I’m gonna put it out there: as unlikely as I thought it would be, I actually LIKE my stretch marks. They’re a statement of my baby’s growth. They’re sort of a nice shade of pink. And they make it look like I got into a scratch fight with a wolverine in the name of motherhood. It wasn’t an easy road to feeling this way, which is precisely why I feel like I should share the experience.
They appeared, like a thief in the night, around seven months of pregnancy. Pride had goneth before my downfall as I lifted up my shirt one sunny morning to show my baby belly to Kip, my husband, and Heather, a friend visiting from out of town.
“Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?” I asked, proud of what appeared to be a basketball sitting in the middle of my otherwise petite figure. “My belly button’s having an epic battle to stay an innie, which is adorable, and I don’t even have stretch…marks….”
My voice faded away as I caught my reflection in the living room mirror and saw them: two clumps of angry red columns on the underside of my otherwise adorable baby bump, cutting through the cuteness like lightning in a night sky.
It was the end of the world.
Sure, I knew the statistical probability was that I’d get them, but I loved the idea of sticking it to the proverbial man and making it through pregnancy stretch-mark free. Kip met me in the bathroom as I brushed my teeth in a fit of self pity after The Discovery. “It’s not the end of the world,” he said, leaning against the doorframe, “It’s a good thing, it means that our baby is growing! Besides, they don’t look that bad.”
“I know,” I mumbled through a mouth of minty foam, “I was just so excited that I made it so long and I thought I’d make it through without them. Just give me a day to feel bad for myself and then I’ll get over it.”
“I’ll give you an hour.”
I spit out my toothpaste. “Deal.”
And for the rest of the hour, I moped. I pouted. I lamented my pre-baby, stretch mark-less physique and thought of the appearance of stretch marks as a mere stepping stone to rib-high waistbands, unfashionably short haircuts and driving a periwinkle minivan with a “Baby on Board!” sign in the window. But when the clock struck noon, I sighed and moved on with my life.
An hour became a day, a day became a week, and soon a month had passed. My baby has grown, my stretch marks haven’t, and I realized today, when I caught them in a reflection and thought, “Cool”, that I’d made my peace with them. They’re something to remind me of this time when it’s just me and my baby.
Plus, they’ll make great bar talk fodder: the next time some guy brags about the scar he got in a motorcycle accident, I’ll casually mention how I have scars that I got from radically giving up my body to continue our species. There’s no way that can’t win, right?