Monday, August 27, 2012

My Swirly, Striped Belly

I have the grossest red stretch marks on my belly.

They swirl in this trippy design from the bottom of my belly upwards, and now they have reached my belly button and have swirled around that also.

My belly looks very much like one of those red-and-white after-dinner mints with the stripes.

Only, somehow, not nearly as appetizing.  :-(

Research says that 50% of pregnant women get them.  Girls who expand quickly and largely are most prone.  I guess that's me.

True, you can criticize me for not applying preventative lotions, creams, salves, or oils.  I am definitely guilty as charged.

But it was conscious choice.  I can't stand the feeling of those items on my skin.  Lotions and creams make me feel cold and clammy while salves and oils make me feel hot and slick.  No thank you!

However, these weren't my main aversions.  The main reason why I skipped out on these topical devices is a gut feeling that I have as a mother.  And, when you become a mother, sometimes you just have to trust the instincts God gave you.

Call me paranoid, but I didn't want any recurring ingredients to seep into my skin so close to baby's location.  Whether those ingredients be chemicals or be completely natural, I wanted nothing of the sort.  I'd much rather endure the cosmetic mishap of stretch marks than put my baby at any risk for developing allergies in the future.

If you don't believe me, consider this:  Just a decade ago, mothers learned that the oils they were lovingly putting on their newborns contained natural ingredients that seemed to spawn allergic reactions.  The infamous and ever-growing peanut allergy is chief among them.  Yes, some of the data out there is inconclusive, but people are suspicious.

So instead I endured the weird, stretchy feeling of my skin expanding before my eyes.  Sometimes I swear I could hear it stretching.  Sometimes I had to look down to confirm that my skin wasn't ripping open!  Ouchy!

I guess this is a lesson in humility.  My body will never be the same after pregnancy, and that is OK.  In fact, all the signs of aging (like wrinkles, widening hips, stretch marks, gray hairs, and cellulose) are a sign that I have lived life...that I have made memories with my body...that I have eaten well, laughed hard, borne life, and loved fully.  These are souvenirs of a life well-lived!