You made it through the first trimester. The woes of early pregnancy have started to subside. You’re sailing through your second trimester, looking and feeling great, with the final weeks of your pregnancy rapidly approaching. And then it happens…pinkish, purplish, reddish streaks start to appear and darken across your growing stomach. The inevitable stretch marks, that you thought you’d been lucky enough to avoid, have appeared.
As your pregnancy continues, you focus your attention on staying healthy and looking forward to delivering your beautiful baby. That day finally comes and you are elated, forgetting entirely about the irreparable damage that your body has incurred. Then, as you settle into life as a new mom, you realize that you have been left with saggy, creased, red-marked skin covering the area where your little one used to reside.
While you know this is certainly not the worst thing that could happen; the sight of this skin bothers you nonetheless. Though they may fade in time, you know that your stretch marks are here to stay and, short of surgery, there’s nothing you can do about it. So, since they were part of your journey to obtaining your little bundle of joy, you learn to love them.
Well, okay, maybe not. Love is a strong word and personally, I don’t think this will ever be the exclusive adjective I would use to describe my feelings towards my stretch marks. That said, from the physical to more abstract concepts, here are seven solid reasons to embrace those tell-tale lines of pregnancy.
9 Motivation to Exercise
7 Your stretch marks can be a great source of motivation to exercise. Although exercise will not impact the stretch marks themselves in any way, it can influence how you feel about yourself and your appearance. Since exercising, generally, enhances weight loss and builds muscle, this alone could make you more accepting, of your overall appearance.
Actually, even if none of these changes have occurred, studies have found that people tend to view themselves as thinner and more attractive when they exercise.
Regardless of aesthetics, exercising can help decrease your preoccupations with body image. Specifically, once you engage in a regular exercise program, you should notice increases in physical strength and the ability to complete daily tasks more easily. The improvements in your capabilities tend to minimize the importance of your looks, which makes accepting your bodily “imperfections” easier, stretch marks included.
Basically, if your stretch marks bother you, turn them into a reason to prevail and look your best in spite of them.
6 Healthier Skin
While our stretch marks themselves may be damaged skin, incapable of being repaired, the rest of our skin will benefit from misguided attempts to treat them. So, at least there’s that. We can all rest assured that the time spent on stretch mark “cures” is doing great things for our skin overall.
For instance, although all those lotions you have been smearing on to prevent or eliminate your stretch marks may not live up to their claims, they are still great for moisturizing your skin. Pretty much any product that supposedly treats stretch marks in some way won’t work for its intended purpose, but will leave the rest of your skin silky smooth.
Your skin will never have been cared for this much before
Exfoliation is another stretch mark treatment that will have little to no effect on your stretch marks. Similar to lotions, the layers of skin that are influenced by exfoliation are much closer to the surface than the origin of your stretch marks, which is what needs to be targeted to eliminate them. Once again, your stretch marks will persist while any skin imperfections in the more superficial layers of skin are buffed away.
5 Better Hydration Levels
Who else has heard that drinking water may improve the look of stretch marks? Unproven and unsupported by any scientific research, this will have little, if any effect on your stretch marks. Bearing this in mind, like the items in the previous point, there is no harm in trying to show up every medical professional ever. Short of achieving water intoxication, which is highly unlikely, drinking extra water to combat your stretch marks is great…for the rest of your body.
While we all hold onto hope that we will miraculously destroy all evidence of our stretch marks by drinking gallons of water a day, we can claim it’s actually for all the other benefits of maintaining adequate hydration levels. For instance, the appearance of your skin, as a whole, will improve, since an increase in fluid intake reduces dryness.
Not to mention that water will rid you body of toxins
Among the many other positive repercussions of drinking plenty of water is feeling more energetic. When hydrated, your body is able to perform tasks more effectively and efficiently. This decrease in unnecessary movements is responsible for your perceived increase in energy. In reality, energy is being conserved for later use. This is a definite plus for any mom chasing after her little one.
Not only that, brain function improves. Thinking more clearly and being able to concentrate more easily are majorly important. Particularly when your child does everything possible to limit the amount of sleep you receive on any given night, sapping large portions of your brain power. This could help you return to the functioning levels of the average adult, as opposed to the sleep-deprived zombie you truly are.
4 Reminder to Sun Safely
Since a stretch mark ultimately becomes like scar tissue, your stretch marks won’t tan well, but they will burn. So, to avoid looking like a red-striped zebra, or you know, skin damage, you should make sure to use sun screen. Although some of us may not want to accept it, excessive, unprotected sun exposure can be detrimental to our health, so this may be for the best.
Years from now, you will thank your stretch marks for reminding you to protect yourself from the sun. They have helped you prevent skin cancer and wrinkles. Seriously though, anything that helps you remember to apply sunscreen is doing you a favor.
Sunscreen is your friend
Plus, if you are looking to disguise your stretch marks, sunless tanning agents are ideal. With this tanning method, your stretch marks will respond, allowing them to darken and blend in better. So, in an effort to conceal and protect your stretch marks in the warmer weather, you have also protected the rest of your skin from the sun’s damaging rays…and still have a killer tan!
3 Physical Evidence and Bragging Rights
Pregnancy and child birth are legitimately hard work. Stretch marks are your proof of that. It’s hard to deny the struggle you’ve been through when there is a road map running across your stomach, boasting the proportions that it was stretched to, and shrunk back from, over the course of the child-bearing process.
Basically, you have some serious bragging rights here. Those of us with stretch marks are lucky enough to have the physical proof of what we endured to have our children.
Other than a physical exam, it wouldn't be apparent that you've had a baby
Plus, moms tend to compete over everything child-related. So, in this case, the bigger your stretch marks are, the more kudos you get.
2 Lesson in Patience
As a new mom, you can bet you’re going to need patience…lots and lots of patience. Dealing with your stretch marks is like a training ground for motherhood. They test you, like any child, refusing to alter their behavior, regardless of how nicely, or not so nicely, you ask. Yes, your stretch marks are exactly like a defiant toddler, preschooler, teenager, or any child at any age when you catch them at the wrong time.
Acknowledging this similarity, you can use it to your advantage. As you would a stubborn child, you realize that you can’t force them to change their behavior, but you can alter your own reaction to it. Generally, ignoring the child’s obnoxious behavior will encourage them to stop, which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.
Patience is a virtue for a reason
Shockingly, the same technique works, to some extent, with your stretch marks. The less you attention you pay to them, the less bothersome they are to you. Plus, if you don’t allow yourself to be consumed by their presence, it will feel like less time has passed at the point at which they finally start to fade. In the coming years, you can credit your stretch marks with your ability to remain Zen-like as your child works hard to get on your last nerve.
1 They’re from Your Child
The final reason to love your stretch marks is, of course, your child. During pregnancy, you are literally everything to your unborn child, essentially like one.
Once they are born, the physical bond is instantly broken and they become increasingly independent as time passes. Not to get too sappy, but this is like your last physical connection to your child.
Your children are a treasure, so treasure your stretch marks too
Just remember, you might have been able to escape the clutches of stretch marks had you not been pregnant, but then you wouldn’t have your kid either. And age takes its toll on skin anyway, so you might as well have an adorable little one to show for it.