I recoiled in horror throughout my pregnancy at some girls photos of their tiger marked tummies thanks to my Nutmums addiction! It was one of my biggest concerns once I got to twenty weeks, and started to feel secure that I wasn’t going to have yet another miscarriage. I slathered on every cream imaginable am and pm religiously. I invested in Champneys oils and creams (my post is here) and then moved onto the Body Shop body butters. I thought I may have got away without stretch marks . . .
I got all the way to about 38 weeks into my pregnancy with not a single mark on my tummy! I had heard that post pregnancy the tiger stripes can suddenly appear, but I secretly thought, maybe just maybe, I’ll be ok. Well ha! A massive, angry stretch mark appeared to the left of my belly button right on que! Then more appeared, seemingly over night, all on the lower part of my tummy. As the baby ‘dropped’ into position, I guess quite suddenly, the nasty stretch marks appeared.
My first reaction was to stare in the mirror in utter disbelief, thinking maybe it’s just a trouser seam mark! Maybe?! Of course it’s sodding not! I ignored the whole thing, carried on slathering on the cream, until 41 weeks when I couldn’t ignore it any longer! Then I had a little whine to my husband, who lied to my face (!) and told me there was nothing there! You know how men are, they don’t want to upset you, especially when you are a hormonal ball of turbulence, waiting to explode! It was sweet really, but it didn’t help!
If you got away without stretch marks (hate you!) I guess you can’t really understand. They are actually really traumatic. I know mine could be much worse, the full tiger stripe all over your tummy, legs (down to your knees) all over your bottom etc is actually very common. 80% of women have stretch marks – factoid!
I know I couldn’t have done more to avoid them! I constantly applied lotions and potions, and I kept relatively active during my pregnancy (maybe the way to avoid them completely is to be as still as possible?!). The trauma comes from thinking you are then permanently scared by these really unsightly marks. How can you ever feel attractive again with nasty stretch marks branding your tummy for life? In the grand scheme of things of course that’s a totally irrational feeling. We are women, our bodies are pretty darn amazing, please don’t tell me I’ve earned my stripes (cringe!), but my stretch marks tell the story of how I’ve carried around new life for almost ten months. Quite a heavy new life at that!
Ive come to accept the lines. They are not a badge of honour and I won’t be parading around in sexy underwear or a bikini anytime soon! I’m going to keep applying the cream, because I know they do fade. I may even try to tone up and get rid of the wobble on my treadmill soon. Maybe!