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.
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.
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.
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.
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!