Love them or hate them, stretch marks are a normal part of (most) mothers' lives. Still, I tried desperately to avoid them. I bought lotions and cocoa butter and every overpriced, usually useless beauty product in the hopes my belly would remain mark-free. Honestly, though, what's the big deal? Why is there such a market for preventing or getting rid of stretch marks? What if we changed the entire narrative and started saying the things no one is saying about postpartum stretch marks? Turns out, there's only one way to find out: by actually saying the things we should have always been saying about our stripes.
In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my pregnancy (and not to mention, my money) worrying about stretch marks. Genetics tends to dictate whether you’re going to get stretch marks or not, and my mom has a few so I should have known there was no way to avoid them. Still, I slathered up my giant belly at the start of every day and the end of every night, using big sticks of cocoa butter and vitamin E oil. Guess what? I got them anyway.
Now I couldn’t care less about those little marks around my belly. In fact, I already had stretch marks by my hips prior to going through pregnancy anyway, so there was honestly nothing for me to be afraid of. So “mama stripes” talk aside, I think we do need to rethink how we talk about stretch marks. I mean, imagine if we said some of the following, and how these statement would change how we might feel about the lasting marks of motherhood on our bodies.