Scarred for Life

When you hear the word scar, what springs to mind?  For most, its a word that evokes some sort of negative mental image.  People associate a scar with trauma, be it physical or emotional.  A car accident, a mishap with a skateboard, a clumsy fall, a bad breakup.  Not only do scars serve as reminders of past pain–they also shape the people we become and thus, we shouldn’t regret the markings they leave behind on our hearts, minds and bodies.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was getting out of the shower when my husband asked me if I was bummed about my C-section scar as I had just given birth to our first child—a precious baby boy.  I dropped the towel and caught sight of the reddish-purple line in the mirror.  A slightly upturned, 5-inch incision that resembled a hint of a smile.  How apropos.  I just responded, “No, because it’s a happy face and a reminder.”  It represents the tiny (yet oh, so giant) miracle that’s sleeping in his crib in the other room.

At 35 years old, I finally became a mom for the first time.  Did I ever think it would happen to me?  Honestly, I really didn’t—nor did most of my family, judging by their jokes that I had changed only two diapers in my 3+ decades of life.  I’m loving every minute with my baby boy, but I won’t lie—motherhood is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  But they (whoever “they” are) also say that with great challenge, comes great reward.  There has never been a truer statement spoken.

When I look down at my perfect, innocent newborn as he sleeps, I’m overwhelmed with humility.  The very fact that God has entrusted my husband and me with this precious, innocent life is mind boggling.  An amazing gift for sure.  We are solely responsible for raising him, teaching him and shaping him into a kind, loving human being.  No pressure, right?!

There will be good days and there will be tough days.  Joy, pride, worry, heartache, excitement, and lots of love.  I’m sure I’ll even collect a few gray hairs and wrinkles along the way, but what a ride it will be.  As an “older” new parent, I may have a little more world experience than other 20-something moms, but at the same time, I suddenly realize just how much I don’t know and how much I haven’t begun to live yet.  The single, “it’s-all-about-me” part of my life has ended.  I may be rapidly approaching middle age, but really and truly, my life is just now starting.  I’m terrified and excited at the same time.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but I promise to soak up every tender moment before it fleetingly transforms into a distant memory.  I’m told the days are long but the years are short.

It’s amazing how with a single monumental life event, your priorities can drastically change.  Gone are the days of putting my needs and desires first.  My body will never look the same in a pair of jeans—or God forbid—a bikini.  And I’m okay with that.  Let’s face it—theses days, I’m lucky to get a shower in, and even 5-minute makeup is a major feat worth celebrating.  Having a baby really does change everything—they WERE right about that.

But do I feel some semblance of shame attached to my C-section scar, a marking that society deems a physical imperfection that should be hidden under my clothes?  The answer is a big fat resounding “NO!”  It’s true I am scarred for life—that little boy is now my whole LIFE.

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