Stretched Skin After Pregnancy

Tummy

Today, for the 13th day of my 30 Days of Blogging Challenge (click here to read more about that challenge), I am going to post about something that makes me feel really vulnerable to share, but I feel like it is important to talk about.  I'm going to talk about, and share photos of, my stretched skin after two pregnancies.

Blogging Challenge
I get asked questions about stretched skin a lot.  The truth is, most moms come out of pregnancy with a baby they are absolutely in love with, but also some "mommy wounds" like stretched skin, stretch marks on their bodies, wider hips, or a saggier chest.  I carried two 10-lb babies, and gained around 60lbs with each pregnancy.  In our family we have big babies, and even though I was very conscious this pregnancy to eat healthy and exercise, I still gained a lot of weight.  With my first pregnancy I had big purple stretch marks that eventually faded to clear over time.  In person, you can see the clear marks but they aren't as noticeable in photos.  With my second pregnancy, for some reason, I had a lot more stretch marks than with my first pregnancy but they showed up clear instead of purple.

I want to share this picture with you to point out two things.  1) One photograph doesn't always show the whole picture.  If you saw just the pictures on the left you might think I didn't have any stretched skin from my pregnancies.  The reality is, when I stand straight and wear pants that aren't too tight in the waist you can't really notice any stretched skin.  But, when I bend over or if I am wearing pants that don't fit great you can really notice it (click on photo to zoom).  2) Not everyone gets stretched skin after pregnancies, but most people do, and it is very normal.  Even if you are fit and in good shape, you can still be left with some extra skin and if you do, don't feel bad about yourself! This is very normal and something so many women get after pregnancy.

Tummy
The point I want to try to get across in this post is that we all have things with our bodies that are out of our control.  This could be things like: stretched skin, stretch marks, short legs, long legs, short torso, long torso, a big nose, a small nose, wide hips, small hips, no butt, big butt, small chest, large chest, etc etc etc.  The reality is, all of us have some part of our body that we probably wish we could change, and unless you want to have surgery, those things really aren't going to change.  Instead of focusing on those areas and hating them, I want to encourage you to learn to embrace that part of yourself.  Don't focus on the areas you can't change.  I can't change the fact that I carried two 10-lb babies and had a huge stomach while I was pregnant.  I can't change the fact that I got stretch marks and stretched skin during my pregnancies.  But you know what I can change?  The way I look at my own body and talk to myself.  You know what I tell myself? Forget about that stretched skin.  It's a part of you.  Instead, focus on what you can change.  Focus on building beautifully sculpted arms, or work on rounding up your tush.  Those are areas that I can change by lifting weights and focusing on a sound diet.  For me, when I focus on the areas that I can change, instead of hating on or being discouraged by the areas I can't change, I start to feel so much more proud of myself, and that self-talk becomes a lot more loving.

I am still just five months post partum right now, and so with time that stretched skin may tighten up a little bit.  I remember with my first son it took about a year for that loose skin to tighten back up, but it still never really went totally back to my pre-baby skin.  But, I know with each pregnancy it can get worse, and I am at the point now that even if it doesn't get any better I am ok with it.  I carried two beautiful, healthy babies in that tummy and if a little stretched skin is the price I pay for getting to love on my munchkins every day I am ok with it.
baby
Lastly, please keep any comments to this post respectful, I realize that a photo of loose skin might not be something everyone wants to see.  But I have always tried to be as transparent and honest as possible in my blogs and FB posts, and I feel like if I only posted photos like the ones on the left (above), I wouldn't really be doing a very good job of being entirely transparent.

Photo courtesy of www.artsndreams.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of www.artsndreams.blogspot.com

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog.  I appreciate each of you!  I will 'see' you guys tomorrow in my next blogging challenge post!

Your Friend,
Natalie

25 Comments

  1. You can totally fix that loose skin! I have as a fit mom I know exactly what your talking about and I have found the wraps that tighten tone and firm so i don’t have to worry about it anymore. Yes I still have stretch marks but they are greatly reduced and my skin is not loose anymore! By the way you look FANTASTIC for 2 children!!! Your awesome!

    Reply
    • Hi Sam….can you please tell me how we can fix the loose skin…it’s just hanging and ughh I don’t like it…Please let me know what can be used…thanks!

      Reply
  2. Great job Natalie! We see so many pictures in magazines and tv that show us these “perfect” bodies and unreal expectations of what every woman should look like. I too love helping women love the bodies they are given and appreciate what they have! You are doing an excellent job of that!

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  3. You are such a beautiful person inside and out! I really respect your honesty and how you are so real about everything! A lot of women in the fitness industry only show what they want others to see, giving a false impression and making other women feel something may be wrong with them! Nobody is perfect and I think that is what makes each of us beautiful and unique in our own ways ! 🙂

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    • Torie thank you so much! One of my goals with this pregnancy was to try to document the changes that are normal for me and my body after pregnancy. I appreciate you visiting my site and commenting! 🙂
      -Natalie

      Reply
  4. Love your posts and your honesty Natalie! This is really refreshing to see and read, and I’m going to be mindful of this if I ever have a baby. In such a media driven society, we’re looking at pictures of celebrities everyday that have just “bounced back” from pregnancy like it was magic- we need to be reminded that we still have to work (some of us harder than others) and that our bodies go through some major changes!! Love that you keep it real girl!

