I’ve read the stories about moms who feel beautiful and even sexy while pregnant, during birth, and shortly thereafter. My hats off to them, but I definitely did not feel that way. Strong, brave, even impressed with myself would be the list I’d use, but beautiful was not on it. Even after my stomach returned to near it’s pre-pregnancy shape there was one piece stopping me from getting back my pre-pregnancy body… damn stretch marks.
I’m not going to lie, I thought maybe I would be the exception and not get stretch marks at all. My sisters have each gone through two pregnancies without getting them; I worked out through my whole pregnancy, and managed to eat decent. I shoulda been good, right? Nope, wrong. I could clearly see where they showed up underneath my bellybutton in my last few weeks of pregnancy but was still optimistic they’d go away right after I gave birth. Clearly I was delusional. Why would I have even thought that?
Like everyone else, I see the inspirational quotes about stretch marks being our battle wounds, our tiger stripes, a physical representation of our hard fought journey. I get those, and I get how those sentiments make women proud of their stretch marks. For me though, they fell flat. Those quotes didn’t make me view my stretch marks as beauty marks. They didn’t help me feel any better about their permanent placement on my body. I wanted them gone. But then something else did. I honestly can’t remember where I saw it, no doubt somewhere on social media, but it changed my perspective forever …
“For every woman who hates her stretch marks, is another one wishing she had them”
That was it, that was all I needed to be proud of and okay with my new body. It was like flipping a light switch for me. I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion and it was all put into perspective for me. I felt selfish that I was stressing over something that held no real weight. At that moment my heart ached for all the women struggling to get pregnant, unable to get pregnant, or the woman who wanted a child years ago but her life path hasn’t gone that way. My heart continues to ache for them.
Having stretch marks creates no pain or suffering in my life. But the pain of wanting a child and not having one, it makes me tear up thinking about it and I’ve never even experienced it, that’s a pain I can’t comprehend bearing.
I’m a believer in allowing people to come to peace with things in their life in their own way and time. For me, coming to peace with my stretch marks was realizing that there are women all over the world who would trade in their unscarred bodies to hold their own child without a second thought. But if you’re looking in the mirror and struggling to be okay with your new body and feel beautiful, my advice is this: go pick up your baby, cuddle your beautiful little one, and remember all that beauty had to come from somewhere, it came from you.