My Body Will Never Be The Same – Stretch Marks
My body will never be the same. It is an obvious reality that has taken me some time to appreciate fully. I realize it in unique ways nearly every day now. Today, it was because I noticed that the stretch marks (the same that I referenced here upon their arrival) are getting worse. They are growing and darkening, despite the paradoxical way that my thighs, their new home, are measuring the same exact size as before!
Again, I realized that my body will never be the same yesterday when I saw that my varicose vein on my ankle was also getting worse due to long hours of standing on my feet at work and too many runs early in my pregnancy when I naively did not think I needed to wear compression socks yet.
My body will never be the same.
Stretch marks are a badge of honor?
And I don’t mean for this to be a blog about how our stretch marks are our battle scars and should be worn as a badge of honor. I agree with that. But it has already been said many times. My reflection that I wanted to share today is that, my body will never be the same, and that is honestly just not that big of a deal.
It feels traumatizing and like a very big deal every time I see a new stretch mark. I imagine my postpartum recovered body (smokin’ hot in my mind’s eye) marred by these ugly purple scars. It makes me cringe to think that it is something that extra time at the gym and discipline in the kitchen may just never be able to undo. This too shall NOT pass? That isn’t how the saying is supposed to go!
But finally, after a bit of wallowing, I realized in my personal reflection today that, regardless of this pregnancy, my body was never going to be the same, as if frozen in time.
Because time leaves marks.
It was never the same after I had my appendix removed when I was 7 years old (a tummy scar that is growing now from the pressure of my baby’s temporary home). It wasn’t the same after my teenage acne scarred up parts of my jawline. And I am not alone in this. Although I can help my patients rehabilitate from a knee surgery, their knee will always carry the scar of their procedure, and they will probably move a bit differently after.
My body will never be the same, and that is okay.
Because I have this deeply rooted confidence that my greatest physical feats are actually ahead of me and not behind me. My pregnancy-related stretch marks do not definitively or intrinsically dictate my ability to run a 6-minute mile again, or win a street 3-on-3 basketball tournament with my husband again, or play volleyball competitively again, or even run a marathon again. I will just do those things, and hopefully much more, with some additional scars. I will carry these relatively unimportant marks with me, just as I have carried that appendix scar with me for the past 18 years, typically unnoticed. It will be something unobserved by my family and friends supporting me at the finish line or on the sideline, because it is just frankly not a big deal.
So while I sometimes need the big pep talk from other mommas reminding me that I am a warrior goddess with stretch marks that show the world my bad-ass ability as a mother (or whatever), most days, I just need to step back, breathe, and remember that my body will never be the same. It will be different. Better. Scarred. Stronger. More capable. But not the same.