Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Let's Talk About Stretch Marks

I'm currently running a scientific experiment on my husband. He's been a semi-willing participant, complaining louder on some nights more than others. He has a hard time saying no to me these days (he totally let me lie on the couch like a lazy bum while he went grocery shopping on Monday because I was complaining that it was too cold to go outside), mostly because he thinks my "bump" is so darn adorable. I think this is funny because my "bump" is still barely more than a pooch. In fact, since I've only gained about seven pounds, I think I'm right on track for my normal winter weight gain. I've just stopped sucking in my stomach all the time. Either way, I'm totally taking advantage of his vulnerability and using him as a guinea pig in this experiment.

Let's back up. I'm vain enough to admit that I don't really want to get stretch marks. I mean, I think that's pretty normal, right? If I had a preference, it would be to keep my belly looking the way it currently does. But we pretty much always hear pregnancy = stretch marks. EXCEPT for all those advertisers and makers of expensive creams and lotions that promise use of their product = no stretch marks. So, I figured I should get some lotion.

But then I started reading some pregnancy books. Okay...I'll admit, my step mother-in-law gave me three books on pregnancy/babies. My clinic gave me two. I've read a combined total of maybe six chapters between two of them. To be honest, I gave up when they started talking all about rare complications and diseases. Like, am I supposed to actually memorize this stuff? Let's be real, if I get a rare complication or it turns out my baby does have some disease, I will do a ton of research then. I doubt I'll remember a short paragraph about the obscure complication anyway.

Back to the point, both books mentioned stretch marks. And both said that they are almost entirely genetic. There is no cream, lotion, potion, or anything else you can put on the skin itself to prevent stretch marks from happening. Basically, if your mom got stretch marks, you'll get stretch marks. Well. Okay. But what about what all those fancy creams promised!?

AND what about all the real-life stories from my own friends? Of course, they vary. One friend used Lotion A every night before bed and got no stretch marks. Her mom had stretch marks. Another friend used Lotion A five times a day and still got stretch marks. Her mom did not have stretch marks. I mean, what the heck?

Here's the thing. My mom doesn't have stretch marks (that I know of), and as of this moment, neither do I. I bought a cheap cream (some Palmer's Cocoa Butter that's like $4 at Walmart) mostly because my skin was starting to itch and I had to start putting some sort of lotion on it at night before I clawed through my belly button.

But I still wondered, is this doing anything? 

I do have some faint white ones on my boobs because in fourth grade I literally went from could get away without wearing a shirt in public to needs something with an underwire pretty much overnight. Yeah. Being nine and having a B cup? Not awesome. I doubled up sports bras for the next three to four years until the boys stopped making fun of me. But the white lines were pretty faint.

I started dating Bobby when he was a freshman in high school. He was pretty average, around 5'6" or 5'7" with a pretty normal build for a guy that height. Since his parents were divorced and his dad lived in very, very northern Minnesota, Bobby would spend the summer at his dad's. So he went away for three months between his freshman and sophomore years and came back over 6' tall. He grew five-six inches in only a few months. As you can imagine, there were some consequences. His skin definitely stretched, resulting in some pretty dark purple stretch marks on his hips, legs, and lower back.

You can probably see where this is going. I convinced him to let me put my lotion on him every night before bed, just to see if it really did anything. It's okay; it's FOR SCIENCE. Now I kinda wish I would have taken before pictures or measurements or something to put on my tri-fold science fair board, but for right now, I'm just going by what I can remember. Since he's starting to hate it more and more, I told him we'll keep doing it until Christmas (about two months total). If they don't look any different by then, I'll quit and decide the only thing the lotion was good for was to keep my skin from itching (which thankfully it has, that alone has made it worth it).

So...what are your thoughts/experience with stretch marks? What did you use to keep them away? Or did you not care? Is it all genetic and this is totally a waste of time? Is it totally unethical to use your husband as part of a scientific experiment?


  1. I know this is not the popular consensus among the pregnant after infertility group, but it is how I feel. I love my girls to the moon and back. I do not love my sagging stomach or the stretch marks. I don't look at them as my " tiger stripes". Hopefully next year I have saved enough money to have a tummy tuck and as far as the stretch marks, guess that is something I deal with.

  2. Although I have no experience with pregnancy stretch marks I already have some just from being heavier in high school then losing weight after that. I feel like I would try the lotion thing til it got on my nerves maybe? I agree with Tonisha though, if I needed a tummy tuck or something like that after pregnancy and could afford it I'd totally do that too!

  3. I agree with T. I am not a fan of my saggy, overhang stomach or stretch marks. If somebody else wants to be proud of theirs, that's fine, but that doesn't mean I personally enjoy the changes in my body. (also please note that I wouldn't trade them back either, as I am insanely in love with the CAUSE of those things) I didn't actually get ANY stretch marks until my last week of pregnancy when I gained 26 lbs in fluid, and that was with twins. I might have gotten off scott free and no stretch marks if I hadn't gotten pre-e, but who knows, maybe I would have gotten them anyway. I wish you the best of luck with your "science experiment!" Bobby is a trooper, and I love that he is letting you do this :)

  4. I have no idea if my mom or sister got stretch marks or I have to ask! I am less worried about the marks than I am (like T and Amber) the saggy belly that will be left behind. It was always my trouble zone to start with, and I am very scared about how much worse it will be! Not that I'd trade my pregnancy for a flatter stomach...just, you know, would be nice if I could have both!

  5. I think that all of that extra moisturizing would "in theory" be a plausible way of preventing stretch marks. After all, dry skin is more likely to wrinkle and age, and so on. However, I thought I was going to be all consistent with using oil on my belly, and I just wasn't. I bought the Belly lavender belly oil, which smelled AMAZING, but then broke the glass bottle all over my floor. Fail! Then, I ended up using a bottle of natural almond oil stuff a friend gave me to fry my legs out in the sun instead of using it on my bump, because I was too lazy to go buy tanning oil. lol

    Anyhoo, I didn't get a single stretch mark, despite barely ever rubbing any oil on the bump. I honestly do think it's more genetic than anything. I don't remember ever seeing any stretch marks on my mom, and I'm not prone to them either apparently. You might be surprised how fast your body bounces back after delivering too. Not everyone is doomed to walk around with stretch marks and a pooch for the rest of their life after pregnancy...esp if you're very active before, which I think you are.