By Desiree Fortin
Recently, I was genuinely congratulated, twice in one week, on my “baby bump.” I am not pregnant. However, I do have a little left over postpartum pooch, but I have always felt amazing and proud of my body after having my triplets; what I went through to bring them into this world, and the scars that represent my story.
However, to be honest, when I was congratulated on my pregnancy, I didn’t even know how to respond. At first, I brushed it off, then extended love and grace because we all say things we shouldn’t have said sometimes. But then…when it happened a second time, I was challenged to really think about my body. Was I really proud of the wounds left behind on my stomach after carrying and delivering my triplets? Was I really beautiful? Do I really appreciate the fact that these scars represent the miracle of life? Did I truly understand the value of my hope wounds?
Despite, my “baby bump,” when I look into the mirror, I see so much more beauty than I ever seen before because my hope wounds, which are with me forever, have far greater meaning to me than I ever knew they would. Even though I may have a little extra pooch and lots of tiger stripes, I longed for wounds like these. My hope wounds are the change my body never saw coming, but my heart desired so deeply. They are reminder of the excruciating pain and grief infertility caused my heart. Yet, my hope wounds are proof of my strength and bravery through the pain and loss of an empty womb and the extreme joy and glow of a fruitful womb. They are pure beauty because they represent my miracles.
Every little wrinkle, every scar, and the saggy skin that rolls over my jeans show how great God is in impossible situations. The very first Perinatologist that I saw, told me that I would never have a successful triplet pregnancy. I was too thin, too short – and it was first pregnancy. However, my hope wounds proved her wrong. Not only did I deliver our babies one day past our goal date, but they were nearly 5 pounds each. My body did that!!! God did that!!! The fact that I get to experience this undeniable love with my three miracle angels is the greatest gift I have been given. I see that when I see my hope wounds. They represent life and what it means to carry life and bring life into this world.
My hope wounds also represent some pretty dark days as a new Mama. For me, the sleep deprivation set in overnight. I truly believe it robbed me of some Mama joy and stole moments that I desired so deeply to share with my children, but I simply couldn’t because I was exhausted all the time. My exhaustion eventually turned into anxiety and depression and I found myself multiple times sitting on the bathroom floor while my husband held me in his arms doing everything he could to just help me breathe normally. I was terrified and sad. I felt ashamed of myself and incredibly lonely. I see that when I look at my scars.
However, despite how difficult my postpartum was and sometimes still is, what I see more than anything when I look at my hope wounds is a beautiful loving Mama trying to do all she can to provide the greatest love and care for her miracles. I see a strong woman who not only fought and conquered infertility, but spoke up and ultimately didn’t let postpartum anxiety and depression beat her. There is so much beauty in that when I look at my hope wounds.
The other day I was lying on the floor playing with my babies and my daughter, Charlize, pulled up my shirt and started playing with my extra belly fluff. As she pulled the stretchy skin on my belly, she laughed hysterically as it jiggled back into place. I couldn’t help, but laugh too. The more I thought about my postpartum “baby bump,” my little pooch, my saggy muffin top, the wrinkles and the scars, the more I couldn’t stop thinking about my hope triplets. I would choose my hope wounds over and over again. I wouldn’t trade my story for anything. I never imagined I would be so perfectly content as I shared in joy with my baby girl as she played with my flabby belly. As I was challenged and inspired to really relish and embrace my hope wounds, I learned that I absolutely love who I am. I love my wounds, and I love the life that I have been given. I am so proud of my body and the representation it has of my journey.
As I reflected on the story God has written for me and how special my hope wounds are, I wanted to do something to creatively and beautifully represent them. I have seen dozens of maternity milk bath photos and they are gorgeous. I wondered if a photo like that would be just as gorgeous in my postpartum body. I hope you are also be inspired to love and embrace your postpartum body because behind those wrinkles and wounds is a beautiful story and woman of strength who brought life into this world.