They're not just lines.
They are deep, twisting, ripped tissue on my stomach. My thighs. My butt. My hips. My breasts. They are bright pink — the color the whites of my eyes turn after I've cried while looking in the mirror. They are creviced and not smooth. They cover stomach muscles that are separated, and bulge. They cover organs that were squished and are now rearranged.
Some call them war scars. Some call them beautiful. Some say it's just the way your body will never be the same after having a baby.
But they are ripped skin underneath tissue. They are what once held my body, and are now too weak to support my stomach, back, and pelvic floor. They've caused drooping. They are what make me cry and feel hot anger when I look at myself. They are why I don't want to shower. They are why no one will see my body, unclothed, ever again. They are why I want to hide.
Some say "It's all worth it", but I don't see these on their bodies. I don't see them on my husband's stomach or in ways his body is altered. He is still in tact. I am the one that is ripped apart mentally, emotionally, and physically. The one that sits with stitches and hemorrhoids and massive, stretched, drooping breasts that never produced enough milk but pull my shoulders forward from their weight. The one that is somehow riddled with guilt about my appearance and how ugly, old, saggy and unsexy I feel.
They are a constant reminder that I am not my own. That my body was stretched, and reconfigured and ruined.
They are never "just lines".