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June 6, 2011

Caution: May Scare Small Children, Pets, or Supermodels

I have stretch marks. Lots and lots of stretch marks. I have so many that my belly now closely resembles the look of a cat scratching post or perhaps a piece of shredded carrion. In fact, if Hollywood casting executives were looking for someone to play the part of an undead pregnant zombie, my belly alone would score the role because IT IS THAT EPIC.

It started when I was twenty weeks pregnant with Nathaniel. The first little line appeared and, I'll admit, I groaned and complained bitterly to the hubs about it. But then it was suddenly joined by several hundred more and I forgot the way my stomach looked before it was marred by those ugly red marks.

Now, if you happen to be one of those people who can't help but to say that those beastly gashes are a mother's beauty marks, there's a little red X up in the corner just for you. Because the truth of the matter is that I miss the way that my body looked before I became a human incubator. Despite my best efforts at convincing myself otherwise, I hate those little red buggers passionately.

But with all of that said, I think the way that pregnancy is portrayed all around us is highly unfair. Not once have I seen a magazine publish a picture of what a REAL pregnancy looks like, one where the baby bump might be slightly uneven, the belly button has popped, or where GOD FORBID the mother has stretch marks.

So to rectify this issue, I'm sharing my belly with all of you today. It isn't pretty and it certainly won't ever make the cover of Vogue magazine. And prior to clicking, please clear the room of any small children, pets, or supermodels. CONSIDER YOURSELVES WARNED.

Click image above see full belly.


  1. I think you and your belly look pretty awesome - and I am not trying to be all 'empowering, you go, girl' - I think honest to goodness awesome.

  2. Thanks- hopefully baring my belly to the whole of the Interwebs will do some good!

  3. I have the same feelings about my stretch marks. I had some before I even got pregnant, but they definitely made room for themselves with each pregnancy. I assumed I wouldn't wear a bikini again, after pregancy, anyway so that has helped ease some of my suffering. Still a little hard to get used to. Thanks for sharing yours with us so we don't feel so alone! ; )

  4. Hi Alyssa - I'm finally leaving a comment after enjoying your blog for over a month now. Your mama told me about it and I love your writing and sense of humor! I am 53, and my stretch marks have faded to a lovely, shimmering "elfin" silver have much to look forward to. I always think of stretch marks the same way I do wrinkles - stretch marks remind me that my deepest joys (my children) made their mark, and wrinkles are evidence that I have smiled or laughed at least a million times. I think it's too bad our whacked out culture wants us to disdain those kinds of trophies. God bless you and your sweet family - I will keep reading!

  5. Thanks Julie! And Verna, I have to say that I really wish I'd had your perspective going into my first pregnancy! I assumed that (with a lot of work and dedication) that I would be able to get my pre-pregnancy body back after delivery, so I was totally unprepared for the idea that IT WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME. Sure, I was able to lose the baby weight and get some of the muscle tone back, but I wish I would've realized that there was more to it than that so I would've enjoyed my pre-pregnancy body while I had it!

  6. You go girl! I try and remind myself that my stretch marks are a sign of bringing my three babies into the world - but every once in a while I catch a glimpse of my stretch marked behind in the mirror and I think: can't the kids just be the reminder? Good for you for showing folks what a real mom's belly looks like!

  7. I love it! I think you should send this into a magazine. Really, all of those magazine women give us such faulty expectations.

    I was one of those fortunate women who didn't get stretch marks, but I have endured numerous not so glamorous pregnancy side-effects.

    Among my favorites, I get a vast network of bright blue veins on my chest during pregnancy. Now, after breastfeeding, my chest has shrunk down is about a third of the size it started out to be! I'm afraid if I have one more it might disappear!

    The things we do for our children!

  8. Wow! That's you? That's a beautiful picture. I thought it was from a magazine or it was professionally done. Have you heard of The Shape of a Mother? You should check it out. :)