We all know our society has labeled stretch marks as “ugly” and unfortunately, they are constantly being shamed. Every woman, mom or not, has been shamed by someone for their stretch marks at least once in their lifetime and most of the time by themselves. Society has deemed stretch marks as flaws that need correcting in order to be beautiful.
In my younger years, I would see some stretch marks here and there that did not bother me at all. It was only until I got pregnant that I demonized them. I remember the first time I started to see them on my pregnant belly I prayed that I wouldn’t get anymore. I bought every cream to avoid stretch marks, but I was unable to prevent them from appearing.
After birth, it took me a while to see myself bare naked in the mirror. And when I did, I began to bawl like a child. As the months passed by, I kept on thinking of ways to get rid of my stretch marks. I even googled doctors that would perform treatments to make them disappear. Until months into [postpartum], I thought to myself “what if I start appreciating them and loving what they did?” “Is it even possible to be comfortable with them?” “Is it okay to feel comfortable with them?”
We are expected to find ways to minimize their appearance, we are told they are not a beauty feature and that they make your body ugly but let me tell you something. The things that I’ve hated most about myself, are now the things that remind me of how far I’ve come and how much I’m able to do for those I love most. They remind me of how strong I am and that I can love my body no matter what society thinks or says about certain features.
Now, you might be asking how I got to this mindset because I did not wake up one day saying “Oh, look! My beautiful stretch marks!” So, here’s how to get comfortable with them:
1. Take it Day by Day
Accept them. For many, this does not happen overnight but it’s imperative that you know that they will be with you forever and that they are a part of you. So take a deep breath and just know that it will be okay, YOU will be okay.
2. Be Patient
Even though they may appear red/pink/purple at the beginning, with time they will vanish into this beautiful pearl color, but in the meantime let them sink in. Look at them in the mirror and take a look at your new body with some added features. Be kind. It may take time for you to digest your new reality, so once again, be patient.
3. Create Positive Thoughts
Negative thoughts and hate towards your body will not make you feel better. If you have a negative thought, it’s ok. Just acknowledge it, accept it, and then let go of that thought. Now focus on the positive. Like what? Well, like thinking how your body is so amazing that it was able to stretch so it could grow and nurture a tiny human.
4. Say/Think Positive Affirmations
Look in the mirror and repeat “I am strong. I am beautiful and my stretch marks are a reminder of it.” “I am capable of change and my stretch marks represent that”. Repeat this every day and when those negative thoughts show up bombard them with these positive phrases.
5. Indulge in Self-Care
Take the time and go to a spa; get a massage or a facial. If you’re the kind of gal that likes baths, indulge in one. Buy a body cream of your favorite brand and spread some of that into your whole body (especially the parts that need love most). Whatever you love or enjoy doing, go ahead mama! You deserve this. Do it for you.
6. Know You Are Not Alone
Stretch marks connect us in a very special way. Mama or not we have one thing in common: stretch marks. And just because we share this body mark, beauty mark, body feature or whatever you want to call it, it makes us stronger because we know we are not alone. We know that this happens to almost everyone. And for me personally, it has encouraged me to lift other women up, especially mamas. Hence this post.