My Birthmark.

In the crook of my right arm, there's a birthmark. It's an oval, about a centimeter long and about a half a centimeter wide. It's brown. It's always been there.

I'm 17 weeks pregnant, and about a month ago, I noticed that the texture of the birthmark had raised a bit. I tend not to worry much about minor health problems, but since I've been pregnant, I've had much more of a tendency to catastrophize:

Oh no! It's deadly death cancer! I'm going to die! My child will not know me! My husband will have to raise it on his own!


I went to see a dermatologist today, and she's going to biopsy it in a few weeks. The biopsy will require removing a section of my birthmark which is approximately the size of a hole punch, which is pretty much the whole thing.

As I left the doctor's office, I found myself strangely sad. Of course, being pregnant, strange things make me sad, and I weep easily these days. But this birthmark--it's been with me forever. It's a little weird-looking, and as a kid, other children would tease me about it or ask me what it was...but it's always been there, and been a part of me. Even when kids would tease me about it, I always had a fondness for it.

When my little niece first started to talk, she would look at it and ask me about it. She had her own birthmark, and it seemed to make her feel closer to me.

My husband has kissed that part of me. In a few weeks, it will be mostly gone. There will be a little scar and a remnant of pigment around the edges, and that will be all. Like so many things that seemed they'd always be around, it won't be around anymore.

Soon, too, I'll be a mother. The person I've always been, the body I've always inhabited, will be irretrievably changed, and yet the same. I am just beginning to feel the baby quickening inside me, bending and stretching its arms and legs, a feeling soft and subtle like bubbles or feathers. I'm past the morning sickness now, but there are still strange symptoms of the body inhabiting my body, the present changes and the changes that are coming. It's an odd time to be me.

So birthmark, here's to you. Thank you for marking me, for teaching me to appreciate the beauty that comes from difference, for connecting me to my niece, and for changing now when everything else is changing. Thank you for being a sweet, brown metaphor for much of my life.


Popular Posts