I am bigger now than I ever was with Ellis.
With the growth, new stretch marks have etched themselves across my pale belly, often extensions of the now faded silvery trails left by my last pregnancy. I know I am supposed to be disgusted by them, buy expensive creams, worry endlessly. But I can't bring myself to hate these small bits of myself.
Overwhelmingly, every time I look at them, I am grateful they are there. Grateful to have these permanent marks of this baby written somewhere that will never go away, no matter what happens. Morbid, maybe, but if nothing that last year taught me that pregnancy, even a full term one, is no guarantee of a baby to hold at the end.
I am bigger now that I ever was with Ellis, but I am thinner too. The stretch marks are more than just an indelible tattoo of this wee life, but also an outward sign of the thinning of the shell that I wrap myself in to get through the day. When I was pregnant with Ellis, I didn't know what I had to lose. Now I know all too well the joy and deep love a child brings with it into the world and I also know
the potential that can so quickly take over and harm these small little lives we are responsible for.
I am thinnest in the deep of the night, when all of those worries creep through the cracks and sneak into my mind, playing over and over the: "what ifs" and the "I can'ts". I know that much of it is biological, hormonal and primal. I know it is a natural element of pregnancy. I know that I am not alone.
And after the tears of fear and sadness that grip me in the wee small hours subside, I am still grateful for the thinning because above and beyond everything else it is a reminder:
of the miracle that is a new life entering the world
of the preciousness that every moment we get to share with a child...inside or out
of how remarkable the role of parent is.
If stretch marks are part of the price I pay for the knowledge, then let them be.