“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other.”

(Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

Long overdue honest social media.

“Myth: The marks on my body from having children are ugly..."

“Myth: The marks on my body from having children are ugly.

“I don't mean for this to apply only to mothers, because in life we all get 'marked'. Whether physically or emotionally, these marks become a part of who we are. Difficult or challenging experiences, even the happy ones, leave us changed forever.  Marked.

“The choice we have is how to view these ‘marks.’

“In my inexperience, I had never considered that pregnancy could change you forever. I had just thought I would return perfectly to who I was before.

“And from the first pregnancy I mostly did, physically (although not from the second and third). But not emotionally. Nope, I was never going to be the same emotionally after bringing a child into the world and caring for that little baby and being challenged in ways I had never dreamt.  I became a little more mature but also a little more serious.  I think I lost some of the childlike lightness I had before.  Gradually I have brought back ‘lighter’ pieces of myself that were a bit lost  My very personality has been marked by motherhood.

“Then after my second child I had physical marks. Varicose veins haunted my pregnancy and remained afterwards.  My core reminded me of a balloon that had been blown up, twice.  That double stretch left the skin a bit loose and I now carried a bit of fat there, which I never had before.  It bothered me. Just as with the veins, I found myself looking down at that part of my body, often.  Wishing it would 'just go away'.

“The veins have been a source of constant sadness to me, as I've watched new spider veins fail and grow dark in various spots.  I felt a bit helpless watching this.  
“These physical changes have been more challenging to me than the emotional ones.  With the emotional ones, I realized that the changes were 'enriching' me, rather than 'detracting' from who I am.  Giving me more empathy and compassion for others, allowing me to grow and change.   But shouldn't the same principles apply to physical change?  I think so;  I am enriched physically as I experience life and change because of it.  

“Perhaps we can also be mindful in how we talk to other women about their 'marks' or lack of 'marks'.  In a beautifully written email from an anonymous friend of mine:

“‘Women are so competitive with each other. We all want to look like we ‘were never pregnant’ at our first visit back to church with our newborns. Like the best compliment we can get from girlfriends is that we don't look like we were ever pregnant. ‘Oh congrats on the new baby! You look great! You look like you weren't even pregnant!’ (that's an appropriate compliment?) I wish we could celebrate something else after giving birth like I don't know maybe the beautiful miracle of life you just created - and not compete with how other women ‘bounce back’ after pregnancy and post on Facebook how soon we fit back into our ‘skinny’ jeans. That kind of conversation with other women in my opinion almost creates unnecessary walls and or tension between the women who can bounce back and the women who can't or at least not as quickly.  I have made a point never to comment on a new mom's physical appearance but focus on her beautiful baby and or her wonderful mothering. It's one thing to be healthy and happy it's another to try to meet unrealistic standards set by comparing ourselves to others. ‘’Comparison is the thief of Joy.’’ Theodore Roosevelt.’

So in our conversations with others and even more importantly, the conversations we have in our own heads, I hope we can all give more honor to these marks.  Remembering that we came here to earth to be marked up.  To live.  To learn and grow and offer the world something good by the fruits of our lives, including children and all other good things we give the world.  Bringing life into this world is an amazing thing and to be marked up because of it is kinda special.”