When my daughters got older and began to ask questions, I wasn’t really all that prepared for the type of questions they would ask me. Questions ranged from pretty much impossible questions like how big is space to why, why, why? Like most parents, I did my best to navigate the barrage thrown at me at the most random times of day, but there was one question, that my youngest asked me one day, that flicked something inside of me, and planted a seed. This was the question:
What are those mummy?
Her little hand was pointing at the stretch marks on my belly. My answer was simple: they were stretch marks. Her counter-question: what are they from? Cue my rehearsed answer of how they happen when the skin stretches and then heals, like when you have a baby in your belly. She looked thoughtful for a moment, poked my belly again then asked:
Do you like them mummy?
I had to fight the urge to complain about them, to be ashamed by them, to pull my shirt down and hide them away. But I didn’t and told her that they were a beautiful part of me because they represented something beautiful that came out of me. She pulled up her shirt and asked if she had them too, and I said that one day if she has kids she probably will. And she said, “Then I will be beautiful like you, mummy.” My heart burst, and I got my camera and took some pictures, and shared that story onto my Facebook business page:
It was one of my most popular posts to date honestly! Then life moved on, Covid happened and other things came along. The seed, however had been planted.
Then one day I learned about the art of kintsugi:
And somehow, this nurtured that seed, and it sprouted, took root and began to grow into an idea – an idea for this project.
I put out a model call in a local mums group and the response was incredible – but I knew I couldn’t ask these women to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself, so I consulted with my wonderful friend Jane, from Lollipops Face Painting on the best gold paint to use, ordered it, painted my belly (not as easy as it might seem!) and took this:
My contribution to the project – which I hope will continue to grow and expand to encompass all bodies and ages and experiences.
Stay tuned for the next sessions!
You can support the Kintsugi Mama Project by following along on our instagram: @kintsugimamaproject, and sharing the blog posts and images with family and friends! And if you would like to participate as a model, please get in touch (at the moment UK – based, but hopefully we will expand soon!)