For the Love of Stretch Marks

Newsflash: Women get stretch marks. All kinds of women, of every shape and size. Even if they’ve never had babies. Hell, men get them too.

I feel the need to announce this because every time a “perfect” woman reveals hers, folks are incredibly surprised. As if they’ve never met a real live woman before.

The latest marvel is Chrissy Teigen, a model, TV host, food-lover and witty human being who happens to be married to John Legend. She is beautiful by any conventional standard and also hilariously sharp, the latter of which is why I follow her on Instagram, where she mixes foodgasm-worthy posts with a self-deprecating sense of humor. In that vein, she recently posted a photo of her inner thighs, proudly displaying bruises she got from bumping into kitchen drawer handles (while cooking) and… wait for it… stretch marks.

Bruises from bumping kitchen drawer handles for a week. Stretchies say hi!

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

You read that right. A stunning Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and wife of a famous singer is no more perfect than you or I. *cue internet implosion*

The flood of headlines that followed this post simultaneously depressed me and gave me hope. On the one hand, what is the big deal about a few stretch marks? This isn’t even her first post about them. On the other, maybe the (repeated) revelation that a model — who has never been overweight or had children — has them too will prove once and for all that the “perfection” we’re chasing is a figment of our collective imagination.

Then again, maybe not. We ladies have it rough. From the moment we start idolizing our first Disney princess, we’re being indoctrinated with a physical ideal that few (if any) will ever be able to attain. It gets even tougher after childbirth when our bodies (which probably weren’t that cooperative to begin with) actively begin working against us. Of course, the constant headlines about the latest celebrity to lose the baby weight five seconds after popping the kid out don’t help either. It’s only when the paparazzi gets mean or the celebrities themselves get brave that we get a sense of what a real woman looks like.

I, too, once felt the pressure to fit into those pre-baby skinny jeans. I looked at my new softer, rounder body and fretted about whether I’d ever get back to where I was. But, almost a year and a half later, I am too tired from chasing and comforting a toddler growing molars while building a career to drive myself nuts trying to change a body that has produced a human being into one that hasn’t. I made peace with my stretch marks long ago (Some of us go way back. To puberty.) and I am bemused by those who look at harried mothers and whisper about how we “let [ourselves] go”. I would, however, like to thank them for their concern and suggest that they channel it into something useful, like free babysitting or healthy home-cooked meals.

(image via dailymail.co.uk)
(image via dailymail.co.uk)

For those of you mommies out there who aren’t quite so comfortable with their own “stretchies” yet, I direct your attention to the #LoveYourLines movement happening on Instagram and Twitter. It’s a great reminder of what real womanhood looks like (ProTip: it looks like you and it’s beautiful).

As for me, I’m off to the beach with my baby girl… and yes, I’ll be wearing a two-piece swimsuit. 🙂

Have you come to terms with your stretchmarks? Tell us about it in the comments!

*****

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Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.

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