Before society tries to tell the meaning of my marks, I want to tell you the story of these lines.
These marks tell the story of us, each line you drew by your own being. My marks tell a story, no different than ink tattoos really, but I did not choose their placement. You did. Your body drew these lines that trace our woven story, leaving your artwork as you grew. They tell the story of how we were both one, how my body nourished yours for 42 weeks, how my body shifted, stretched, and held you within. You heard my every heartbeat, a beat that sustained yours.
And as these marks slowly fade with time, they remind me of slowly letting go. They’ve taught me how although we linger in a moment, little by little you must depart. In nine months you departed from my body to develop on your own, independent of my heartbeat. You’ve departed from my bed and those sleepy nursing nights. You’ve departed from lingering snuggles and hugs, demanding your own independence. And before I know it, you will depart from the home in which you were raised in order to draw your own lines, your own path.
Baby, life will mark you. These marks are both visible, and, mostly, invisible except to those you choose to let see them. Skinned knees will tell the story of new accomplishments and bravery. And a scarred heart will tell the story of vulnerability and love. Wrinkles along your eyes will tell the story of joy and laughter, while lines across your brow will tell the story of worries over life and loved ones.
Society will tell you to hide the marks on your skin, to preserve your 16-year-old form and baby-soft skin. I’m here to tell you not to. Society will tell you that your body is to please the male gaze; I’m here to tell you it’s for so much more.
Your body was meant to be used up by the end of life. Your skin wrinkled in laughter, and leathered by days enjoying the sun. Your hands are meant for callouses of hard work. Your knees and hips are meant for wear, due to the many times you’ve stooped to help a stranger to their feet or kissed boo boos of a tiny one.
Learn to love your marks, and let life mark you. Let life leave tracks and know your journey is beautiful. Life was meant to leave its mark, some events deeper than others, and they are no different than the voluntary tattoos we ink into our skin to never let go of our story.
Love your body. Recognize its beauty. Let no one tell you differently.
Your Marked Mommy
*Click here to see the full photoshoot celebrating the beauty of the postpartum woman. Special thank you to Mindi of Edmond for modeling for the blog.
*Photography: Cassie Duffle Photography, copyright 2017. Do not use, duplicate, crop, or print photo outside the purposes of this post. Visit Cassie Duffle Photography’s Facebook page or personal photography site. Contact Cassie at info[@]cassieduffle[dot]com.