“Clean”... That’s how 3 females described my tummy when they saw my maternity photos I posted on my Instagram page. When I look back on those photos, I understand what they’re talking about. My tummy was a bit big (I mean... I was 7 months pregnant) and there was not a hint of stretch marks or any blemishes on it (at the time).
Photo credit: Kyle Archibald (IG: @kylearchibaldphoto)
So why did I flinch when they used the term “clean” to describe it?? Well... if blemish-free skin means it’s clean, does it mean that tummies with stretch marks are... Dirty?? Now, I am extremely happy with this new self love movement that everyone seems to be embarking on, however, terms like “clean” tummies can still set us back some. “Clean” will have numerous pregnant women rushing to the nearest cosmetic store to buy cocoa butter creams and balms to religiously apply to their tummies to prevent any stretch marks or other pregnancy-related blemishes from appearing. I can personally attest to this since I was one of those persons asking my mom friends what to use to keep my tummy stretch mark free and rushing to my nearest cosmetic store to purchase the list of items they told me about... But let me tell you, no matter what you use, if those marks are to appear, they will appear no matter what you apply, smear, paste or rub.
About approximately a week after those shots were taken, baby girl did a front flip in my womb and lo and behold! I gained what I now call and am proud to show off, my Mama Stripes! Honestly, when I first saw those stretch marks appear on my lower tummy, I was a bit sad... and horrified! I looked in the mirror with disdain quite a few times. I loved the fact that I was a blemish-free mama! However, I soon came to the realization that these marks are a sign that I’ve carried life inside of me. They are a sign that I am a mother so now I wear them with pride and honor (hey that rhymed!).
I mean... look at the beauty!!
Here's the thing, pregnancy can affect women's skin differently. You can get stretch marks (in different shades too), dark marks, acne, your entire midsection can get dark. You can get all of the above or sometimes you get none at all.
So ladies, don't be daunted when you see changes in your skin as a result of having the opportunity to create, sustain and bring new life into this world. These changes are a sign that you are a mother. You've earned your stripes... literally! Every single one of them!