Monday, March 31, 2014

Stretchmarks

     Stretchmarks are the bane of every woman's existence, especially when it comes to pregnancy. I noticed my first stretchmarks somewhere in my teens, much to my chagrin. Lucky for me, they weren't highly visible, though it did not stop me from being ashamed of them. Fast forward a handful of years, and I'm a new mom with even more stretchmarks, also sort of a shock, as I could not see them at all when pregnant. You would think I would not have been that surprised to see them, considering I already had them elsewhere, but I had naively thought that perhaps I would fall into that category of women who do not get them as a result of pregnancy. Silly me. I was rather pleased when they faded from red to silvery, much less noticeable that way. So I was on the look out for them with pregnancy #2, and not to my surprise, but still to my disappointment, there were new ones. All of that consternation was really quite ridiculous, considering I have long been of the opinion that scars are cool, and what are stretchmarks but scars from where the inside of a person grew faster than the outside? 

     Yes. Stretchmarks are only scars which result from skin not growing with the rest of the body. Therefore, anyone can have them, and I'm betting most people do. (Clothes do an amazing job at hiding flaws.) Fat people who used to be skinny, skinny people who used to be fat, skinny people who never used to be fat, guys who build muscle too quick (language warning), everyone most likely has some. Hence, I have come to the realization that they really aren't anything to be ashamed of, and I'm not going to let mine bother me anymore. For what it's worth, I don't see them as anything to be particularly proud of, either; sure, I guess some are my "battle scars" from pregnancy, but as I don't see that as a particularly huge or spectacular feat, there's no reason for me to be proud of them. It is what it is. *shrug* No more, and no less. Little tangent here - pregnancy and lactation are about as natural and normal as eating, hence you won't see me with any "I make babies/milk, what's your superpower" paraphernalia.  

     So, I guess the basic gist is, stretchmarks shouldn't be something to be ashamed of, but neither do you have to feel like a loser because you aren't over the top proud of them either. I know it's hard when we are told to "Love your body"; in a world where extremes are touted as the best ideals, it is difficult to be comfortable with ourselves when we obviously don't meet those ideals, or even worse, when we have no desire to meet them. And I want to say that it is okay to live in the mean; Aristotle and Thomas would say it was preferable to do so. Thus, don't despise your "flaws", but know that it is perfectly alright to not be in love with them either.