"Mommy, you still look like you have a baby in there." -Zoodle, a day after the baby was born.
"Mommy, your tummy is big. Why?" -Zoodle, yesterday.
Well, Zoodle, this belly is big because it's done amazing things. It grew and grew and grew for nine months, to accommodate a perfect baby's growth. The skin stretched. It got one of those weird, dark lines down the middle. Underneath, I could feel the cramps of ligaments, as they struggled to adjust to the growing bulk. I could see the blue veins under the skin, and was reminded that it's not just the skin and womb and ligaments that grow; it's the veins and capillaries too. My belly button gradually got flatter, and then poked out on top, like a little nose.
This belly morphed in amazing ways.
And then suddenly, all that space wasn't needed anymore, and I was left with a partially-deflated balloon that has gradually shrunk down over the last weeks. But when my four-year-old sees my bare belly, he notices it's still not back to normal.
And as I explain to him and Chickie that it takes time for everything to go back to where it was, I'm reminding myself too. Because I know this stretched-out skin, this "muffin top" that pokes above my pants, is testament to the incredible ability God gave me to grow a baby. To grow three of them, over the last seven years.
So as I try to patiently wait for my belly to shrink back down to size, I'm going to keep telling myself this:
My belly, home to babies on three separate occasions, may not belong on the front of a fitness magazine. But it is oh, so beautiful, because of what it's done for me, and for my family, and for another family. With the extra skin and the dark line and the droopy navel, it is beautiful.
And I am thankful for it. Just as it is.