Dear Stretch Marks

936392_203246156491371_1863198862_nDear Postpartum Body, You've been kind of bumming me out lately. I didn't pay much attention to you after I gave birth to my first baby, because it was winter and I wore sweaters everyday. By the time spring arrived, I slid back into most of my old clothes.  Now I'm one month out from the birth of my second baby and one month into summer. I'm practically swimming in baggy maternity wear, yet I cannot button, zip or squeeze into my old "regular" clothes. Do you know how frustrating that is? It's summer. A time for bathing suits, shorts, tank tops and sundresses. But my shorts won't zip and my tank tops are so tight they look painted on. Dear feet, apparently you grew while I was pregnant and now the fun little heels I packed away in the second trimester don't fit. Ab muscles, where did you go? Don't you remember how you used to run down the center of my belly rather than your current residence flopping around my sides. While we're at it, belly button - it was cute that you faced the ground as a part of my pregnant torpedo days, but it's not as precious now that my tummy is wrinkly and squishy and you look more like a warped bruise than a "button". Hips, according to my jeans that can no longer slide over you, you used to be closer together. And finally, dear ferocious appetite, I know I'm feeding a baby all night long, but is it really necessary to send me searching through the kitchen at 4AM just so I can feed you too?

So dear body, I've been feeling a little down. Wearing the same 2 or 3 shirts everyday (and literally cycling through them every. single. day. thanks to breast milk and spit-up), well, it gets old. Fast. Digging through my drawers and not being able to recover even one item that fits can be a bit discouraging.

But here's the thing...I'm so proud of you. Thank you. Each one of those changes happened so that a sweet baby boy could grow and come into the world. Thank you for every sacrifice.

Dear feet, thank you for bearing the weight for 41 weeks. Thank you for walking me back and forth to the bathroom four times a night.  Thank you for hustling to get into Ian's room when we he woke up crying. Thank you for all the days you carried three of us - me, this baby and his big brother on my hip.

Thank you hips, for moving out of the way and making room for two 9lb babies to be born. You are certainly invited to return to your original position, but don't get too comfy there. More babies will come your way in the future.  And if you stay where you are...well then I guess I get to go shopping for new pants!

Ok Ab muscles, let's be honest. You weren't that strong to begin with. I'll try to take better care of you before the next time. Thank you for being so flexible - stretching, shifting and supporting for so many months.

Dear stretch marks, thank you for reminding me of the gift of my children. Even with exercise and time, you won't go away. This belly will never look exactly like it did on my wedding day. Thank you for that. I wasn't a mama on my wedding day. Being a mother has changed me through lessons of sacrifice, love, patience and grace. So I don't want to look like I did on my wedding day. Thank you for sticking around and reminding me that I'm a woman who has carried, delivered and loved her children.

Dear body, I thank God for designing and allowing you to work. I thank Him that He allowed me to be a mother to two bright little boys.

There is a spirited, tender-hearted two-year-old asleep in the room across the hall. To my right, a soft little baby is wiggling and grunting while he dreams. These are two of the most precious gifts I will ever receive, and they were given to me through the stretching of this body.  And at the end of the day, it's not about me.  These children have much bigger stories ahead of them.  I just get to be a part of how they arrive at those stories.

So I will not curse you. I will not demand that you "hurry up" and "get back to normal". I will extend grace and say thank you.

Sincerely,

a grateful mama