when i first got pregnant, i was obsessed with belly pictures. i still like them, but in the beginning i would surf the internet looking at pregnant ladies' bellies - unable to imagine the day when i would be that big. more often than not, the pictures of ladies at the end of their pregnancies would be complete with stretch marks. some a little. some a lot. "ugh," i would think. "that is so ugly. i really hope i don't get those."
well, i might've jinxed myself. because i did get them. i tend toward the "some a little" end of the scale, but we aren't done yet. i definitely have my fair share, and they aren't disappearing. they're multiplying, especially since i think the baby has dropped some in the past week, causing my poor lower belly even more stress. i took some 35-week belly pictures today, and honestly, you don't want to see them. i may have to resign myself to taking photos with my skin covered (something my husband has been requesting for awhile) if any more of my first-pregnancy belly photos are going to go public. it's just not pretty. at least not to you...
which leads me to my main reason for writing about this: i'm torn on my feelings for my stretch marks. oh, i certainly stand in front of the mirror nightly (and morningly, when i'm not late) and just touch them, thinking, "do i really have these bright red marks in my once-unblemished skin? i will never wear a bikini again. never. how sad..." but other times, like for a little while tonight, i stand in front of the mirror, and think, "what an incredible body i have. it stretches and pulls and sacrifices itself for the sake of the miracle that is growing inside of me. it is strong and capable of much. these stretch marks are a minimal price to pay for the blessing that i'll be receiving in no more than six weeks. when i feel her move inside me, realizing that God has used my body as the vessel in which he has grown her from a tiny embryo into a person who will live and breathe and function in society, i think, "stretch marks? bring 'em on!"
they are battle scars. worthwhile injuries for the greater good of mankind. when this is all over, they will be monuments to the child whom i plan to raise to be kind, caring, compassionate and God-fearing - a child whom i know the Lord will use for his glory.
and when i put it that way, i wouldn't give them back even if i could. a bikini could never compare. not ever.
Aiming for progress, not perfection.
"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."