Scars. We’ve all got them. Some physical and some emotional. These marks are reminders of our adventures, sickness, risks taken, and faith. Scars can haunt us, bringing back memories of failure. They can also empower us when we acknowledge that we prevailed, that we are stronger than what tried to cause us pain.
For the first half of my life I rarely got sick, I’ve never had a broken bone, and had never been hospitalized. I had gratitude towards my body and health. Over the last couple of years I’ve compiled quite the assortment of scars. In fact, I’ve had many people bring to my attention how lucky I am to be alive in this time period. I for one, absolutely agree.
I now have this newfound friend, ‘modern medicine’. Aside from the occasional dose of antibiotics I thankfully hadn’t put much use to the endless dollars spent on my health insurance. I guess that’s why it’s called insurance. This relationship I’ve got going with ‘modern medicine’ has been a love/hate kinda deal. Like a bad marriage, wanting things to end but unable to let go just yet, or possibly ever. Let’s face it, I need the security in my life.
Let me explain; I sometimes wonder if I or other women who have had c-sections would have survived the births without the steady hand of the surgeons who created a detour for our babies to take their first breaths. I think about how many women and their babies died over the centuries before this frankly barbaric procedure came to play. I look at my scar and it reminds me of bliss, and physical pain. It reminds me how I felt cheated out of my natural childbirth, all the while so grateful for having all three of us alive and well.
My next scar is a scar of the soul. It’s not visible to the eye but it’s there nonetheless and it’s a whopper for me. The post partum depression that I experienced left a forever mark on my soul that I have learned from and have been humbled by. I’ve heard so many horrific, nightmare level stories of women who have hurt themselves or their children because of the cloud that depression is. Warping the minds of so many into thinking they are better off dead. The endless desperation. How many women do you think were sent to mental asylums instead of getting some medication and therapy to find the light again? How many lives were ruined? Countless, I imagine.
All this brings me to now. After never using a hospital for anything more than an old fashioned birthing room, I’m now a bit of a club member. C-section, mammograms, biopsies, more biopsies, PET-CT, MRI, mastectomy, breast reconstruction.
Women have told me, “You’re a tigress who earned her stripes!” Truthfully, it makes me laugh a bit. These sayings are equivalent to “rain on your wedding day is good luck”. I wish I could say that I own them, that I wear those stripes proudly but that would be a lie. I’m 36 going on 37, I should be at the stage of worrying about my fine lines and wrinkles that are appearing what feels like daily, but I barely do. Please don’t confuse the way I feel with disgust or hate towards myself. I’m proud of what my body has survived. The births of six beautiful children, and surviving cancer. Moreover, I have accepted these scars will be here till I die, graciously. I appreciate why these scars exist but I do not have to like them.
Once in a while, one of my girls will walk in my room (without knocking of course) while I get ready. They have all seen the aftermath that the cancer has left behind. The bruising, the incisions, swelling, the tubes, the tissue expander I had the honor of hosting for some months.
I felt it was important for them to understand what I was going through. Children are very visual creatures. We can teach them empathy and understanding through these experiences. I allowed them to look and ask questions. I kept them informed on many details pertaining to the steps of my recovery and they were so comforting and beautiful with me.
No matter what my body went through to get where I am now. They always carried on so matter of fact. They commented honestly, told me when I was lopsided, asked if the other side will match one day, LOL. They cringed at my scars, then forced out sweet smiles and told me that they hoped it didn’t hurt too much. I for one am grateful that I had them to help me refocus my attentions on what was important. They, and Ian are my reasons for breathing and I am grateful for them keeping me so busy throughout it all that I wasn’t able to focus for very long on my appearance during the process. My husband looks at me with a love and attraction that hasn’t wavered from day one.
In conclusion, I’ve decided to welcome my scars with open arms. In honor of all those women and men who didn’t have the opportunity to live with scars, those who lost their lives to depression, child birth, cancer and so on. The world we live in is crazy, full of ludicrous behaviors and vanity corrupting us all. I will love myself, with my scars and all. Because this crazy world has given me the option to do so. So, I give a deep thank you to modern medicine and those who facilitate it. I am forever grateful.