When I think back to when this all began for me, I was sitting there, on the couch, watching tv, and on the screen was a brand new mama with her newborn.
I remember saying something along the lines of how beautiful she looked.
And then I remember when I heard him reply.
`Stretch marks are disgusting, and she for sure has them. I would never want to be with anyone who had stretch marks.`
I was shocked. I knew at that moment that the relationship was going no where. But, what I wasn`t aware of, was that I was already pregnant and about to face the biggest obstacle of my life.
Fast forward a few years, and I now had that baby, and I was learning to navigate single mother life, while planning for our future.
I met an incredibly wonderful man, and he loved both my son and I, and as things started to get more serious, I began to realise what a lasting effect that remark had on me.
See, once this person had found out that I was pregnant, he ditched and I was left on my own, so I never had to think about intimacy or stretch marks. I was left in such a low place that I had believed I wasn`t worthy of love or affection whatsoever.
I truly believed that I was trapped inside a disgusting and terrible body.
My heart ached every time I had to dress or undress, and I definitely was not open to the idea of breastfeeding, because I couldn`t bear to see more of me than necessary.
So when someone was genuinely interested in me, AND my little guy, I was so afraid of scaring him away by exposing my body.
You know.. because it was so gross.
I had somehow decided that everything was my fault, and I was completely unworthy of any sort of affection or love. Because I was a mother. Because I somehow MADE the father leave. (Which I completely did not.)
So when a more intimate time came across my path, I either bolted, or completely shut down.
I felt embarassed, humiliated, and disgusting, and there was no way I was ruining that relationship by exposing my body.
I know you are reading this and thinking, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL.
It took me 8-10 months (I can`t remember the exact number), before I could bring myself to be completely naked in front of him.
It took me a long time to actually open up and tell him why I couldn`t too. This statement had such a lasting impact on me.
I do have stretchmarks, and I did after my first. In fact, the majority came from my first. And, they go all across my tummy. They are completely noticeable, and unable to be hidden.
Throughout my years of motherhood, and even simply, womanhood, I have learned to love and appreciate my body. It has birthed 3 beautiful babies and continues to thrive everyday despite how I care or don`t care for it. I am lucky.
I feel sad when I realise what an incredible impact this had on me and my relationship with my body.
My stretch marks are a part of my body the same as any other thing on me. I`m learning to love and care for all of me.
I actively have to practise kindness to myself, and remind myself that my body is perfect just the way it is.
I do feel that this is a journey though. A journey of acceptance and love. So, I still hit some road blocks and pot holes sometimes. I`m just still learning.