I am lucky to live in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Summer time in San Diego is full of beautiful sunny days spent at the beach. As a family of four, it is one of our most favorite activities to do in the summer. Before my husband and I had kids, I would throw my bikini on, pack our one tiny bag with a towel, water bottle and a book and spend the whole day soaking in the sun. I remember thinking that when I get pregnant someday, I will still wear my bikini and show off my beautiful belly. Well that was not exactly how it happened when I actually became pregnant. I gained an easy 50 pounds, no matter what I did. I was in good shape prior to pregnancy and continued my active exercise program during pregnancy but my body wanted and needed to gain 50 pounds and that is what happened. Of course, I was happy to do it because I wanted to give my baby and my body whatever it seemed to need.
Of course, all I could think about was avoiding stretch marks. My mother had them and they say 9 out of 10 women get stretch marks and they are often genetic. Some women are missing the elastin in their skin, which makes it less stretchy. Now this is great for as you get older because your skin is tighter which makes you look younger (my mom looks younger then her age) but it is not a blessing when it comes to pregnancy. I was determined to not get stretch marks. Rubbing oil, cream etc. on my belly everyday but around 7 months pregnant, I looked in the mirror and saw the tiniest stretch mark and from that point on, they just keep growing. There was nothing I could do but embrace the beauty of my baby growing and my body doing what it needed to make that happen. I will admit that 7 years later, it is still a challenge at times to accept my stretch marks but that is just me being ridiculous and feeding into societies crazy body image expectations. Yes, I may choose not to wear a bikini anymore but I love my vintage style one piece. Instead of focusing on the fact that I cannot change my stretch marks, I choose to focus on feeling good in my body and taking care of myself. And most importantly, I remember that those stretch marks are a daily remember of the two amazing children I get to share my life with each and every day. So watch out San Diego, maybe next summer I will be rocking that two piece and showing off my beautiful stretch marks.
Photo provided by jadebeall.com