I have been sitting on my hands trying to figure out what to say about what’s going on in the world right now, but I haven’t had much. You see it. You feel it. I don’t need to try to piece together or make sense of the craziness for anyone. That is for each individual to take the time to do. So, I decided to sit quietly and just live. Until this week.
I managed to make it 38 full weeks of pregnancy without a stretch mark in sight. I thought I would be one of the ones who gets out unscathed, but lo and behold, I woke up one morning and there they were. And for whatever reason, when I saw them, it prompted me to speak. Well, write.
Social media has made it especially easy to craft an image of perfection and happiness for others to take in. When I share my pics, all I hear is the accolades of newlywed life, a bulging belly and the “glow” of pregnancy. People can’t see behind the scenes. But the truth is, in spite of my edited Instagram pictures, this time has been just as crazy for me as it has been for everyone else.
When the pandemic broke out, I was one of those 6 million Americans who got laid off. So all of you who have made snide comments about all the money [tax paying] folks have been getting from unemployment, yeah you have been talking about me. I, the only person on my team who got let go, was “advised” to try my best to find something else. During a pandemic. Followed by a recession. At seven and a half months pregnant. I tried not to take it personally or to feel disheartened about it. But I did. I felt like I got kicked to the curb. Did I mention I was the only one who got let go?
This was shortly followed by my finding out that the courts were closed and were not issuing marriage licenses so Mario and I would not be able to get married on the day we had chosen. I was devastated by this.
And to add insult to injury, as they passed guidelines for gathering sizes, I had to cancel the baby shower that my mom and I had worked tirelessly to plan and order all the trappings for. I mean I had my menu planned out down to the type of cheese I wanted on each tray.
Now throw moving, having to deal with my absolutely sleazy old apartment’s management, trying to get everything I need for a baby ordering online only, having to go to doctor appointments by myself and dealing with all the mental and physical exhaustion that comes from being pregnant alone into the mix. It ain’t been no crystal stair, y’all. In a nutshell, some of my most highly anticipated life events were totally overshadowed. Or so I thought and felt. To say I was disappointed would be the understatement of the year.
I did a lot of moping, a little crying, a lot of worrying, and a lot of stressing. But most importantly, I did a lot of praying. And I found my stride y’all. Eventually, I got my unemployment. I was able to get everything I needed for my baby girl. My family and friends worked tremendously to get this taken care of- especially my incredible mother. The courts opened back up and Mario and I were able to get married and have the MOST beautiful wedding at my parents’ house. And I got to spend the most challenging trimester sitting at home on my big pregnant butt collecting a check. And I found my peace.
And that’s why these stretch marks made me want to say something. When I saw those stretch marks, my initial reaction was disappointment, but it quickly turned to joy. These stretch marks are a reminder of the time I am in. They are the ways that I have been stretched and grown on this journey. They are how I have learned to have peace in what may seem like chaos. How I have learned to trust God to order my steps when I cannot even see the path. They are how my body has created, sheltered and nourished a little girl in perfect health. They are how God has created, sheltered and nourished me.
Just like in this situation, what started out as a source of upset and disappointment for me quickly turned into triumph and joy. And that is what my stretch marks will always remind me of.