Saturday, October 22, 2011

it's a stretch [WARNING: contains belly]

I haven’t really mentioned anything like this on my blog but I really feel like writing about it now. It's just something I've been working on for the last couple years that seems to have gotten a little harder lately as my body changes, but some days it's really easy for me to get really down about my appearance. I know everyone has those days or deals with/conquers issues like that to some extent but there are times when it seems like I'm not making any progress, times when I’ve had a complete meltdown because I just couldn’t get myself to look “good” that day. It’s something I’ve had to work on, learning to not let things like that affect me negatively, learning to react more patient and godly, learning that there are people suffering terrible things and my ingratitude is monumental when I act like can’t possibly feel joy in life because instead I’m allowing myself to be bothered by my frizzy hair or my acne or my less favorite curves in my body. It's not a new concept, we’ve heard of people who really struggled with self esteem before and rose above it, since I started blogging I've been inspired by many strong people/women/mothers who had a lack of confidence in their appearance like I do in mine and learned to gain confidence and love what God has given them. I know all this by now, I know what I should be doing and I’m working on it working on it. I've been much better than I used to be. Craig used to be so frustrated when I would completely ignore him telling me how beautiful he thought I just say horrible things about myself, the person he loved, and just list all the reasons why no one else thought so or why someone else was so much better than me. I know it’s irrational. I know there's a higher path. It’s gotten better, I promise, I’ve been learning and I hope I’ve improved. I've been able to feel more beautiful and treasured even when on the outside things weren't really going my way. It's a much better feeling and I've loved it.

But still…this is hard. Really hard. This is going to take some more getting used to.

I’ve had stretch marks since i was a pre-teen. My skin must just not be very healthy or elastic because it couldn’t even take the strain of going from a scrawny little kid to a normal sized teen. I’ve never gained a lot of weight all at once and I’ve never lost a lot of weight all at once but looking at the network of fine, white lines branching out all across my legs and thighs you’d think I went from 90 pounds to 120 pounds in a matter of weeks, not over the course of a decade. Even more recently, since I’ve been married I’ve gained/lost/found/lost/gained again a lovely little muffin top, sometimes very muffiny, sometimes not, depending on the day and how forgiving my pants are. But even that extra little stretch left nasty red marks up and down my sides. So I should be used to stretch marks, right? I guess I just really appreciated that my tummy and chest didn’t have them yet, and although I knew this was coming, I still wasn’t ready. Unless you’re one of those really lucky, elastic rubber band people your stomach doesn’t really stretch to the size of a small human being without leaving a few marks. It’s normal, it’s natural, it happens.

So why is this so devastating to me all the sudden?

Craig found them Friday morning. I woke up and came out of the bedroom, stretched, and they peaked out, and he saw them. I couldn’t see them, there was a big huge belly in the way, they were hiding right underneath where they were completely invisible to me. He was so excited, he pointed and exclaimed and smiled and maybe even giggled? And I ran to the mirror and thought “WHYYYYYY MEEEEEEEEEE??!!” Because, Shilah, you’re having a baby, that’s why! And you’re going to have many more babies and many more stretches and tears and breaks and who knows what else yet. You knew this was coming, why are you so surprised. I dunno, other Shilah who is kind of mean right now, maybe I just hoped I’d get extra lucky and that it wouldn’t happen to me.

I’m only nineteen, you know. I’ve been kinda of banking on this funny little hope I have that even though I accelerated into adulthood a while ago MAYBE my body hadn’t fully matured yet, and I was still going to transform just a little bit and MAYBE my hottest years were yet to come, you know, where maybe I’d look like a woman instead of a chubby teen who gets carded for pg-13 movies if I’m not wearing eye liner [don’t tell my daughter I watch pg-13 movies. She is NEVER watching a pg-13 movie.] I think I’m suddenly wondering/fearing if I’m going to skip that imagined, sexy womanhood phase and go straight into some frumpy heck designed special for me where I forever look like some shapeless morph between a teenager and a grandma in training. I KNOW appearances don’t matter nearly as much as we pretend they do, but I still haven’t progressed to the point where I’m not guilty of feeling happier and more confident when I think I look good and bothered and hindered when I think I don’t. I still care about what other people might think of me and how pretty I am. I care what other people think a lot, WAY too much, I’m talking STRANGERS here. It’s one of those things I have to get over. But I haven’t gotten over yet. So for now, this is hard.

The upside is that I can see my mistake as soon as I make it, which I hope is a step toward progression. What I mean is even as I stare in the mirror at my new permanent marks and start to pout I KNOW I shouldn’t be, and that’s a step towards stopping. I know that these aren’t shameful marks. I didn’t get them by making poor choices. I’ve been eating healthy, I take care of myself and I know my body is a temple and I don’t do things that would destroy it. But I still deserve this because I DID make a choice that caused this to happen, that’s making my body change, and that was the positive choice to have a baby and to start a family with my sweet and loving husband. My body is housing and sustaining precious life. It’s doing EXACTLY what it was made and meant to do. Looking hot and thin and stretch-markless would be nice, but it’s not what I was MEANT to do. I was meant to be a mother. And I know that as much as I may want to I should not hate or resent my body for whatever flaws it sustains in these next few years as our family grows. I should respect it and be grateful for its ability to bring my children into this world. Stretch marks and all.

I need to write about this now and get it all out so I don't forget it later when things get funkier. If it's up here for all to see then I'll have something to look back on and take confidence in when I lose my mind in a couple months, cause you bet I know the worst is yet to come. I know how I should be feeling and what my outlook should be and I don’t want to forget it. Yes, this is a hard thing for me right this moment, but I know it doesn’t have to be and hopefully I can continue to remind myself to stop being disappointed with myself for not looking as what I think is up to par and to keep being grateful that I have a body that can do this as well as it does. That alone is such a blessing. This isn’t anything to sneer at. So, hey down there stretch, marks, what’s up? You can’t really ruin my life. Wanna know why? I don’t wear bikinis anyway. So carry on.

Also, when’s this baby going to get here? She owes me cuddles.

p.s. is kinda gross. But you gotta admit I'm super brave right now. Don't worry, I won't torture you with close up belly shots when the horrors reeeeeally start accumulating right towards the end...or WILL I? Muahaha, my blog, my rules. Just don't say I didn't warn you ;]


  1. i think you and i need to have a serious "even though we havent met officially we share an incredible bond through this entry" chat.
    there are a LOT of feelings i have, that i dont tell many people about this whole thing...and i think we need to be happy slash complainy slash happy slash complainy slash mostly happy because we love our bodies even if we dont always love our bodies lol. if that made sense.

    seriously. lets make this happen. it will be on my mind all the live long day until we do.

  2. Oh, Shilah. I'm so glad you wrote this down. Doesn't it help to write stuff like this down? And psst, I have stretch marks on my legs from teenagerhood.

    You are super brave. Even though our bodies are wonderful, sometimes they do weird and even gross things. But we need to love them anyway. And you do an awesome job of that.


  3. Look at this:

    Makes me smile!


tell me a secret