Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stretch Marks

Don't worry, I'm not including a photo of my stretch marks.  I figure no photo is better than any photo of that.

Last week I went to a Mother's Blessing for my friend Mindy, who is ready to birth her twins any day now.  In case you've never heard of a Mother's Blessing (I hadn't), it's similar to a baby shower, but for the mom.  And instead of cute games and gifts, the guests bring poems or thoughts about pregnancy/labor/motherhood and symbolic beads or charms to add to a bracelet for the mother-to-be.  In many ways, it was a spiritual event where we friends encouraged Mindy and each other in the journey of motherhood.

Luckily for me, another friend of mine, Charlotte, had posted some thoughts on her blog earlier this month that I felt were helpful for a mom-to-be as well as moms-in-action.  I read her thoughts at the Mother's Blessing.  I won't copy her entire post here, but I highly recommend that you read it at this link; it provides some context for the rest of my post.

I've spent much of this summer feeling like I'm being pulled in too many directions.  Just as my preggo friend has worried about losing herself to the twins' schedule and her body to their growth, I've wondered if I'm losing myself as I serve my family.  Charlotte described perfectly what I've been feeling about my own self stretching to meet the demands of back-to-school children and a husband who takes on too many projects and who is married to a wife (me) who takes on too many projects plus one.  Will the essence of "me" be swallowed up in being a wife and mother?

This paragraph from "Memories for Later" (emphasis added) touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes:

"I think my poor little soul might be getting some stretch marks.  I can't possibly fit in anything else, and yet more comes and I stretch a little more to hold it.  But the marks are showing and my resolve threatens to rip wide open.  I know I will never be quite the same.  But when I worry about what will be left of me, I try to remember that what now appears too much will eventually be a faded memory.  I will be left with the proud marks of a mother who's paid her price.

And maybe those marks will sparkle silver someday.  It seems to do so in the older mothers I admire."

 #s 1 and 2 off to catch the bus to high school.  Only four more years.  Yikes!
Taking the long view helps, because, like the end of pregnancy, I can practically count down the months I have left with my precious children before they leave the safety of my home to grow as young adults.  That day is coming too soon.  Motherhood will never leave me quite the same as when I began, and I look forward to that!  Raising children has forced me to change for the better.  And when I have graduated from the school of raising children and my silver hair matches my silvery stretch marks, I will have many years to develop my individual interests again.  The me at that point will be more interesting for the stretch marks I'm adding to my soul now.


Paul said...

It's important to take the long view of life, regularly. Good for you.


Min said...

I admire the sacrifices of body, sleep, time, self, pursuits, selfishness . . . that come with motherhood. Mothers are amazing.

An excerpt from another blog on mothering that touched me: "If we mother well, we wear out our lives bringing to pass the lives of others. Of the physical fruits–our wider hips, our flatter feet, our sagging breasts and rounder buttocks–we need not be so ashamed. In a better world, a kinder, more saintly world, a mother’s body would be kindly regarded, with respect and honor, for what she has given, for what she has done."

Read it here:

Jenni said...

This is so sweet.

And you are awesome. I admire your great example of motherhood and the wonderful, happy, and kind children you're raising.

Mary said...

Min, thanks for sharing that blog post link. It was beautiful. I started the day with tears, but it was still beautiful.

Charlotte said...

You just made my day. Actually more like my whole week! Thanks for nice thoughts about my post and thanks for sharing it with others. It has been too long (again) since we've gotten together.

mindy said...

Glad I happened upon this tonight. Tears of gratitude and joy are a nice way to end the day (while I sit nursing my two babies and hoping for a good nights sleep).