I would like to alternately title this post “Why I love my stretch marks” because I am about to post a picture on here which highlights my newly stretched belly skin and I am pretty darn excited about it.
The first time I saw a stretch mark forming on my belly, I called Mr. Moore into the room excitedly. I pointed at the tiny red mark just beside my belly button and said, “Do you see that?!? I think I’m getting a stretch mark!!” He looked at me quizzically and wondered, “Is that something that you’re supposed to be excited about?”
To me, it was. I guess there are two main factors which contributed to my hysterical excitement. First, from before I even had the beginnings of plans to think about maybe having a baby someday, I knew I was going to get stretch marks. My mom has them. My grandma has them. I figured they were inevitable… a part of the whole “being a woman” thing. Once I reached the point of actually thinking about and planning to be pregnant, I started reading every word ever written about the state of pregnancy. The topic of stretch marks, it turns out, comes up quite a bit in this type of writing. Women seem totally distraught over them. There are tons of creams and salves and miracle ointments marketed to pregnant or previously-pregnant women all with the purpose of preventing or curing stretch marks. But, time after time I read that, in reality… you’re either going to get them, or you’re not. No amount of cocoa butter is going to save you if you are predisposed to stretch marks, or if your skin… stretches enough.
So, if I was going to get them, I was going to get them. I decided not to waste any emotional effort on being distraught over something that was inevitable. The decision about whether or not I would get them had already been made for me, so I only had to choose to either hate them or celebrate them. I chose the latter.
Second, it took a long time for my body to change during this pregnancy. To the point that people continue to comment on how underdeveloped my belly seems for someone who is so far along and “wow, when I was 9 months pregnant I was HUGE, and you’re belly is so SMALL.” Except for my Grandma, who called me “fatty” yesterday and then said “It’s a compliment when you’re pregnant!!”
But, because it took so long to outwardly see what was happening inside of me, when I saw that first little red mark, I was thrilled. Because it was a physical change. It was proof of the child I was growing inside of me. Proof that my body was doing something simultaneously so ordinary and incredible. And. It would never go away. This little mark on my skin would stay with me forever. Like a tattoo.
I happen to like tattoos. (I have three) And now I have these marks on my skin that will be permanent reminders of the fact that I GREW A HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF ME.
I think that’s pretty amazing.
So, I’m pretty proud of my stretch marks. Just ask my mom and sister who have been subjected to me lifting my shirt to excitedly show them off on more than one occasion. (I have so far restrained myself from showing them off to non-family members… until now…)
This weekend, I not only excitedly showed them off, I had them decorated with an elaborate Henna tattoo.
Henna tattoos are traditionally done to celebrate joyous occasions. What could be more joyous than a new baby? When done to a pregnant woman’s belly, the henna designs are said to protect mother and baby during labor and delivery. Applying the design is also a way of celebrating the mother and her changing body.
Also, it looks hella beautiful.
The henna on my belly was done by my mom and sister with more than a little help from Mr. Moore himself, and I did my hand design myself. They (we) applied the henna paste to my body yesterday (which is what you see in the photos) and then applied medical tape to protect the paste from coming off after it dried.
I slept with my mummified hand and belly and this morning, when I removed the tape and paste, my skin underneath was stained from the henna. The design is a reddish brown and it should last 1-2 weeks.
Which is perfect, because that’s just about as long as I have left with this incredible belly of mine.
I am one week away from my official due date. And, only one more week beyond that is when my midwives will tell Baby Moore (if he/she is being stubborn) that it is time to get a move on…