My stretch marks have never bothered me too much, I think when you grow up with self harm scars on your body the ones you know everyone has become the ones you like the most. They just are what they are but these little marks here, I love. I am so in love with these few red wriggly lines that have appeared in the last few days. These are Poglet's.
My squishy tummy accommodated Aneurin quite nicely, only really stretching further in his last two weeks with me. I didn't notice those marks until my tummy had deflated after he left my body and by then I was so bereft, so angry and betrayed by my body that I couldn't see them as anything other than a heartbreaking reminder of what had been taken away from me. For weeks I couldn't look at my tummy, softer than ever with these tiny silvery, white ripples where my skin had grown to fit my beautiful baby. I couldn't stand it and I was convinced that Mr D couldn't either which somehow made it worse. Despite knowing how poorly Aneurin was, I thought he might blame my body for not being able to keep our son alive but I could not have been more wrong. When I couldn't bear to look at my body, changed and empty, he just loved it that little bit more. When I hid my new and unfamiliar tummy from him he found it and kissed it. He was wonderful.
As someone who had spent a long time learning to love their body, a body that society constantly and aggressively tells me is ugly and wrong, to suddenly feel like it is the enemy again is really difficult. I lost myself completely. Every single part of me that I felt so fiercely about disappeared. I suppose that's why my plus size fashion blog stopped being so important to me. Even when I felt like I was ready to find my new normal, it didn't feel like it was a part of me anymore. Clothes were just a necessity for a long time and even though I'm finding the joy in my appearance again, it feels like that part of me has gone.
When I fell pregnant with Poglet my body changed almost overnight. The waist I had once loved so much that had reappeared cruelly within days of giving birth expanded rapidly. The upper part of my tummy hardened which had never happened with Aneurin because I carried him so low. My body knew what to do because it had done it so recently and I popped back into being pregnant so quickly. And yet, that incredible love I had for my pregnant body the first time didn't reappear for a long time.
I felt guilty about it, I wanted to love my body in the same way but I was scared. It was different to me now, both physically and emotionally. I have a little pouch round the bottom of my tummy where my skin never had time to snap back, nor was I in any position to even care enough to want it to. As much as I cringed looking at that squishy roll for weeks, it has actually served me very well because it is the only area when I can 'pinch an inch' for my Clexane injections which help keep my little love safe. It is slowly filling out again but it is a part of me that wasn't there before. Emotionally, it's really hard to trust your body to do the thing that broke your heart and shattered your world.
But, as with everything, it just took a little time and a little patience. As my belly has swelled, so has my heart. From quite early on in this pregnancy I started wearing fitted tops and leggings, something I never did even at the height of accepting my body, purely so I could show the world my bump. I don't care if it's not perfectly rounded or that I'm as wide as a bus this time, my body is doing something I never expected it to for the second time and that is magic. I am proud of my body for what it has done and is doing.
Poglet nestled so neatly into her big brother's home, taking advantage of the cosy space he had left, swooshing around and spreading out. Now she's making her own mark. These new red stretch marks which I love so dearly. I waddled naked from the bathroom into the bedroom last week and showed them proudly and excitedly to Mr D who grinned at me and gave them a kiss. These marks that will not erase no matter how many children I hold in my arms, that prove my body grew more than you can see. And one day I will be able to look at my body (and no doubt wince at it on the bad days because it is so different the one I once knew) and know exactly which mark belongs to which of my children and which ones they shared.
My body isn't perfect, in fact, it's far from it but it grew a magic little boy and it is continuing to grow a very special little girl and it deserves to be loved.
Mrs D x