On the eve of Max and Spirit B turning 9 months, I have a well of mixed emotions churning through my body and soul. Part of me feels so good and grounded in my new role as a mother and the other half feels like a teenage girl all over again, going through puberty in a whole new set of skin.
On one side of the coin, I love knowing exactly what Max’s cries mean. I love knowing when Spirit B is near and sending me messages. But on the flip side, I am dealing with some body image issues that have been triggering feelings of disappointment and failure.
I have stretch marks that are in the shape of a hurricane around my navel, I have an umbilical hernia and a 2 inch diastasis recti. It takes a great deal of awareness and daily exercises to be able to run, bike, and do acro without pain. But that kind of work is fun and fascinating to me. I can push through and dissect physical pain all day long.
It’s the deep mental work of self-love (or lack there-of) that is getting to me. And for me, it lies in my stretch marks. These marks on my body are not yet “tiger marks” or loving “mama marks”. Instead, they are constant reminders of my story. The pain, the love, and the growth that is still yet to come.
There are some rare moments that I look at that them and see my story, my “becoming real” marks through a rose colored lens. But honestly most days, It takes everything I have to not go barreling down my memory lane of loss, of pain and of feeling sorry for myself when ever I get a glimpse of them.
Today I wanted to wear a bikini, as it is so hot and beautiful here in Italy. But instead of feeling excited, I burst into tears. Feelings of self hate and disappointment came flooding in: “I hate my stretch marks. I hate my “gap” and I hate this new feeling of needing to cover myself up and of feeling self conscious in my own skin was on repeat in my head. In the end, my stubborness over ruled, and I put on the two piece. “I will get through this” I thought to myself.
Instead of wearing them proudly like so many other women do, I am feeling like a coward. And I am angry. Angry with myself that I can’t yet get over this – because – FUCK!! REALLY Chelsey??? You lost a baby and you are feeling this way?? How “Jeckle and Mr Hyde is that?!”
But yes. It is true. I think of my marks on the daily.
I live in a world where it takes an amazing feat of strength to not look at all of the amazing people on social media prancing around in their bikinis and NOT translate that to: “I am not worthy”. Social media fills me with shame.
Why am I so wrapped up in the look of my body, when it produced two amazing boys and can still do everything that I ask of it to?!?? It produced a Spirit son who taught me a lifetime of lessons and beyond in the single moment of his passing, and another son that brings me and my family endless joy, love, and smiles. He looks at me with the most unabashed joy and happiness I have ever felt.
And yet I struggle.
Would I give up any of it? NO.
Do I want to be any of those perfect looking insta-stars? NO.
Do I love my life? Yes.
But the reality is, this culture of superficial beauty has fucked me up good. And I wish I had some uplifting message to end this blog with, some lesson learned. But not yet. Not at all. But maybe voicing this thing that I have been seething under my skin for 9 months will somehow shift things. I doubt it. But I also doubt it can make it worse – since all consuming thoughts can hardly consume more than all of me.