Shop the fall collection ➔

“What’s that on your nose?” said the stranger. Instinctively, my right hand flew to the right side of my nasal bone where my scar was. My cheeks burned, my throat knotted, and I gave them the only answer I could give them as a child. I smiled nervously, and I looked to my parents for guidance. They answered by explaining what had happened to me one fateful morning when I was three years old.

It was my mother’s first day back at work since she decided to become a mom. She hired a babysitter for the day, dropped my brother off at kindergarten, and left for work. The young woman she left me with was instructed in my daily routine. And that included a morning trip to the store right across the street where I would present money, and the lovely lady behind the counter would give me pastries. It was my big girl chore, and I loved to do it according to my mother. The distance between my front door and the store was just a few meters apart. The babysitter gave me my money and proceeded to sit down on the steps of our doorway and watch me run across the street to get my daily bread.

RELATED: Can I Keep My Scars in Heaven?

I remember the incident like it was a scene from a movie. I remember running on the asphalt and tripping on a rock. I see myself falling headfirst towards the cement step of the store. The next thing I remember is sitting down on the hot concrete and feeling something wet and warm trickle down my face and clothes. I don’t remember crying. I don’t recall my babysitter coming to me or my mom coming home from work in a panic.

My dad was called, he was a resident doctor at the time, and he decided to treat me at home. I probably needed stitches, but my parents didn’t want to bring me to a hospital when a civil war was raging outside. My life was not in any danger, and since I was young, my dad thought the wound would heal without leaving too much of a scar.

But the wound didn’t heal properly and left a circular, discolored scar on the right side of my nose.

The good news is I grew up not remembering my face before the accident. The bad news is that the scar would be the ice breaker for almost every conversation I had with a stranger as a child and teenager. Miss Manners would frown at strangers pointing out someone’s physical flaws from the get-go, but since I was a child, people felt standard etiquette didn’t apply.

I never felt self-conscious about my scar when I was staring at myself in the mirror. That scarred nose was the only one I’d ever known, but people’s reaction to me was what made me uncomfortable.

Fearing that I might be mocked for my scar during my teen years, my parents took me to see a plastic surgeon when I was 10. The doctor examined my face.

“There is really nothing to be done, and if I try to correct this, I fear I might cause more damage to her face,” the surgeon told my parents.

And then he turned to me, “Do you feel bad having that scar?”

And I answered truthfully, “No, I don’t,” I said.

And that was that. The surgeon said maybe I could cover it with makeup as I grew older, but he was wrong.

No amount of makeup could cover my scar.

As an adult, the point-blank questions turned into stares. Even now, when I get dressed and feel pretty, I never assume people stare because I look nice. It always comes back to my scarthey must stare because they’ve noticed it. And I’ve never worn makeup to try and cover it.

RELATED: I Wear These Lines and Scars With Pride

But as laissez-faire as I am about my own scar, in an interesting twist of fate, I am equally as mortified that my children might end up with marked faces. Having facial scars might build character and make you look mysterious, still, it’s not an experience I want my children to have. Your face is the first thing people see when they meet you. It’s your hello to the world. It’s the first impression you give.

Any type of scar or mark tarnishes that image, making it harder for people to focus on anything other than your scar.

Recently, my 4-year-old took a padded bat to the face while playing with her cousin. The foam scrapped her nose, tearing off flesh and leaving a deep laceration on one of her nostrils. The type that will most certainly leave a permanent scar. As she looked at her wound in the mirror while I was tending to it, my daughter turned to me with gleaming eyes.

“Will it heal, mama?”

A pang of emotions gripped my heart, and the 3-year-old girl with a scarred nose flew right back in. I cupped my daughter’s face with my hands.

“It might leave a small mark, but it takes nothing away from your pretty face,” I told her.

The worry lifted from her eyes, and her smile returned. And as for the 3-year-old girl, she stepped aside to give place to the experienced mama who knew her daughter would be fine, albeit with a scarred nostril. 

Tania Lorena Rivera

Armed with a degree in animal biology, Tania set out to work in research. However, she chose to be a homemaker once she became a mom. The journey into motherhood allowed her to visit another passion of hers, writing. She spends her days taking care of her family, who is the inspiration for most of her writing and photography.

The Scars Remind Us We Lived Through the Pain

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Two couples sitting together, color photo

I’ve heard it said that scars are tattoos with better stories. Growing up I didn’t feel that way. I hated this scar I had from birth. It was on my stomach. I never felt comfortable wearing a bikini. I was constantly afraid someone would see it. Fast forward as an adult. That scar is a reminder: I lived. I was born with a birth defect. If you ask my mom, she will actually say she grieved for me because she wasn’t sure I would live. Even once I was out of the woods, they didn’t know if my quality of...

Keep Reading

My Baby Had a Birth Defect—And God is Still Good

In: Baby, Faith, Motherhood
Newborn in hospital, color photo

“Your baby has a birth defect.”  Umm, excuse me? That big, fully formed, full-term baby? The beautiful boy with the pouty little lips, gorgeous blue eyes, and full head of hair?   It had to be a mistake.  But it wasn’t. Hidden deep within this perfect-looking child, something was terribly flawed.   I never wanted to have my babies in a hospital. I reasoned: hospitals are for sick people, not healthy mothers and babies. But as we passed through the NICU doors—and were greeted by the long, sad hallway filled with sick babies—the irony of my strongly-held principles seemed to slap me...

Keep Reading

What This Mom Discovered When She Was Body Shamed on Social Media

In: Fitness, Health, Journal, Mental Health, Relationships
What This Mom Discovered When She Was Body Shamed on Social Media www.herviewfromhome.com

I love social media. You know that whole Facebook memories thing? I have a feeling that someone, at one time or another, was thinking up all the ways they could make moms of young children spend even more time on Facebook. “Why not let them look back at all the old photos of their kids when they were babies?” they said. Why not make my ovaries burst and make me go tearfully hover over all my sleeping children while wondering how in the world they have gotten so big, is more like it! Do I post adorable pictures of my...

Keep Reading