It’s that time of year again. As the temperatures soar and we can no longer cover up in our favourite “shove the chub” jeans and bulky knit sweaters, I find myself thinking about my body more than ever. Maybe you can relate, as we pull out the shorts that seem to have shrunk over winter and the tank tops that perfectly show case that mama tummy. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with ideals of how our bodies are supposed to look. Society tells us that we should look a certain way, or we should cover up. We can’t possibility wear that swim suit to the beach this summer because the stretch marks, cellulite or breasts that aren’t quite as high as they used to be aren’t beautiful. This time of year, we try everything to continue covering up our imperfections. We use alternatives to clothing such as tanning to make the stretch marks less noticeable, creams and oils to repair our dimpled skin, even expensive and painful procedures, all to look the way that the world tells us we need to look.
This morning, After putting on a sleeveless shirt and shorts, I stood in front of the mirror. My eyes immediately went to the stretch marks and cellulite on my thighs, the extra weight around my stomach, and the breasts that are nourishing my 9 month old. All visible reminders of the 3 children I’ve carried, birthed, and fed.
The sacrifice that I’ve made for my children over the years goes beyond my body, but my blemishes and scars serve as a visible reminder of the love I have for my children. The world tells us that our bodies should be unmarked, free from blemishes and scars, flawless and smooth, but I’m reminded of the one who made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus was wounded and beaten. He was pierced and bruised. He knowingly went down that path for his children. The difference is that he showed off his scars. Even inviting one of his disciples, Thomas, to touch them. I look at his scars and I’m reminded of the deep, infinite love that he has for me, and all of his children. His scars are the most beautiful thing to me because those scars represent new life given to us. This should be the same when we look at our scars. Though on a much smaller scale, our scars also represent giving our children life. They’re something to show off and be proud of. So, let your husband and kids touch your stretched out stomach, wear what you want to wear and don’t be ashamed.
This summer I’m asking The Lord to help me to see my body as beautifully scarred and blemished. I’ll admit, I’m not there yet, but I’m praying that over time I will come to love my mom bod. One day we will have bodies that aren’t limited by earthly restrictions and don’t wear and scar; but for now my earthly body sports a C-section scar, stretch marks and some stretched out skin. These things remind me not only of the gift The Lord has given me in my children but of the limitless body that is to come.
What a beautiful reminder.
-Alyssa Douglas, RPN, Labour/Postpartum Doula