During my first pregnancy I obsessed about how to avoid getting stretch marks. I did everything “right” while pregnant in order to not get stretch marks. I bought expensive creams, pure vitamin e oil, drank lots of water, and stayed active. I also pestered every woman I knew, who had kids, but did not have stretch marks. I wanted to know their secret. I remember at 33 weeks, the very first stretch mark arrived. It started at the bottom of my belly, in which I used a mirror to examine because I could no longer see that low lol. I cried… So embarrassing for me to admit because I honestly cried like a baby. Just like that, I felt my body was ruined. It was very hard for me to accept that my body was changing and I could not do anything about it. And you know what…they just kept coming in. One after the other stretch marks were coming in as my baby grew.
At some point I accepted that my stomach (and body) would never be the same. The truth about stretch marks is, if you are meant to get them you will get them. That’s what my mom told me! And once you get them, you cannot get rid of them. The tearing of the dermis (second layer of our skin) causes stretch marks, which over time may fad considerably, but they will never completely go away. Although my stomach is not as pristine as it was when I was 18 years old, I have come to accept the imperfections. I am fiercely confident and I love my body.
We are fed many images several times a day on what the standard of beauty is, or what perfection looks like in the form of advertisement. All to get us to buy into the dream of “perfect this” and “perfect that”. The problem with that is, it’s not real! Images are altered, makeup is used…there are several tricks to the trade! What’s beautiful is; I carried a human being inside of me for 9 months twice. My body knew exactly what to do when it was time for labor and delivery. I delivered healthy children and with a little down time my body healed itself. Think about how selfless the act of becoming a mother is. Think about the beauty of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. How much weight our wombs carry and the pain we endure to bring life into the world. It is truly amazing.
So the next time you look at yourself in the mirror and notice your imperfections, also recognize the beauty in imperfection. Be proud of your body. Stretch marks should be seen as a sign of strength and accomplishment, rather then “gross”. Realize that strength is beauty, and you have a whole lotta that. What is important is that you care for yourself lovingly. Eat a diet rich in fruits & vegetables, limit processed food, drink a lot of water, exercise most days of the week, and keep a positive outlook on life.
These days, I am so comfortable in my own skin. That is the goal right? To love yourself…that includes the imperfections too. When I look in the mirror I do not see the stretch marks as much as I see a toned stomach that I work hard for. Though my body isn’t perfect, it is still beautiful – and so is yours.