New territory

September 8, 2009

I spied it this morning, as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, stripped and ready for the shower.  Pink and distinctive, familiar and yet new.  Frustratingly new, in fact, this bright and shiny stretch mark.

My first thought was, Little baby, couldn’t you just use one of the hundred plus (how I wish I were exaggerating) old stretchmarks? My poor belly is positively riddled with old stretchmarks.  They’ve faded and turned the color of old scars, but they’re  still very much there, adding interesting texture to something that media is constantly telling me should be smooth.  On days when I am giving myself a hard time and feeling especially full of pity, I tell myself I look like the “before” picture for a liposuction clinic ad.

But the other side of this truth is that as I was falling asleep last night it suddenly seemed nearly unbelievable that I’d had a living baby lifted out of my womb only to lose him less than a day later.  Disbelief mixed with sleepiness in such a way that I wondered for just a second how this possibly could happen.  I wondered if Teddy had ever really been here at all.  And then I thought, I have proof.  Not just pieces of paper; I have scars and stretch marks. Teddy will never leave footprints in the sand or in wet cement, will never make me one of those sweet plaster handprints while in preschool, or color on my walls.  But once upon a time he claimed my body as his home.  He marked it, and it remembers him.

My second thought this morning as I stared at the pitiless mirror was, Growth is good.  Keep growing.

Keep growing little one.  I’ve done this before, but not with you.  I’m your home and this is our new territory, so blaze your trail, mark me as you like, and I’ll be grateful.



  1. In somewhat the same way, I don’t mind my c-section scar as it’s proof of my first baby.

    Keep growing, little one.

  2. I have had moments like that, that Henry wasn’t here, a brief sense that his death was not real, but neither was his life.

    Grow, safe and strong, little one. Leave your mark on your mama, and when you’re ready, come out and continue to grow safe and strong.

  3. Leave your mark indeed, little one.

  4. Such beautiful words.
    At times they do feel like a dream. But they were here.
    Blaze away little one.

  5. Your words brought a lump to my throat and tears to me eyes. I’ve been marveling at how huge I’ve become this time round, apparently you get bigger quicker with subsequent pregnancies. So yes, grow, grow, grow little one!

  6. Growth is very, very good. I love the thought of your stretch marks as evidence of Teddy’s existence. They are his footprints on your body. That feels so special.

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