Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I Love My Stretch Marks (no, I’m not kidding!)

If you’ve never been pregnant, you’re curious about the whole pregnancy/labor/motherhood thing.  Before I became a mother, I remember listening to people talk about the not-so-glamorous things that go along with having a child… pregnancy brain, sciatic nerve, your postpartum body.  It took everything in me not to make a disgusted face and say “Why would anyone DO that?!”

When I was pregnant I was horrified.  I probably called the nurse’s line at my OB once a week to ask “Is this normal?” (thankfully they’re amazing and never made me feel like an idiot!).  I worried about all the normal things:  Is the food I’m eating nutritious enough for the baby?  Has he moved enough today?  Is he breech? -and every pregnant woman’s worst nightmare- Is this a sign of a miscarriage?

I thought about my unborn child every second of every day from the moment I saw those two pink lines on the home pregnancy test.  All 35 1/2 looong weeks.  But selfishly, I also worried about me.  When will this nausea go away?  When will I be able to fit into my skinny jeans?  and then there was, OMG what is THAT?!

I noticed my first stretch mark on Mother’s Day 2012 (fitting, right?).  Adam planned to take my mom and I to lunch at Angus Barn.  I was a little over halfway through my pregnancy.  As I hopped out of the shower and toweled-off I looked down and froze in fear.  There it was– purple and thin, about 2 inches long, staring at me.  My first stretch mark.

I immediately slathered some cocoa butter all over and from that moment on I started paying attention to the Baby Center and What To Expect emails that had to do with stretch marks.  Turns out you can try all the creams and lotions you want, but genetics is the biggest factor when it comes to stretch marks.  I spoke to my mom about my latest pregnancy ailment and she grinned and said “I have them too; sorry hun!”

My pregnancy continued relatively smoothly.  A few bumps here and there, but nothing I can really complain about.  Then one day, around 37 weeks, I was looking in the mirror while getting dressed.  I picked up my bump, attempting to adjust it in the elastic band of my pants, and I saw them.  ALL of them.  I stood there– horrified & staring.  Stretch marks covered my baby bump.  Thick, dark purple, long stretch marks engulfed the underside of my bump.  It looked like Edward Scissorhands had attacked.  I screamed for Adam.  “Look at this!!  How could this happen?!  I only have a few more weeks to go!!  This is SO unfair!!”  I was livid (hormones may have had a liiiiitle bit to do with my reaction!).  

Postpartum, it was a daily struggle to accept my new body.  Now, 18 months later, I love my new body– especially my stretch marks.  Here’s why…

1.  I Am Blessed.  I am thankful every day that I was able to carry a child.  A living being grew inside of me for 41 weeks.  Women do it every day, but when you really think about it, it’s absolutely amazing!  Many women battle fertility issues; I can’t begin to imagine what these women go through.  My stretch marks remind me I was able to experience the blessing that is pregnancy.

2.  I Am Confident.  Pregnancy is not easy.  Everyone has an opinion (I was told I looked horrible and wonderful in the same day!).  Those negative opinions can be hurtful!  Throw in hormonal changes and those critical comments can easily turn a pregnant woman into a sobbing mess.  I knew if I was going to survive pregnancy, I needed to let these comments roll off my back and fully accept myself.  My stretch marks remind me to be confident in my own skin, regardless of what others say. 

3.  I Am Strong.  Labor is called labor for a reason!  I always tell people “It was not the biggest pain of my life, but it was definitely the biggest workout in my life!”  I was in labor for 23 hours and 32 minutes (who’s counting?).  When it was finally time to push, my epidural had worn off and it was too late to get another one.  I felt every.single.contraction.  Halfway through pushing all I could think was I’m so exhausted.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  I want a cheeseburger!  But you know what?  I did it.  I survived.  And it empowered me.  My stretch marks remind me I am strong and my body is capable of amazing things. 

I debated about posting these pictures.  I thought about editing them to give me a tan.  I thought about taking them another day– first thing in the morning, before I had breakfast.  I thought about not posting them at all.  BUT, that wouldn’t be the real me.  So here I am, the real me… No tan and a tummy full of food!

How do you feel about your post-baby body?  If you haven’t had a baby, are you worried about how your body will change?  What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard someone say to a pregnant woman?


  1. I'm one of those lucky few who didn't get stretchmarks with pregnancy. Well, I wouldn't call it lucky really, I had lost 65 pounds before pregnancy, so I already had stretchy skin that just re-filled out, only this time with a baby instead of fast food! I will say that in my weight loss journey, I've been pretty okay with saggy skin though, because it once wasn't saggy – it was filled with fat at almost 300 pounds. I wear that saggy skin as a badge of courage, because it shows me where I came from and why I'm not going back.

    1. Caroline @ HighHeels2HiddenToysFebruary 3, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      That is very true, Stephanie! You are so inspirational!

  2. Andrea@thedistractedhousewifeFebruary 4, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Honestly, I think you look fantastic. Regardless this was just the message I needed to hear. As someone who isn't even 5 feet tall as well as someone who has 9 pound babies my stomach is very very scary. But you know what? I really should love how destroyed it is because with out it I wouldn't have those two little angels I love so much.

    1. Caroline @ HighHeels2HiddenToysFebruary 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Thank you… and 9 pound babies?!!? That's big for your little self! Embrace your tummy, girl! Thanks for visiting!

  3. I'm actually more comfortable with my body now than I was after my last pregnancy 12 years ago. I'm in better shape, even if there are stretch marks and some saggy skin in the tummy area. The only thing that can fix that is surgery, and that's not something I choose to do. And the prize for these body changes are the two most fabulous kids I could ever hope to have!

    1. Caroline @ HighHeels2HiddenToysFebruary 4, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      That's a great attitude to have! I think I'm more confident now, too… one of the many benefits of motherhood! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Those two quotes are amazing and so perfect. Also, you look great!!

    1. Caroline @ HighHeels2HiddenToysFebruary 16, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      I love quotes from Pinterest! And thank you!


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