The Snap Back Was Not Real.
by Yanna Lowe
One of my top priorities, when I became pregnant with my first son, was preventing stretch marks. I wanted to snap back to my old self. I would rub cocoa butter on my stomach in the morning, coconut oil in the afternoon and organic olive oil at night. Obsessive right? Every morning I would exfoliate my stomach with an exfoliating cloth, and a moisturizing body wash in the shower to keep my skin fresh. I was determined to have little to no (new) stretch marks due to pregnancy.
I made it all the way to 38 weeks stretch mark free. Even then the ones that I did receive were small and barely noticeable. I felt that all my time and energy put in was worth it, I was so wrong. There are a lot of factors that play into your body during your pregnancy journey.
When I first became pregnant with my son, I was 128lbs, and I gained 60lbs during my pregnancy. (I know right!) My son came out 9lbs 1oz. We were both on the bigger scale, to say the least. My baby was born healthy, and to me, that's all that mattered at the time.
A few weeks after I had my son I lost 50lbs quick, I guess you can blame some of it on the new mom diet. With me gaining so much weight and losing it all instantly. My skin formed stretch marks, and I had some loose skin around my belly button area. I thought my body was HORRIBLE.
Stretch marks form from rapid weight gain and or weight loss. Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis. Dermis: The lower or inner layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin. The dermis contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, and glands that produce sweat, which helps regulate body temperature, and sebum, an oily substance that helps keep the skin from drying out (medicinenet.com)
Fast forward to now. About nine months after I had my first son I began to accept my body the way that it was. I had gained 60lbs, had a 9lbs baby, and I was only 128lbs standing five feet four inches tall. Did I really expect myself to leave that pregnancy with no battle scars? I was nuts!
With my second pregnancy, I weighed 148lbs pre-pregnancy, I gained 30lbs, and my son was 7lbs 2oz at birth. I still exfoliated my stomach and applied ONLY cocoa butter every morning this time around. However, I was not concerned about any stretch marks forming with this pregnancy. If they came welcome! If not, awesome! (I am currently 6 months postpartum and started working out so I will update you all with pics on a later date.)
What I learned the first time around was that you could not prevent stretch marks. There isn't a cream, gel or magic potion that will stop you from getting them. However, you can prep your skin for all the stretching that is about to come. (exfoliate, lotions/creams)
How to prep your skin
Drink A LOT of water. Water helps hydrate your skin!
Exfoliate your belly 3 times a week in the shower. You can purchase a cloth like this one.
Apply natural and or organic butter, creams or lotions such as Organic Coconut oil, cocoa butter lotion/cream, Organic Olive Oil, Skin butter ( you can purchase some organic homemade skin butter from our June Mompreneur, Paula) Be careful of other creams that could contain harmful chemicasl. Consult your OBGYN if you have any concerns.
Go for walks. Exercising will help you heal and snap back a lot quicker. (Consult with your doctor before working out)
I believe that those things listed above will help you reduce the appearance of stretch marks but not prevent them. They will also help during your postpartum healing.
Adjusting to your "new" body is hard for most moms. I would be lying to you if I said I didn't miss my flaw free stomach sometimes. However, I am okay with what I look like now as well. It took some time to learn to love, but I'm here!
If you find yourself struggling to love your body after pregnancy know that you are not alone, as mothers we sacrifice so much to bring children into this world it is truly a gift. There are plenty of pages on Facebook, and Instagram geared towards loving your flaws. I will highly suggest checking them out. Two of my favorites are #LoveYourLines on Instagram and Love Your Lines on Facebook.