As a skinny newly pregnant 22 year old, stretch marks weren’t something I was that concerned about. My mom had three children without a single mark left. She told me to put cocoa butter on my belly regularly, and so I did. You can’t truly predict what will happen. After cookies and brownies being my staple diet in my first pregnancy, I didn’t realize I was racking on the pounds so quickly. At 34 weeks in, I weighed 45 pounds more than normal and gained a small mark on my belly. I figured one wouldn’t be a big deal. My mom said, “I only gained 30 pounds with each of you kids! You’re gaining too much weight.” She also had 7 pound babies. I didn’t realize I’d be birthing a baby that was 9 lbs. 14 oz. I gained 60 pounds total in my first pregnancy all because I truly thought I was supposed to eat for two rather than just needing 300 calories more per day. Whoops.
I can’t go back to fix that.
My belly was one I used to show off and took pride in. It was “perfect” to me. I loved it. God truly humbled me and told me that my pride is something to set aside. Yes I am very into modesty now, and am glad I cover up, but my belly wasn’t the only thing I tried to show off anyway, so in case you are wondering if this incident made me become modest, the answer is no. I was however extremely embarrassed by my belly’s stretch marks.
A few weeks after having Leto out of the womb, I cried and cried because of my stretch marks on my belly, breasts, thighs, and calves that I hadn’t had before. I cried more than my own newborn child over something that really should not be so trivial.
I learned my lesson and in my second pregnancy with Micah, I gained only 30 pounds and had a 7 lb. 11 oz. baby instead. I jumped back to my normal body quickly, but was still really down about my stretch marks I was still left with. I honestly tried using many products to ease my vanity. I had read reviews of loads of products that could rid of stretch marks. I probably spent a total of $400 over several years to get rid of them. I think maybe some of them did go away, but regardless, I spent money I should have used for something less selfish. I could have helped people in desperate need with that money. My skin wasn’t a big deal, but I made it to be so.
The problem is we live in a showy society that says that blemishes, marks, and such are imperfect. They make it seem like you aren’t attractive if you have those things. You need to have smooth skin. You need to be in shape. You need to not have cellulite. You need tone in your muscles. These are the lies we are told. It is important to maintain a healthy body but if we are so obsessed about it our bodies have certainly become idols. We praise and worship the body and shape of one another and ourselves. We forget to praise the One who created us. We forget to be thankful for what we have. We forget to love and accept people no matter what shape or size they are or what marks they may have on them. We forget that those imperfections can be beautiful and lovely and that God loves every piece of those things but hates the emphasis we make on wanting to tend to man’s ideals of those things. We need to focus on His Word and His people and love who they ARE not how they LOOK.
I’ve come to accept my skin. I have come to love the marks that my child left on me. I have a beautiful 7 (nearly 8) year old son who gave those marks to me. He is so smart and handsome and has such compassion for others. He laughs so easily and feels pain so easily too. He was worth every scar left on me. That is love. My husband looks at these marks on my body and he actually likes them and smiles at them. He finds me very sexy and is not turned off by what motherhood has left on my body. He loves that I carried his children for 41 and 39 weeks with this body. He is glad that I nursed each of them for 15 and 12 months each and was able to keep them alive with this body. He loves that I gave up working and making money to teach his children that we were blessed with. Sacrificing myself is something that I have been getting more used to, and that is okay. Now I am 31 and aging and so is my husband. We love that we can love one another and still find each other incredibly sexy even though we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and had “more attractive bodies” according to society back then. God has blessed us. Though our flesh fails, He is our portion forever. He is what sustains and maintains us. He is what keeps us going and helps us realize that these bodies are not something to stress so much over.