If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you’d have no friends left at all. — Martha Hutchinson
I wrote before about how hard it was to accept my post-pregnancy body and I also posted photos of the changes that happened to my body while I was pregnant and immediately after. But I haven’t showed you this.
I’ve saved this post as a draft, revised it, almost deleted it, wondered what would compel me to post it, then wondered why I hadn’t yet (what a coward!).
Ultimately, the reason I’m posting it is because no one talks about stretch marks after pregnancy. There’s not a great precedent for women sharing their stretch marks and there’s certainly not a lot of photographic evidence elsewhere to provide any benchmark with which to gauge your own. A quick Google search for celebrities with post-pregnancy stretch marks yields few results. They’re celebrities though—the most beautiful among us. What about “normal” people? Like bloggers you read, for example? The most you’ll see from a lot of bloggers is…well, not much. I’m sure someone somewhere does have them, but if so, they’re not saying much. You will hear about stretch marks from moms and bloggers who didn’t get them. They usually mention some concoction of lotions and luck.
Lotions and luck weren’t good enough for me, thanks to some nifty genetics and rapid stomach expansion in the last few weeks of pregnancy. At about 35 weeks, I actually remarked to Brandon that I was glad I hadn’t gotten any stretch marks. I thought I was getting away scot-free. I should have knocked on wood, because a week or so later, it’s like they appeared overnight. They litter the front of my stomach, surrounding my belly button like a little team of vertical enemies threatening to take over my abdomen. The worst ones are on my sides, right over my hips. While the ones on the front have mostly faded, these side marks are deeper and more pronounced. They actually look angry.
So, in response, I avoid looking at myself getting in and out of the shower. The first time I put on a bikini this summer, I cried in the bathroom for a few minutes before pulling myself together and pretending like I was okay. I spent the time we had Isobel at the pool for the first time wondering if everyone was looking at me and thinking, “Thank god my stomach doesn’t look like that.” When I’m in a changing room, I get undressed and redressed so fast, it’s like my bare stomach doesn’t even exist. Sometimes I try to pretend it doesn’t.
I’d love to have this be the kind of post where I end it saying that I’ve learned to accept myself and that I know stretch marks are sometimes part of the process of having a baby and they are battle scars, etc., etc. But I don’t really feel that way. Not yet.
I know that in the grand scheme of everything in my life, this is something quite small. But small things are not always insignificant when they happen to you. I don’t think about stretch marks every waking hour, but when I do think about them, or when I catch a glimpse in the mirror, I admit that I feel unattractive and lonely. Maybe you do too. Maybe it’s not even stretch marks, but something else. Either way, it’s real life. In real life, there are imperfections. I have imperfections. There are imperfect things I hate, but maybe shouldn’t. I think this is one of those things. Over time, they’ll continue to fade and I’m guessing that my feelings about them will too. Right now, though…right now, I hate them.
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- mylifetheultimaterollercoaster said: You are brave for sharing! Thanks! Just think that stretch marks are a beautiful thing that happens to your body because of the birth of your precious baby girl.
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- fivepoundnote said: You are brave to post this! I too have stretch marks - mostly over my navel and they are so bad that even my doctor said “Poor thing” when she saw them! You are not alone! Down with stretch marks!
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- rebelrockstarprincess said: Great post! I have horrible stretch marks from puberty all over my breasts and even some on my hips. Eventually they fade and you can overlook them most days. I honestly dread what pregnancy will do to me…
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