From Brazil: “I’ve just become a mother at 18. This incredible journey certainly brought me many marks, positive and negative. Actually before the marks started to show on my body they began to emerge in my soul. I was 17 and had just finished high school, full of plans…
I had a trip booked to go and live in Hawaii to improve my surfing and train my English, had just discovered that my boyfriend had made his ex girlfriend pregnant, I turned 18 on the 1/1.
Then during carnival (a couple of months later) found out I was pregnant too…
It was extremely difficult having to let go of travel, study, dreams … to follow my classmates getting into college, my friends going to live abroad.
I got very confused in my head! But there were many people wanting to support me, willing to help me. I think this was one of the first “marks”: I realized how much I was loved and how much people cared about me, I had never stopped to look around me and realize that, on the contrary before that I felt lonely…
As I saw my body changing I was realising how much I was going in the same flow, I had to mature faster than expected, start thinking about things it was not yet time to think…
I had always been passionate about children but now it scared me to come across one, and think: “my God I have a daughter, a being that will come out of me!”. I had always dreamed of being mother, now scared me every time I heard the word. It hurt me and it still hurts me, being a mother without structure, my own money, a job, a partner, without having achieved my dreams. Even tough my belly was growing, my nipples were getting darker and everything changing in front of the mirror I could still not believe it!
You know those advertising mothers that caress their bellies smiling? Sometimes I felt very guilty about not enjoying it, but at the same time I always felt an intense and beautiful connection between us. Not only between me and my daughter, but with nature too, all the time I felt something larger, magical, plotting for both of us. And how blessed we were!! So many rituals, meetings, wonderful evenings, energizing waterfalls, photograph women circles,…. In truth gestating did not deprived me from doing the things I love. I surfed and did stand-up paddle board until eight months, and all seemed even more enjoyable to do.
The physical marks were small in comparison to the emotional ones, I missed wearing some of my clothes, to feel attractive, to parade around with my friends in the surf championships. I was afraid of getting millions of stretch marks throughout my body and these things … But they are all little things that were becoming smaller while I understood the force that brought those changes, the maturing and the beauty of it all! I began to love my body with your its changes.
I remember one day coming back from the father of my daughter’s house and seeing my reflection on the window of a restaurant and seeing I was so different, I thought of a caterpillar. When the time comes for it to evolve it closes itself on a cocoon to go through changes that only it will know.
This is how I felt, gestating and cocooning. I was caterpillar, now cocoon and one day butterfly!
And the result of it all would be my wings!! It is necessary to go through the cocoon before creating wings! Each mark is special because each is unique as well as the learning that comes with them!
I say without fear that I love the stretch marks, the responsibility, the breasts that hurt, the personal grow, the extra pounds, the dark under the eyes and so on …. These are my marks! ” -Moara and Maya
-Photographed and reported by ABBP Regional Photographer Leticia Valverdes in Brazil. To see her work, visit www.LeticiaValverdes.com
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