Up until about a month and a half ago, I had no pregnancy related stretch marks. Then I noticed two teeny ones and before I knew it, there were dozens of them reaching up my ever growing belly. I'm no stranger to stretch marks by any means, but it was shocking to see them pop up in a time frame that felt like over night. I lost a lot of weight at the beginning of my pregnancy and that combined with the fact that I haven't been cursed with breakouts that often come with growing a baby inside you, I have felt pretty attractive for the last nine months. Something about growing a human being inside your body and feeling them move and knowing your body is doing what it was designed to do just put things in perspective for me. I've never felt so beautiful or less concerned with the way my body looks. It's more about being in absolute awe of what's happening and less about worrying how I appear to other people. That being said and having set up a photo shoot, I started to wonder why I never see stretch marks in maternity photos. I have been in love with milk bath photos for a while now and really wanted to have some done. Our awesome photographer figured out how to do them and had me come over for a mini session. She messaged me a few days later to ask if I wanted my stretch marks left as is, lightened, or removed. I was sort of tempted to have them edited but I just felt like I needed to leave them alone. I was a little afraid they'd be the focal point, but made my decision. They've since gotten a lot more prominent, but I don't care. I can't say with complete confidence that I'll "love" them postpartum. But I am proud of them. They are proof that I am carrying a life. They're proof of all the little kicks and stretches and hiccups I've felt. They're proof that I endured sickness and heartburn and exhaustion and rib pain all for my baby. They're proof of love. Who decided that things like stretch marks and cellulite are ugly? Who decided that only perfectly smooth skin is beautiful? If there weren't so many absurd social standards that came from who knows where and if the media and photoshop weren't constantly encouraging these standards, would we really just look at stretch marks and say "those are ugly"? I'm so happy and blessed that I am able to bring life into the world and I wouldn't trade that for the smoothest and most beautiful skin imaginable.
I recently found a few quotes that I loved and thought I'd share them.
"For every woman unhappy with her postpartum marks, is another who wishes she had them"
"In the end, I want my heart to be covered in stretch marks" - Andrea Gibson
"How can you ever say anything negative about your body after you have felt the dancing of life from inside your womb?"
"A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups, one for every dream you dreamed inside me. It isn't very pretty anymore. Some may even say it's ugly. That's ok. It was your home. It was where I grew to love you, where I laid my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that I will always find something beautiful in it."
Just wanted share some photos that I love that also show the fact that I'm not perfect, I've gotten stretch marks during this beautiful journey and I'm not ashamed of them. Life is too short to worry about things that shouldn't matter to the world as much as they do. AND we have (hopefully) less than three weeks to go until we get to meet our little man! I absolutely cannot wait.
Photos by: Jessica Landrum at Landrum Studios Photography