Before I get to the meat of this post, I’d just like to say that I am not using this forum to announce or admit anything spectacular. To be perfectly blunt, I am not pregnant. I do like some babies and there is an amazing new store in town that has the cutest baby and toddler clothes, but I am content to coo over my cousins babies for now and, in about 10 years, my brothers’ kids.
Every once in a while, a girl just wants to talk about her stretch marks. Ok, fine. I’m 32 and that hardly constitutes “girl” status, but “woman” means a certain section of the ladies clothing department that I’d rather not enter and I’m pretty sure that a “lady” would not talk about her stretch marks. So whatever I am, I’m in the mood to talk about my stretch marks.
You’ve been warned.
This post will not contain pictures. You will just have to take my word about the stretch marks. You’re welcome.
I was a normal sized young woman when I came down with the pregnancy bug. Then, we found out that there were two. Ok, it was done by in vitro fertilization and I insisted on both embryos being implanted, but the point is that I was newly pregnant with twins. I already had a few stretch marks on my hips from puberty, but I had no idea what was coming.
I remember asking my Mom when I was a teenager what the silver things on my hips were and she snickered and grimaced and then laughed outright before telling me that they were stretch marks and more would be in store for me when I had babies. The important point here is that I simply remember having a few silver marks come out on my hips as a teenager.
Fast forward to my pregnancy. I was about 7 weeks along when we figured out that there were definitely two fetuses in there. I had a little morning sickness, but nothing bad. I could fill out my tops like it was nobodies business. My belly started popping out and taking that distinctive pregnancy shape by the time I was 10 weeks pregnant.
I first noticed stretch marks (the medical term is silver striae, the lying bastards) whenI was about 16 weeks along. I may be a couple of weeks off here and there, but my pregnancy was 7 years ago, so bear with me. I showed the angry, red slashes along the underside of my quickly growing belly to Ed. He patted them and thanked me for having his babies. (We’d only been married about 5 years at the time. He gets kind of sappy and sweet sometimes.) According to my mother, I looked like I was about 5 months along when this happened, but I’m an ICU nurse and not an obstetrics nurse so I don’t know what 5 months along looks like, so we have to take my mother’s word for that. So there I was, 3 1/2 months pregnant and already getting stretch marks. They were vertical marks, an angry red color, and vaguely itchy. I’m not a lotioning kind of girl, so that wasn’t really in my daily ritual until I got stretch marks.
I started reading more of the baby books and pregnancy books trying to figure out what I would need to do. I looked at every jar and bottle of lotion at Target and Walmart. There were several lotions that claimed to be able to remove stretch marks. (Liars.) I tried all of the lotions. I applied them constantly. Then I’d go back to my usual ways and forget about it. During this time, we moved and then later I had to quit working earlier than I had anticipated due to pregnancy related issues. The one important thing that I did learn about the stretch marks was that lotion does make them itch less.
When you start getting stretch marks early in your pregnancy, they don’t stop growing. They climb up your belly as high as they want. They widen as your baby or babies grow. The skin of the stretch marks gets thinner and thinner as the stretch marks get wider and can truly hurt. If a stretch mark grows through a mole, the mole will stretch but not become discolored which actually looks kind of funny.
By the time my due date finally rolled around, I had stretch marks up to my eyeballs and down to my toes. They were angry and red. They hurt, but I hurt all over so I’m not really sure it was the stretch marks. They still itched. They were most definitely not silver.
Stretch marks take months to lighten. They go from bright red to pink and then finally, if you’re lucky, to silver. The skin permanently loses its elasticity. And you have a beautiful baby who does not care about your stretch marks so most of a new mom’s time is not spent agonizing over her new stretch marks.
And then 6 years later, you may have a kid with little or no tact (he takes after me) who asks you why your belly is so squishy. Then, he’ll grab a handful of your belly to illustrate his point.
I’ll be taking donations for my tummy tuck.