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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fading Scars

(c) Rachelle J. Christensen

As a child I was lucky I guess because I never broke any bones and only had one stitch. When I was one year old, I fell onto the sharp edge of a coffee table and split my upper lip open. One stitch sealed it up and no one was the wiser. The scar faded and I remember I'd have to look hard to see the fine white line just below my nose if I wanted proof of my one stitch.

That was quite a few years ago and with time and lots of exposure to the sun, that little scar has become more noticeable. I still remember feeling shocked when someone asked me, "How did you get that scar?"

It's still very faint, just one slanted line not even a 1/2 inch long, but when I've been out in the sun a lot it seems to be a bit more noticeable.

So why am I telling you about my little inconsequential scar? I'm telling you about it because even though it's very small, at most times invisible to the average onlooker, it's still there. I still have a scar and nothing short of plastic surgery will ever take that scar away.

I have other scars from the miscarriages I experienced, from the period of infertility I suffered through, from the emotional hurt inflicted by others. At first the wounds were deep, the scar ugly and painful, but with time they healed.

The scars began to fade, but interestingly enough at times the scars seemed more visible. Like the times when I would sit with other women and listen to them talk about their children, or watch a new mother cradle her infant in her arms while I felt the emptiness of my arms sagging weightlessly to my sides. At these times, the scars seemed to flash with a raw pain that was hard to hide.

Over time I was able to hide my scars more effectively. I became highly skilled at deflecting hurtful comments and changing the subject. But those hidden scars still pulsed with a pain that had to be dealt with. It was only when I faced those scars head-on and saw them for what they really are--a part of me--that I could fully heal.

I still have scars, but they don't hurt me like they used to. Certain things trigger memories that make me think of my scars and just like I sometimes notice the faint line above my lip while I'm applying my makeup, at times I ponder the situations that created other scars in my life.

The healing process is important. As I wrote my book, Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage, each chapter seemed to apply a comforting salve to old scars. Understanding and friendship with others who experienced some of the same things helped me greatly.

I learned that nothing anyone could do or say could erase the scars of miscarriage. I will carry those scars with me throughout my entire life, but I'm no longer burdened by them. They have faded to fine lines which sometimes ache, but mostly serve as a reminder of how precious life is and the strength God has given me to overcome.
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