadly, I’ve bought into that lie.
I’ve always felt that I am alone, because my sister has had children and her belly doesn’t look like mine. My cousins have had babies and they didn’t get stretch marks.
That feeling of being the only woman to look this way has made me feel isolated. It has made me feel like I should be ashamed.
That is why I can not stop crying over this site, The Shape of a Mother. (Amalah send me the link this morning.) I’m sobbing over here. To know that I’m not a freak, that other women have experienced such changes in their body, to know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, even though society (“the media”) tries to tell us differently is a powerful, powerful thing.
*Edited to add* (Shape of a Mother put up a post I wrote on November 2002. I thought I’d repost it here too.
i cringe at what i see.
my body is worn and torn,
the marks from carrying a child ever present.
my breasts, once perfectly shaped and beautiful
are now large and saggy, repulsive to look at.
my stomach, once flat and smooth,
is now covered with stretch marks, fat, no muscle tone.
i am ashamed.
i will never be beautiful again.
but today i tell myself, although it is hard to look at and it is indeed ugly, it is a reminder that two amazing human beings were formed inside of me and those marks and stretched out skin are proof that life grew inside of me. it is a reminder i made love to a man i adore, life was created and my body was home to those beautiful babies for 9 months. my stomach was stretched as they grew, my breast were enlarged with the milk that would sustain them for the first months of their lives. it takes my breath away when i think back to having them inside of me, to the miracle of their births, seeing them for the first time and it makes it easier to accept the mess my body has become. looking at them, kissing them, i say these marks on my body were a small price to pay for the amazing gift that grew inside of me for 9 months and have filled my life with love and purpose everyday since they were born.
i may be ugly, my body repulsive to look at
but i am a mother
and i am blessed.
Posted by Y at November 3, 2002 07:37 AM