Standing in front of the gold trimmed mirror that had belonged to my grandmother, I was discusted. Part of me wished I hadn't wiped the fog away to see, and had left my towel wrapped around me. I brushed my hair swiping a tear as my husband walked in.
"Hey, what's wrong."
His arms wrapped around me and I buried my head. "Honey, what's wrong."
"I'm just frustrated. I don't really wanna go swimming."
Forty pounds heavier than what I had been when we got pregnant with our daughter, the lack of firmness anywhere on me and the stretch marks I was now sporting, weren't super. Though I had always loved to swim and be outdoors,wearing next to nothing was not that appealing to me, and I was pretty sure the other beach goers would agree. Embarrassed to admit how badly I was hating my body, I stepped into my swim suit shaking my head and commenting, "Nothing like a few stretch marks." Immediately I walked down the hall to my room in search of a pair of shorts.
"Hey, those are badges of honor. You worked hard for those."
I chuckled, though he had a point; I had worked hard. Bedrest and preterm labor and fears of not getting her here safely -it had been a struggle with sacrifice and scary moments. I thought about my husbands badge of honor remark and for the first time since childbirth, he helped me to see forty pounds and a few stretch marks was nothing compared to the gift of a healthy, happy, daughter.
Following me into our room, he wrapped his arms around me again as I tied the strings of my blue shorts, "You look beautiful." The statement was sealed with a kiss. It made me smile.
That afternoon we sat on the beach with our baby and splashed in the water warm with sun, and though I never took my shorts off, I was happy to be there with my family and our friends. And I was thankful to have such a supportive husband whose words that day made a difference. I still have never been able to get back down to the size I was prior to having children, but my stretch marks don't really bother me. Sometimes, they even make me smile. Not every woman has the privilege and honor of bringing a baby into this world and experiencing what I have had the blessing to experience twice: badges of honor, I think that's appropriate.