Now that I am entering my 6th month of pregnancy, there have been changes happening over the last few days that are sending my emotions into a whirlwind.
Now I can feel her kicking, and the little fluttering movements I once felt are stronger, and feel like fingers drumming inside my belly. This week I can no longer bend over to put on my socks or boots while standing, and my body has taken on a completely different appearance.
As each change has happened to me physically, they bring on a set of feelings that leave me exhausted with the surrender of one more lesson that this adventure has left me with. Other than marriage, I have not yet traveled on one journey that has made me question who I am, more.
Inside every woman's conscience lies her ability to criticize herself more harshly, and often, than anyone else around her. We begin our battles with insecurity young, often struggling to fit in with the other little girls we are playing dolls with. Our shame and self-awareness comes in the form of our looks, and eventually, our downfalls and insecurities with where our lives are heading.
With each chapter of my life beginning and ending, I have moved in and out of these motions fluidly. They come like an old friend, but not really a friend at all. Rather, a familiar pain or inconvenience that we just grit our teeth and learn to bare through. As the years have gone by and I have found my place of peace in life, these moments fall farther and farther away - until I am almost shocked to find myself in the middle of them again.
And here I find myself on a Friday night, standing in my favorite bikini and staring at a body I don't recognize. In it I find pieces of the old me, my toes and ankle bones (maybe not for long) and a few inches around my upper waist that still feel like the body I call home. I have no idea what possessed me to put it back on for the first time in months. It is in the 30's outside and the beach and Summertime seem like only a figment of my imagination in these dark, cold days.
But I did, anyway. And on my belly, I found little spidery pink lines that I can only imagine are the beginning of what most Mothers like to call their badge of honor. Marks left from 9 months of growing and nurturing and building a human being inside our bodies.
They're here. And no matter how strong and confident we are, something inside us wants to cry out like the little girl playing dolls with her friends that feels left out. Something is so vulnerable, and familiar, and painful.
I needed that moment to feel sorry for myself, but quickly realize that life is changing and happening, whether I want to dig my heels in the ground and stay put, or not. This is my next chapter of surrendering to Motherhood, and the body that will come with it.
When it is all said and done, I am still me. Whether my future beach days will only hold visions of one-piece Mom swimsuits, or not. This acceptance came quickly, and almost painlessly. Like one quick moment of panic that immediately melts into a sinking realization that everything will be okay. Because stretch marks are not the end of the world, and in the incredible adventure and journey that I am taking, and will continue down for the rest of my life, something so small and insignificant almost feels like an afterthought.
It's nights like these that I barely recognize myself. Not because my body is growing and changing and I can't find me, anymore. But because my mind has grown, and changed, and in these thoughts, the old me....insecure, vain, a shameful little girl with her dolls....that is the only me I am starting to not recognize.