I'd had an idea for a while anyway of what I wanted, and while we didn't have everything available to do exactly that, we were still able to improvise, and we took some really beautiful shots.
When we first tried to decide which side the writing should be on, I asked Sarah which side had fewer stretch marks. She tried to describe what she could see, under the bump where I can't see, but as she described the different kind of marks on each side, I realised something really beautiful...
I didn't care.
And even more than not caring, I wanted to photograph the side with the most marks and veins. After all, this is the same womb that brought this boy's big sisters into the world, and the marks they left on me illustrate the marks they will leave on him. He's sharing the same space those other two precious children of mine once shared; he is being nourished inside the same womb that they were nourished in. He is also leaving his own special marks on me, new ones that were not there before he came into existence. He will shape me in different ways, just as his sisters have shaped me in their own unique ways.
Beyond all that, this body of mine is beautiful because of those marks.
I am, of course, thankful that my stretch marks aren't as thick and red as they could've been and that don't cover my whole belly. But I'm also not ashamed of the ones that I do have. For the first time, I realised I like them.
My body is a map; blue veins run like rivers along the historical silver mountain ranges of my motherhood.