Let’s face it, stretch marks are pretty nasty. They don’t bother you when they’re on someone else’s body, because that’s just who they are and how they look, and you’re fine with that.
But when it comes to looking at your own body, it’s a bit harder to accept.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew what bearing a child would bring: Joy, happiness, immense amounts of love.
I also knew that it would bring sleepless nights, lots of poo and sick, and many, many stretch marks, and I was prepared.
At first, I found it hard to come to terms with my new (maybe old?) body, which had been battered by pregnancy and child birth; so much so, that I found it hard to look at my bare belly.
I decided to look for motivational articles to help me come around to the idea of having, what some people call, a ‘Mum bod’.
You won’t believe how much I hate that expression. I know, we can’t all look like supermodels and not all of us have photoshop to make ourselves look awesome in photos, but it just sounds like a way of saying: “Yeah, I look this crap because I’ve had a baby. I call it my mum bod.”
It’s just another way of trying to make people think differently about themselves, and I understand that it helps some people. But it doesn’t help me in the slightest.
People have even gone so far as to change Disney princesses, drawing them sporting a lovely round tummy with a slight sag to it.
Thanks. Makes me feel much better.
I found many people online saying: “Love your stripes! You’ve earned them! Be proud of them. They show how amazing your body is and how you brought a prescious little life into this world.”
And yes, they’re right. It was pretty awesome what my body did. But I couldn’t find it in myself to love it.
I read so many articles, that I found myself feeling more down in the dumps about it than I had before. Why didn’t I love my stripes? Should I love them?
In the end, I started feeling guilty for not loving my stripes, and found the articles more damaging than helpful. Because it wasn’t just me who I wanted to love my stripes, I wanted everyone to love and accept them.
And even though I knew deep down nobody would really bat an eyelid, there was still a part of me that knew I never would – and probably won’t for a very long time – be comfortable in a bikini, because I don’t think I would look good enough, and I’d fear people would be looking, judging.
In the end, I decided the best thing to do was exercise and give my body time. Apparently, you should give yourself nine months to heal properly, and I’m now on my seventh month.
I’ve been running, horse riding and pole dancing. My jelly belly has reduced in size, but hasn’t completely gone. And I’m getting there – I have my curves back, and I’m feeling much better about myself.
But, I do think people go about things the wrong way, sometimes.
If you’re unhappy about something, then change it! I think it’s better to help people to do something about it, rather than saying: “Ah, never mind. You’ll just have to learn to love yourself.”
But what if you can’t? What if the only way you’ll learn to love your body is if you change it? I’m not saying if you don’t like your nose or your chin then have plastic surgery, but if it’s to do with weight loss, hair colour, your style or image, then find who you are and become that person.
I have no idea whether or not the damage caused to your body is reversable or not, but I’m certainly going to try.
Wish me luck!