I’ve had a few people ask me about stretch mark creams that I use. I have a lot of different things I use but I’m not really sure they make much of a difference? They just make me feel better mentally. Like, “Well, I tried!” My doctor (who I love) is adamant that you can’t prevent stretch marks. And once you get them, there isn’t a lot you can do. She says the best thing to do is to stay hydrated and drink a ton of water. And for some reason, this is really a struggle for me. Throughout the entire pregnancy! Because you already have to pee 100 times a day and the thought of drinking a lot more water just makes me cringe thinking about adding more bathroom trips to my day.
I mix it up but here are the products I use: Bio Oil, vitamin E lotion or oil, Cocoa Butter Formula, Cetaphil cream and coconut oil. I also take a prenatal vitamin, fish oil (for my joints), magnesium (for my migraines), iron supplement (I needed more iron throughout this pregnancy), vitamin D + E supplements that were recommended to me by my chiropractor to help prevent stretch marks. I don’t know that they help? But I figure it can’t hurt – right?
I am not completely stretch mark free. I got a couple last pregnancy because I swear my ta-tas grew SO much SO fast. And then I nursed for 11 months. What can you expect? But I was almost stretch mark free and was lucky that my skin went back to normal around my belly. They really did fad and were hard to see after my body went back to normal-ish. It’s a miracle to me what our bodies can do! And I’ve gotten a couple this time around, too. BOOO. But overall, I will call that luck! I know some women who have gained only 20 pounds during pregnancy and are covered in stretch marks and/or have tons of loose skin on their belly. Then other friends, who gained 60+ pounds during their pregnancy, they did not get ONE stretch mark. So, I think your body is just going to do what it does. But putting the oils and lotions on still made me feel better. And, of course, it also helps a ton when your skin gets itchy! I get sooo itchy when pregnant and eww… I hate it. I can FEEL my skin stretching and my body changing and it’s just so bizarre.
According to my doctor (and most things I’ve read) you’ll either get stretch marks, or you won’t. It has a lot to do with genetics. Trying these lotions and oils can’t hurt, but in the end it won’t even matter. Because you’ll have a perfect little baby that NO DOUBT was worth every single change your body has gone through.
Pregnancy is the weirdest thing because your body changes so much in such a short time. You don’t really notice the changes in the first trimester. So that means most of the changes and weight gain is done in only 6 months time and that’s not long! It’s so strange to have the same body for your entire adult life and then suddenly, bam! It’s changed. It’ll never be the same again. Obviously every mark, every pain, and every area of loose skin is SO worth it. Duh. But it doesn’t make the changes any easier.
And the pressure. I mean, come on. These celebrities are just not realistic. J.Lo. Just STOP IT! You’re making the rest of us look bad and husbands think it’s realistic and “normal” to look like THAT at 46… after having TWINS in your belly?!!? NO WAY!
Why is it that post-baby bods aren’t praised? You just created a HUMAN. I mean. A human. That’s awesome. But still, it’s like 6 months later you’re expected to be back in pre-pregnancy jeans and at the gym 7 days a week doing CrossFit so you can try to hide the fact that you ever had a baby living in your womb. It seems everyone has a goal to look sleek and smooth. As though they didn’t just spend a year of their life creating a baby in their belly. And in a lot of cases, another year breastfeeding that baby!
I am all for being healthy and living an active lifestyle, not only for myself, but also as an example to my kids. But I think there is a balance that no one is talking about. I really did NOT want to put pressure on myself to get “skinny” right after Ryder was born. If my options were to snuggle my sweet newborn in bed while nursing him in the mornings or trying to squeeze in a workout video while he sat in a swing with a bottle propped up to feed him, I ALWAYS chose the first option. I knew those days would fly by and as much as I wanted to lose the weight and feel like myself again, I just couldn’t pass up opportunities to snuggle and be with my baby. I imagine I’ll feel the same way after I have this baby girl. And then the thought of going to the gym at night RIGHT in the middle of dinner time when I wanted to be home with my family… I just couldn’t do it. Time with my family at this point was so important to me and I just wanted to focus on that. I have the rest of life to worry about my 6-pack (that I’ve never even had! So… Good luck, Stef ☺).
I did my best to take Ryder on long walks and to squeeze in a workout video or trip to the gym when I could. But sometimes taking a nap was what I needed. And I didn’t want to allow myself to feel guilty or “lazy” because I took a nap instead of doing a flipping workout DVD at home. I don’t think you can ever accuse new mothers of being lazy, can you? Just because they are in their PJs, haven’t made it to the gym or haven’t showered in daysssss does NOT mean they are lazy. This is something I don’t think you can explain or understand until you’ve experienced it yourself. It used to drive me CRAAAAAZY when friends who didn’t have little ones asked me, “So what do you do all day?!” And I can understand the question from an outsiders point of view. It seems simple enough. Feed the baby. The baby sleeps. Change a diaper here and there. But that is NOT the reality. And there is no way to even begin explain it to someone who isn’t in it. Moms out there, am I right?!
The idea that we are expected to look 16 when we are 30+ and have carried babies is just so unfair. And unrealistic. I try to stay focused on just doing the best I can. With eating, working out, getting enough rest, taking care of my babies, etc. It can be a challenge to find a balance. I hear Tony Horton’s voice in my head, “Do your best and forget the rest.” Because it’s so true. For me at least. Just do the best you can. All days won’t look the same and that’s ok! Some days I wake up early, get myself ready, eat my healthy smoothie, go on a long walk, do 4 loads of laundry, have dinner in the crockpot, have energy to take Ryder to the park and play with him on the floor for hours. Other days I can’t get myself out of bed, the house is a MESS, no clean clothes, no dinner is prepared, I ate brownies for breakfast because… they were there, I stay in my 3 nights-used PJs and Ryder doesn’t get any fresh air because I. Just. Can’t. I’m still trying to accept that this is the reality and trying to not be so hard on myself. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to love ourselves even in the moments that challenge us and we feel like we’re failing miserably.
I hope I can look at my soon-to-be post baby bod and love and appreciate every new mark and change there is, because my body was able to give me the gift of a perfect, healthy little girl. Who will bring me and my husband (and our family) MUCH greater joy than my body ever did! I love when I see fit moms at the pool rocking their bikini with their tons of stretch marks on display. YOU GO GIRL! (Yes, I just said that.) Why can’t our bodies be celebrated and loved instead of critiqued and compared?
Sending love to all my mommy friends out there! May we all love the skin we’re in and truly support and love each other in this magical, difficult, amazing and emotional time in our lives. Word.