Stretchmarks are something that every woman dreads, right? I certainly did. I was resigned to them – my mother has them, her mother has them… heck I already had a few on my hips from going through puberty!
The thought that struck me as I brushed my teeth today – deep toothbrushing thoughts, you know – is that I’m GLAD I have stretch marks.
Now you’re confused. Let me put it this way (and try not to make you hate me);
I’m one of those women that’s ‘easy to hate’ on the body scale. I’m naturally slim, have a fast metabolism, and tend to have more difficulty gaining than losing weight. I think I’m actually skinnier after this pregnancy than I was before I got pregnant (when I was working out regularly)!
My body is fairly quick to ‘bounce back’ after my babies. And, given how much I LOVE being pregnant with them, that makes me a little sad. While it’s fun being able to get back into pre-pregnancy clothes (though, if I’m honest, I prefer my maternity clothes for style and looks), I miss having the belly, feeling my baby move, and generally looking like I’ve stuck a giant ball under my shirt.
But the belly doesn’t hang on for me. This is me one week after having baby #1:
and for contrast – a couple days before having baby #1:
and with Baby #2:
and one week after and the night before he was born (38 weeks, 2 days)
As you can tell – the bump goes away pretty quickly for me. It took a while for me to get back to pre-pregnancy weight and anywhere near pre-pregnancy tone, but I lost the tummy pretty quickly.
What I didn’t lose, though I didn’t get a lot by comparison, was the stretch marks:
this photo is from 12 days after baby S’ birth. as you can tell, it’s already shrunk a ton, but the stretch marks are there.
Why did I ‘suddenly’ change my mind about my stretch marks?
There are several factors, one is this story I read on one of my post-partum mommy pages:
” Dr. Maya Angelou’s experience. She said while traveling in Africa.. she stayed with a tribe that bathed communally. She said the women began to weep and console her and she did not know why. They thought she was childless because she had no stretch marks. In their society, marks are a badge of honor. They said even if the baby passed away and she was kidnapped into a new village, if she passed and could not speak for herself, the marks would tell her story and she would get the proper rites at burial.”
Doesn’t that make you think?
The other part is that I miss carrying my babies inside me and stretch marks are one of the few reminders I get – visually- of carrying them. How could I not love that? So I will wear them proudly, my badge of honor (much like my scars) for carrying and nurturing my sons. For the memories of my basketball belly. Should I never get the opportunity again, I will have this beautiful reminder of carrying life.
My Stretchmarks. My Babies each left THEIR marks.
Maybe we should call them baby marks.
Do you have stretch marks? How do you feel about them? Could anything change your mind about them?