January 12, 2018

Stretch Marks: What's The Big Deal?


Stretch marks, every pregnant woman's nightmare, but should they be?

According to WebMD, almost 90% of women will get stretch marks during their pregnancy. And no matter what anyone tells you, there is no way to prevent them. There is no magical cream out there that can stop them and no magical cream that can get rid of them (source). They are also genetic so if your mother had them, you will likely have them too. However, stretch marks will fade over time and there are treatments available to help them fade (source). 

From my pregnancy and after my pregnancy I have come to find that there are two vocal groups of women when it comes to stretch marks. There are the moms who will do anything to prevent stretch marks, the ones slathering themselves with cocoa butter every hour of the day and swear it works, and then there are the other moms who are proud of their "tiger stripes" and flaunt them off for the world to see. 

Then there is the third group, the non-vocal group. They are the moms that just don't talk about it. I was part of this group until now. 

Was I concerned about getting stretch marks during my pregnancy? Not really. My view is it's your choice to get pregnant and have a baby, so you should be ready to accept that stretchmarks are a possibility. It was just something I expected, and yes I got them. 

Maybe it was because I was told I may not be able to get pregnant on my own, that stretch marks were the last thing I was concerned about when I found out I was pregnant with our little miracle. However, I did put lotion on every day to soothe the skin as it stretched, which is recommended for all pregnant women, but this lotion was not magical and it did not prevent them as I still ended up with stretch marks. It may have helped keep my skin healthy and now, one year later, they are definitely still there but have also faded, which is what the lotion and any other kind of treatment is more likely to help with.

Every time I see another mom ask "is there a way to prevent stretch marks" or see an article that states "I used this miracle cream and didn't get stretch marks," I just want to roll my eyes. If stretch marks mean that so much to you, then don't get pregnant or don't have the baby. Also, if you didn't get stretch marks, consider yourself lucky, it wasn't the cream, you just managed to gain the weight at a slow enough pace (source) for the skin to keep up or thank your mom as it could just be your genetics. It is encouraged for moms to gain weight at a steady pace, but even so, you may still get stretch marks as everyone's skin has different elasticity.

I didn't get very big or round like other moms did when they were pregnant, and I still got stretch marks. Here is a photo for comparison of when I was 5 weeks pregnant versus 38 weeks, which was my last pregnant photo as the baby was born at 38+6 weeks, so I didn't quite make it to 39 weeks!


Honestly, I don't understand why women care so much if they have stretch marks. They are usually in places no one sees, most commonly the stomach and breasts.  No one is going to be seeing that on a daily basis besides maybe your partner and they shouldn't care as you just gave birth to their child. The only other person who may see your body is your doctor, and doctors have seen way worse things, so no worry there. 

Now if your an avid beach goer and a bikini is your choice of swimwear, then yes, maybe the public will see your stretch marks, but why do you care what they think? Those people don't matter, the ones that matter are the ones that love you just the way you are. Also, if it does make you uncomfortable, just cover up. Bonus to one-pieces and tankinis are more coverage, which means you have more protection from the sun. 

I know we live in a society where looks matter and I think the moms who show off their stripes are trying to help put an end to that, to show the truth about pregnancy and birth. I'm more modest and don't like showing off my body, but I also believe that stretch marks shouldn't be a big deal and I think this could also be bringing more attention to them, which makes women feel it's a bigger deal than it is. So what if you have a few extra lines or "stripes" on your belly? There are women out there who would do anything to have those marks on their belly, so I am grateful for the stripes I do have as they gave me the chance to be a mom.

I think as a society, we are pretty vain. We're always trying to cover up imperfections with make-up or surgery. We are desperate to find ways to fix the impossible, like hair loss and stretch marks. We care too much about how we look and not enough about what's beneath the surface.

Then again, it's all a matter of perspective as well. Why do we find stretch marks ugly? Why aren't they beautiful? They are a part of pregnancy, a part of birth, which many say is a beautiful thing, but truth be told, to me it is ugly. There is nothing beautiful about birth except the baby. The part up to that is sweat, blood, tears, not a pretty picture if you ask me. So when you think about it, stretch marks are actually a beautiful thing as they are proof that you gave life. You just have to change your point of view.

I'm interested to hear what you think, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Sources

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Pixabay.

11 comments:

  1. I can definitely appreciate your thoughts on stretch marks! Personally, I’m in the camp of please god no stretch marks and luckily after 2 kids I only have 1 under my armpit. I’ve always been very active, physically fit and I’m even a group fitness instructor. It has always been important to me to maintain my appearance not only for my lifestyle/image but also for my self esteem. Different strokes for different folks!

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    1. That actually saddens me that you feel you have to look a certain way to be accepted by your peers.

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  2. I am with you on this! I was told I would most likely never be able to get pregnant and if I did I would not be able to carry. We lost our first pregnancy and I was able to carry my son to 35.5 weeks so I am proud of my marks that show I carried life against the odds I was given :)

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    1. I'm in the same boat. I'm proud of them! I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  3. I love my tiger stripes. I'm biased though because getting my little girl here was a huge struggle. I lost 5 pregnancies before her and I did my entire pregnancy on bed rest to get her here full term. I guess based on my own history the stretch marks are sort of a badge of honor.

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  4. I don't mind my stretch marks. I'm proud that I'm a mom. I love that I'm a mom. Being a mom gave my life meaning. Sometimes I notice the stretch marks and feel a little down but in the end, I just don't care enough to keep it up.

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  5. Lemme tell ya, I don’t have kids but I have stretch marks from puberty, weight gain and weight loss. A lot of them, not just a couple here and there. They don’t bother me, I’ve accomplished so much and have earned them. It’s very human! Possibly one of the most normal and natural things. :)

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  6. Stretch marks are what being a woman is all about. Just like cellulite. I have had three kids and did not get any stretch marks, I think it was my age and the weight and my abs.

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  7. Great article! As a mother of five I could always use these tips.

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  8. I never was big into the obsessing over not having stretch marks. I have them. They are part of my body now. Life goes on. My mom is in her 60s and I can't remember her not complaining about what pregnancy did to her body. I definitely don't want my girls growing up hearing that from me.

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  9. Excellent viewpoint. I love where you are coming from with this. Thanks for the encouraging words!!

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