As crazy as I get with nit-picking the things I want to change about my body, there are some things that I actually don't mind. It helps me, on days when I feel bound by body-image neuroses, to remember the small things I like.
I wish I didn't store any extra weight in my hips and thighs, and I wish that my body overall was more toned, more...uplifted, shall we say?
But I don't think I'm in a hurry to get rid of my stretch marks. Not that I love them--not that I'm raring to show them off. But they're meaningful to me, meaningful enough that I would feel strange and somehow lost without them.
One day, Reed saw my belly as I was buttoning my pants.
He asked, "Mom? What are those?"
I asked (just to be clear), "What are what?"
"Those marks. Stripes. On your stomach. What happened here?"
"Oh, these?" (And here I was stalling for time, trying to find the positive explanation for something I don't often feel that positive about.) "These are.....these are marks that show I'm a mom. They show that I had a baby in my belly, and they show that my belly grew when that baby grew. These are my mama marks."
He smiles and says, "Mama marks. Like me? Like when your belly grew with me in it? When I grew?"
And I smile and say, "Yes. Like that."
"Can I touch them?"
"....Soft. And shiny. Hey look! They change color."
"Can I see your mama marks again?"
My little boy doesn't find them ugly at all. The colors of nature, the marks of motherhood, right there on my body, are not repulsive to him. Because they are evidence of my willingness to be his nourishment, his protection.
I can live with my stretch marks. I can even like them.