I'd learned of it in medical school but never thought I'd have one. I looked for it all throughout my pregnancy, staring down along the midline of my gravid belly. Some telltale signs were there - the nausea, shortness of breath, tender breasts, swollen feet... But I never developed a huge, round, glorious belly that announced the joy of impending birth. Even with the twisting movement of a fetus anxious to emerge, it was hard to believe that this was all real. After years of wanting, of shots and procedures and waiting, it was finally here. But would she come out ok? What would she look like?
Then one day she arrived and they placed her on my belly, now saggy from where she was growing. She was beautiful, and I was immediately in love. Nothing else mattered. The nurse came into the room and announced, "It's time to mash on that uterus, shrink it back down!" It was then that I saw it: a faint, fine, dark line running from my belly button to my pelvis.
It's the tattoo of motherhood, one I never wish to erase, but I know they usually fade after birth. For this year, it's a gift to me from my daughter. A most perfect Valentine.