I Love My Body So That My Daughter Will Learn to Love Hers.

A few months back, I had a conversation with my daughter about stretch marks. She had walked into my bedroom as I was changing. She noticed my stretch marks and she asked me about them. How did I get them? Did they hurt? I’ve been terribly ashamed of my stretch marks. I’ve written more than once about the hatred I have towards them. But I wasn’t going to tell my daughter that. What if she gets stretch marks? Do I want her to feel the way I do? Absolutely not.

I explained the marks to her. I told her they were called stretch marks. I told her I got them when I was pregnant with my children. I told her that I loved them. “These stretch marks remind me of when you and your brothers were in my belly. They remind me of how happy I was to have a little baby in my tummy. Every time I see them, I think of my little babies.”
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This afternoon, my daughter sat down next to me on the sofa as I worked on the laptop. She lifted up the bottom of my shirt and looked at my belly.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Just looking at the marks on your belly.” She looked up at me and smiled. “You love those marks, don’t you mommy? “Because they remind you of your little babies and how much you love us?”

She does not look at my stretch marks with disgust. She does not find them to be ugly. She views them as a symbol of my love for her and for her brothers. Where I see ugly stretch marks, my daughter sees the beauty of a mother’s love.

I can only hope that through the example that I am trying to set, my daughter will be as kind to herself and her changing body as she grows. I know that as she moves through life, she will develop insecurities along the way. But I will be here for her to help her through those difficult times. And I will do everything in my power to teach her to embrace her perceived imperfections. Because I never want my daughter to feel shame about who she is, or the body that her beautiful spirit lives in.

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30 thoughts on “I Love My Body So That My Daughter Will Learn to Love Hers.

  1. Christina

    I have loved my stretch marks and wear them proud! Mabye because it is one of the things I have left from my son’s pregnancy since I don’t have him anymore. After my boy I proceeded to have 5 girls. The twins did my tummy in, after being a sincle Mom since early in the twins pregnancy it was when I met someone else that I felt different about the strech marks. To my amazement he loves them as they are a amrk of my motherhood!

  2. annettek

    I love this. It makes me feel better about my stretch marks too. Although, I’m not sure having had a baby can explain the ones other than on my belly. :)

  3. jen

    this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. i’m six months pregnant with my first child and terrified of getting stretch marks on my belly. it has consumed so many hours of thought and filled them with fear. this post took that fear away. i never thought of them that way. thank you.

  4. laura

    I am so proud of you. As a mother of 3, severe stretch marks and a 3yr old who is starting to ask questions, this is such a good way to handle that. I dont’ ever want her to feel abut her body the way that I feel abotu mine. Thank you.

  5. Stacey

    It’s all in your perspective. I have so many stretch marks that the pregnancy ones did not even phase me. I had them from “blossoming” way sooner than any of my high school friends. (I literally went from a training bra/A to a C almost overnight). I got them when I had gastric bypass and lost 140 lbs. in a year. I got them when I had my child. I got more when they had to do my hysterectomy open because of scar tissue FROM my C section.
    My husband is literally COVERED in scars. He almost died in 2003 in a car vs. bicycle head on collision (he was in the bike and was totally doing everything correctly/safely). He had surgeries to save his life and later multiple reconstructive surgeries to try and regain some of the complete paralysis on his left arm. (He still has almost no use on that side, but to say the least it is the least of our worries.)
    So if you look at the two of us, yes, we have strech marks and TONS of scars. But if you know what they represent (attempts to save BOTH of our lives and also to bring new life into the world), they are battle scars we would not give up for ANYTHING.

  6. Michelle

    I’m not overly fond my my stretched out belly skin or stretch marks but I keep telling myself that they are my badge of motherhood and that only the most special of us get them. I’m hoping that if I keep telling myself positive things about them one day soon I’ll believe me. I hope you’ll believe you too!!

  7. DogsDontPurr

    My sister and I both have stretch marks in various areas. Early on, we realized that they are just an unavoidable thing. She is tall and rail thin…always has been. Her stretch marks are from tall growth spurts. I’m short and have been heavy off and on, yet my stretch marks are on the thinner parts of my body.
    So, my sister and I never fretted over them. They’re just part of growing/living.
    I’m so glad that you are teaching your daughter the way you are. I wish that when my generation was growing up that we had been able to have more of that “positive self image” vibe that is coming about now. We still have a long way to go, but major kudos to you for bring your daughter up with this kind of love.

  8. Margie K

    I was just going to mention — but Stacey beat me to it — that stretch marks come not only from pregnancy but from any time the body grows faster than the skin’s ability to keep up. Many young women get them during puberty, for example.
    I also wanted to mention — and maybe you’ve heard of this already, but it bears repeating — that while there are lots of expensive creams and lotions purported to get rid of stretch marks, most are worthless. What DOES work, though, is dry skin brushing. It also helps tighten saggy skin that comes with weight loss, and makes the skin feel so soft. Plus it’s practically free! A natural bristle brush is less than $10 and (assuming you brush daily) only needs replacing every 6-12 months.
    Good on you for telling your daughter something positive about stretch marks. Love that you could think up such a lovely response on the spot. I’m not so good at that.

  9. Allyson

    This is stellar. I “hate” mine too, but this puts it all into perspective. That is one sweet little girl.

  10. Michele

    Awesome post and what a great conversation to have with your daughter and for her to have as a memory! Well done.

  11. Rachael

    Even if you don’t always feel comfortable with your body, you are doing such an amazing thing by teaching your daughter these lessons!

  12. Christine

    You are such a wonderful mother to your daughter. Mine is 2 and we’re only just starting to navigate the difficult girl stuff. I don’t want to mess it up; boys seem so much simpler, somehow.

  13. marjorie

    Your post reflects exactly what Shape of a Mother is all about. If you haven’t checked it out, go over and have a look. We women need to see our post-baby bodies as beautiful because we’ve created and carried a life inside. And our daughters need to know that we love our bodies. You are doing a great job with Gabby. She will grow up loving her body because of your example.

  14. Krissy @ Mommy Misc

    My daughter asked the same question about my stretch marks. I told her the same thing; that they remind me of the happy time when I was pregnant with her and that we should love them! I actually joke with her and told her that her artistic talent started when she was in my belly. :) Even though I really do hate them and they make me self conscious, I feel the same way… I want my daughter to love her body and not hate it. That’s why I tell her that I am dieting to become healthier, not because I hate myself. I try to be a positive voice in her life!
    Mommy Misc…

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