Before I start muttering away aimlessly, I would just like to make a quick disclaimer that this post is not about how you should NOT like your stretch marks. I hope you are proud! I hope you embrace them as much as it is possible to! I am a firm supporter of celebrating women’s bodies for what they truly are: lumps, bumps, thigh gaps, flat stomachs, cellulite, and everything in between. But, and it’s a big but (a bit like mine), I do not celebrate my new baby body, and I know I am not the only one.
One thing that has really started to get on my tits lately, which, funnily enough, have stretch marks, is that small but significant amount of women who say we must love our stretch marks or else we must not be proud of our babies. We must be ashamed of the concept of us carrying them and going through the journey of little to large in a small period of time.
I would love to love my stretch marks. I would love to embrace them.
I have told myself this a thousand times. I have told myself that I should be proud of them after carrying my son, but I can’t convince myself that I like them enough, no matter how much I try. It makes me feel like I am portraying the image that I am not proud of carrying my son… and is that true? Absofuckinglutelynot.
I have never loved something so much in my life. I love that I carried him for nine months and delivered him safely to the world. I am just extremely envious of those who were lucky enough to escape being smacked with the stretch mark stick.
I have stretch marks everywhere you can imagine. I have them on my stomach almost climbing up to my boobs. I have them in my armpits, kneepits, my back, my hips, my boobs, my thighs.
I am basically a walking example of how shit bio-oil is.
I tried everything to prevent them. I tried cocoa butter on a morning, afternoon, evening, same with bio oil, and in the end, just started piling them both on at the same time, obviously to no avail. I had such an amazing flat stomach way back in the day, but sadly put on four stone eating all of the cake and all of the pizza, which, I must admit, I didn’t find very sad at the time. This was just before I fell pregnant, so I was already XL and knew I was only going to get bigger. I used to get so incredibly jealous of my friends who were pregnant alongside me who could post pictures of their ever-growing bumps while I had mine hidden under a t-shirt to hide the fact that I was a stretchmark-o-saurus.
I’m not massively horrified by them or anything, but I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable with getting them out. I used to cringe at the end of my pregnancy when I had to have my stomach measured and prodded. My midwife used to say “oh bless you” when I got my stomach out, which really didn’t help, but I adored my midwife so I will let her off.
These “you’re awful, how dare you, quit parenting” women, who actually do exist, usually have about four of five of them. That’s fine too. I mean even if I only had four of five, i’d probably still not be happy, does that mean I am ashamed of my son? No.
It means I preferred my body like it was and was expecting a beautiful stretch-mark free bump, stupidly. I would love to be able to go back into a bikini one day and not be paranoid. It’s not that I wouldn’t be happy myself, but I would worry far too much about what other people would think or worst of all, say. I am too much of a worrier. Sometimes people will be a bit too open about how they don’t want to see a ‘mam belly’, and I am afraid if I heard anyone ranting about my body, I would smack them square in the gob.
What we really need to do is not judge anyone on their parenting whatsoever for the most ridiculous reasons, or just not judge anyone for their parenting, full stop. Basically, in a rambly way, what I am trying to say is that I do not feel proud of my stretch mark covered body and it is completely normal. I know I am not the first person to feel this way.
If you love your stretch marks, I really admire you and truly believe you should celebrate that.
There is a strong need for women to show off the unconventional, and break the boundaries/stereotypes around stretch marks. On the other hand, whether you love your body or not has absolutely no correlation whatsoever with whether you love your baby or are proud of carrying them. You certainly do not earn the ‘tiger stripes’ (ugh!), you either get them or you don’t. I know one day I will get the body back that I once loved and my stretch marks will fade, but at the moment I am not happy with myself and that’s okay.
Where do you stand on this? Do you love your stretch marks? How do you feel about people who don’t?