“Mama, how come you have decorations all over your belly?”

I was getting ready to go out to dinner with a few friends as my daughter sat on my bed.  Sat being a negotiable word, as she was really doing forward rolls and trying to stand on her head while I was trying not to have a panic attack each time she landed a bit too close to the edge.  It was as I was changing into the decided outfit of the evening when she sprung this interesting question on me.  There, standing on her head in the middle of her bed, my daughter used language to describe a physical attribute I’ve abhorred and then ignored since she was born.

I have not hidden my distain for women who refer to their stretch marks as, “tiger stripes” or “love marks” or anything else that masks what I thought they really were: ugly.  I was not embarrassed or put off by them by any means, I earned them carrying a child I love, after all.  But I was not a supporter of it’s glorification.  Nothing disturbs me more than people calling truly ugly things beautiful.  It feels like a deeply offensive falsification.  They are certainly marks of strife, of courage, of pain, of care, but not of beauty, certainly. And that was fine with me.  As long as we’re not calling it something it’s not.

“Mama, how come you have decorations all over your belly?”

She said decorations.  As in, streamers and cardboard cut-outs and helium balloons.  Decorations are sometimes cheesy, sometimes not even beautiful, but always, always signs of joyful celebration.

I thought long and hard before I opened my mouth.  I didn’t want to say something filled with rhetoric just to have something to say.  I explained, rather matter-of-factly, that as my body stretched to accommodate the one growing inside of it-her- it was permanently marked with the effort.

“I decorated you?,” she asked.

“Yes, love.  You decorated me.”

I will now, never explain it any other way.


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