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    • Thank you Melissa!! <3

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  5. What an amazing example to set for your kids! I am a first time mom and although I remained very active throughout my pregnancy and watched my diet, I am not bouncing back as fast as I had hoped. Thank you for the motivation!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this!! I am 5 months post partum myself and feeling really bad about my stretched extra skin.. if you wouldn’t have said so I would have never even known you have stretch marks and loose skin! It doesn’t even look like it.. So thank you for making me not feel so alone!! I think you are beautiful and maybe I need to think that about myself a little more.

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  7. I love reading your posts! You have a lot of courage, and I admire that. I have 2 kids myself. I am 5″3 and gained over 35pounds with each..That’s alot for such a small frame. I have always hated my stretch marks that I got, but you make a great point on focusing on the things I can change! 🙂

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  8. It’s so nice to read “embrace it!” I’ve been telling people to embrace their tiger stripes for a while now, ever since I’ve learned to embrace mine. I used to think I’d get a tummy tuck when I was done having babies, but I’ve changed my mindset. My old college roommates started Beauty Redefined, and it has changed me! I have a much healthier way of looking at things now. Their site is beautyredefined.net if you’re interested!

    There was a really good article about post baby bodies, and I’ll find it and come back and post it.

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  9. I just posted it, but I’m not seeing it show up. I’ll try again. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23276432

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  10. Thank you. Thank you so much. For promoting positive self talk about areas of our bodies we think aren’t “good enough”. Something I’ve been working on.

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  11. I just want to say thank you for being so open and honest. You are inspiring to me. You make me realize that I can reach my goals and it helps that you don’t have the perfect body that you are like most of us moms out there. Thanks I really appreciate your honestly and your blog.

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    • Thanks Kendra!!

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  12. I love this blog! And i love how honest and ”transparent” you are. I think it is SO important for people who have had children or not, to see that no one is PERFECT. Air brushing in magazines should be ILLEGAL! Young girls need to see that women have stretch marks,cellulite,saggy boobs,flat butts,etc and still be beautiful. I have two children (4 and 1),and this last pregnancy took a toll on my body. I have never been super fit by any means but have always had a flat tummy(and big natural boobs). Now,I have a flat tummy with a little extra skin(and deflated boobs,since I BF my daughter). Does my husband mind it? No way! Yes it is important to eat right and stay healthy with exercise,but unfortunately,age will catch up with ALL of us someday. So if its not now,it’ll be in our 50’s,60s,70s,80s. Being happy,healthy and loving yourself is key. We all need to embrace what we were given and be thankful we have arms for hugging and legs for walking. 😉

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  13. I have 4 boys our youngest is 17 months. I have struggled with accepting my new body I have found myself loathing all the flaws. Thank You SO much for being open and honest that takes a lot of courage. You have made me start thinking about the positive and to be grateful for my wonderful ,healthy, strong boys I have brought into this world!

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  14. You are inspirational girl! I just had my third baby 12 weeks ago and I am also documenting my journey back to fit–pictures of loose skin, 20 extra pounds {that don’t budge while nursing} and all! I love to see other fitness professionals out there keeping it real :))) and I might add–you look amazing!!

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  15. Natalie, I appreciate and enjoy reading these raw and honest posts. I especially like your attitude toward your body and your babies. Right now my husband and I are ttc and so I have had to cut down on the intensity of my workouts (new goals!!) which stinks mentally at times, but I know it is what my body needs right now. (Evidently I am one of those that wont find out she is pregnant while training for anything. Apparently my body likes rest?)
    I am doing my best to focus my energy on staying healthy and keeping my nutrition on point. Sure, I have probably lost muscle mass over the past couple of months and my jeans are a little more filled out, but other than that I haven’t balooned up like I thought I would. Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to mommyhood (hopefully) and beyond! 🙂

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  16. Thank you for this post. As a mother of three this has given me inspiration to keep working hard and not worry about my stretched skin. You look fabulous .

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  17. I am a mother of 3 and have been really working hard to get fit. It is hard not to get depressed about my stretched skin. I have been to consultations that say it will only get worse. This post has inspired me to not give up and focus more on the other other areas of my body. Thank so much for this.

    Reply
  18. I don’t recall how I wound up on your blog today but thanks for posting the pictures. I just had my 4th and went from 115 up to 185, which is normal for me. I lose it but not the raisin belly. It’s nice to know other people experience that, and also the phenomenon of eating healthy and still packing it on during the pregnancy. Those big guys just need a lot of fat storage on Mom so we don’t waste away to nothing in those first few months!

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  19. Thank you for sharing. Do you have a skin care tip or routine that you feel has helped? Or do you feel it’s purely genetics. Also, do you have this problem anywhere else? I feel like my thighs have lost skin elasticity and I hoping extreme moisturizing will help. But that may just be wishful thinking.

    Reply

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