Dearest baby girl,
You’re not even here yet, and you are so loved. I wanted to warn you of this before you are born. Before you are showered with love and affection. Before you grow up to be the little sister who will search for love from your big sister. Before you, yourself, may (no promises) become a big sister and get launched into the middle.
Before anything, heed my warning: You are loved more than you will ever know.
The other morning I looked in the mirror and saw what I’d failed to see before… stretch marks. Some were dark and deep, but mostly they’re just marks. They’re there and they will fade, but never disappear. I felt sad. I have not been feeling beautiful. I have been run down and stressed. I’ve had days where I haven’t eaten a thing and others where I’ve over indulged. The lack of sleep caught up with my skin and my long hair is in need of a trip to save the ends.
Your big sister walked up to me and kissed my belly. “You have beautiful belly, mama. I lotion.” She took a bottle from the nightstand and asked me for some. I pumped it into her tiny palms and she rubbed my tummy, talking about “my Millie” and repeating “I a big sister” again and again. Not once did she focus on my newly forming stretch marks.
You are loved.
I thought later that night I would tell Daddy about the morning Addie and I had, but instead, as I went to take her down from the dinner table, she asked to see my belly again. Begrudgingly, I lifted my shirt up. “Pretty mommy. My Millie.” Followed by a showering of kisses, her little hands feeling all over looking for signs of your kicks and flutters. For minutes we stood like that. Hands on my belly, kisses and her coos showering you. “Baby sister,” she finally said, putting one more kiss on me as she signaled for my shirt to come down.
You are loved.
These stretch marks scare me. But they do not scar me. I am proud to be your mother. To grow my stripes for you.
Heed this warning, and repeat it on the days that you feel like the angst-y teen I am sure to produce (I, myself, was quite the angst-y one):
You are loved more than you will ever know.