The Scars That Made Us | An article by Nikki Santerre

September 18, 2017

Every part of you was formed within me.

Eyes deep and wide like your grandmothers. Your father’s chin. Your mama’s hands.

Your face is so familiar, yet this new body of mine is so foreign.

I won’t soon forget the first time I glanced into the mirror after your arrival. The way my skin fell at my waist, strangely soft and worn by the weight of your smallness within me. “So, I’ll never again wear a bikini,” I thought. There are worse things. I would have traded much more to become your mother.

You’ve softened me in many ways. The skin I knew so well now a roadmap of lines that led to motherhood. My heart a vessel for all the things I’ve dreamed for your life.

We come from these scars, you and I. You took your first breath, and I became all I’d ever wanted to be. A mother, yours. These are the scars that made us, the scars that allowed life to breathe within you. The scars that carried you home to me. Skin stretched so taut as every fiber of you was perfectly formed, wrapped perfectly around you as you grew. I never thought I would be so grateful for something society would consider “ugly.” They’re the most perfect of imperfections, ones I will wear proudly all the days of my life.

I am unashamed of these marks that tell our story. They’re just as much a part of us as every month we waited for you. Infertility was a more ugly battle than this.

And if ever I should feel a loss of the body that was once my own, I’ll look into your eyes and recall all the ways I shouted wishes for you toward the heavens years before you would ever exist. The depth and width of each indention mirror only a fraction of all the love contained in my heart for you, little love.

We are made of one another. I’m reminded of this each time your eyes flicker open from sleep. I see myself within those blues, all the best parts of me.

I would have gladly given the supple skin of my youth over again if only to know you. To smell the sweet newness on your skin. To feel the weight of your smallness cradled in my arms, the child who made me a mother.

Photography by Kim Stockwell.

Nikki Santerre | Column Writer for Fount

“I am a fine art hybrid photographer who travels across the country to document and celebrate marriage and motherhood. I have always been inspired by the gentleness, the dedication, the joy a mother finds in caring for her little one. Of all the things I desired in my life, motherhood was a season I was most excited for. Little did I know in 2014, my husband and I would begin the struggle of a journey to become parents as we faced testing, diagnosis, medication, and too many months of negative pregnancy tests. My womb was empty, my hope uncertain. Last year, I began an online community for women struggling with infertility. It was through the openness of this group of incredible women that I found my voice and deep desire to advocate for the infertility community. My husband and I whisper our gratitude to the heavens this season as we wait to welcome our first babe, a precious little boy. It is my hope that through my written words and portrait work that I can instill hope for those waiting for their season of motherhood that they do not wait alone.”

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