My Marks of Motherhood

by Camille on February 15, 2013

Right now, I’m at a resort where people walk around in their swimsuits pretty much all day. And, like most women, even though I try to refrain….even though I know better and will preach inner-beauty with my dying breath,  I find myself making little self-conscious comparisons and appraisals in my head. It’s the curse of being a woman, isn’t it? Total bleh. A result of the constantly nagging voice of impossible beauty standards created by our unforgiving culture.

I wish I had her (insert body part). Mine is too (insert unflattering adjective.)

It is the rare woman who is truly and completely comfortable in her own skin every moment of every day.

Perhaps the reason I’m thinking about this a bit more than usual this week may have something to do with this:



Yup. That is my thigh. And that big greenish mark is a bruise. Additional decoration provided by varicose veins. There are roughly seven other such marks decorating my legs in various states of purple and green at the current time, but I shall spare you the visuals. You’re welcome.

A few years ago, I might have been so bold to consider myself as having nice legs. Not awesome, mind you, but nice. Shaved (such a luxury!), moisturized, long, lean…..maybe even spray-tanned for special occasions.

Enter….a toddler.

Upon reflection, I realize that every single one of those marks came, in one form or another, from Miss Ellie. The one above is where she decided to use my thighs as a trampoline while tackling me for a hug. A mark on my knee (and a smooshed toenail) are from a collision with toys left in my path as I stumbled through the darkness to see why she was crying. You get the idea.

Now, most days, between my clumsy nature and my daughter’s daredevil persona, my legs (and often, the rest of me) look like a battle on a field of alabaster.

However, while I may be a bit self-concious as all the vacationers stare at my mottled physique, I’m also trying to be a little proud.

See, for most, a woman enters motherhood carrying the marks of sharing her body with her child. Her abdomen bears witness to a life created and sheltered. Her breasts provided nourishment. Her body held another and birthed it into this world.

While I don’t exactly regret the absence of stretch marks or such, I do sometimes have wistful moments where I wonder what it feels like to carry life. Moments where I look in the mirror and feel somehow guilty that my body doesn’t bear physical testament to how much I love her.

But then, I realize, it does.

All these marks tell the story of days well-played, comfort given, love showed. Arms catching as she flies from the couch. Strollers wrestled into cars. Cribs moved to find hidden pacifiers.

It may not look like yours, but I too, have a mother’s body, and today, I choose to think it’s beautiful.


Carrie Horne February 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Love it! I will now think this as well. Thank you for this!

Camille February 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

🙂 Thank you for reading. Love ya!

Vicki February 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I love this post!
I have ‘mummy marks’ of both the stretchy kind and the legs as trampoline kind, and I shall from now on be as proud of the black/blue ones which are visible, as I am the silvery ones that aren’t.
Thank you for changing the way I think.
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Camille February 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

Thanks so much for taking time to comment and your kind words. 🙂 Here’s to rockin’ the mommy marks!

Lisa February 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

So beautiful and true. My body did carry life, but doesn’t really bear the marks of it, and not having the child I bore in tow all the time to act as testament to my motherhood is hard. There’s a good chance I’ll lose it if one more person (meaning to be complimentary, mind you) says that I “don’t look like a mom”.

Today, my daughter’s first two teeth finally broke through her gums. Her Mama had invited me to go with them to her baby swim lessons today, and the whole car ride she was chewing on my finger, her incredibly sharp new teeth leaving welts on my skin. Mama saw it later and apologized to me, but I just laughed and said I was happy to have them to remind me of having such a wonderful time with them for the rest of the day. Your post really put that into perspective for me. The battle wounds of motherhood really do come in all forms, don’t they?
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Camille February 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

Thanks so much for these lovely words and sharing part of your story here. 🙂 They do come in all forms, as you say. It sounds like you have a really positive open adoption, and that’s wonderful. And I’m sorry for hurt of the “not looking like a mom” comments. Sometimes, it would be easier if we could all just wear our hearts on the outside, wouldn’t it? Our bodies can hide a lot of truth.

Nancy February 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

This was beautiful, and so was your comment, Lisa — whatever kind of mother we are, we are all changed and “marked” by it. Some of the marks are visible, and some are left forever on our hearts.
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Camille February 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thanks Nancy! 🙂

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