(*No post yesterday… I spent the better part of the afternoon/evening at the hospital trying to make Hermione stay put!)
Over the past 8½ months, you’ve heard me whine and complain about the enormous influx of unsolicited advice I’ve received about pregnancy and babies. Mostly, I’ve taken it with a grain of salt and a groan (probably because I’m the youngest sibling and I have this inherit need to roll my eyes at anyone trying to tell me what to do). But when the “U.A.” comes from certain people, I’ve actually listened to it and implemented it. There are some great women in my life (family, friends, co-workers) who have bestowed their wisdom upon me, and their insights/ideas were actually good!
One such gem was told to me by my friend Stacy.
Stacy and I are pretty similar: youngest daughter, once obsessed with Hanson (one of us still is), exercise pretty regularly, and eat as healthy as we can (although we will divulge at the Melting Pot whenever possible!). I’ve known the girl since 5th grade, gabbing about our obsession with Clueless and boy bands. She’s helped me through some big turning points in my life, and I feel like I’ve done the same for her. So, needless to say, if the chick recommends something to me, I’m going to listen.
She had a bouncing baby boy last May, so I always picked her brain while she was pregnant (this was in the height of my “Baby Fever” stage). When I got pregnant, I started asking her a bunch of things too. My questions mostly centered on my body.
I’ve always had body issues (what female doesn’t?) and one of my biggest fears (other than drowning) was to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy and have my body be completely torn up and never be able to be happy with the way I looked. (Some people call this vanity; I call it reality.)
The thing I feared the most was: stretch marks.
As a kid, I had a growth spurt right around the time I started junior high. And, with that growth spurt came stretch marks. These long, red/purple lines stretched from the top of my thighs to literally almost my knees. I was so insecure. And the question of: “What are those things?” from jerky middle school boys whenever I wore shorts did not help. (I hardly wore shorts in public throughout my entire 6th grade and almost all of my seventh grade year. I would wear jeans in the summertime and risk a heat stroke rather than have someone see my stretch marks.)
So when I got pregnant, I was seriously terrified of those freaking red lines. When I told Stacy about it, she told me about something a dermatologist friend of her’s recommended: almond oil.
I asked: “What about cocoa butter? Isn’t that supposed to work?”
Evidently, all cocoa butter really does is keep your skin moisturized; it doesn’t actually help the appearance of stretch marks…nor does it help make them go away.
So the day I saw the little plus sign on that EPT, Huff the Hubs and I set out to get almond oil. Literally since Day One, I have been slathering almond oil on my tummy and thighs (yes, other parts of your body grow during pregnancy besides your tummy).
Now, many moons later I can tell you: almond oil WORKS.
I have ZERO new stretch marks and my old stretch marks have faded significantly since I started using almond oil!
I know that almond oil alone can’t prevent stretch marks. I’ve been watching my fluid intake (i.e., drinking water like a camel) and also making sure that I don’t go crazy with my food choices (for every cupcake I eat, I’m sure to eat a veggie and a fruit) and my weight gain has been gradual. I won’t lie, I’ve also been praying about it too (I told you I was worried about this!).
Seeing as how I don’t have any stretch marks from the pregnancy and the ones from adolescence have faded, I will forever celebrate the goodness that is almond oil! I bought my first bottle (which, I’m actually still using!) at the Health Food Center. I bought a second bottle at Target because it was on clearance (half off, holla!).
(I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of “mommy-shaming” for this post. I.e.,: “You should be proud of those stretch marks” and “Those lines tell a story” and all that. That’s fine for you if that’s how you feel. But I don’t feel that way. At least not right now, anyway. Some women love being pregnant, others hate it. I’m somewhere in the middle. It was a difficult for me to go from working out 5-6 days a week and feeling pretty healthy and in shape, to getting winded from walking up ONE flight of stairs. Watching my waist line expand was tough too. I had battled weight issues for a while and seeing my body grow was exciting and yet devastating at the same time. And before you go all crazy on me, yes, I’m VERY excited to have this baby. Let me have my feelings.
Its not that I want to be able to wear crop tops [which I don’t wear anyway] or want to go around showing my belly all the time, a la ‘Tracy Jordan’ on 30 Rock. I just want to feel good about myself. And honestly, if working on eliminating stretch marks makes me feel good about myself, who are you to judge? Just like if you accept your stretch marks and like them, then I’m happy for you. More power to ya! I won’t judge or berate you for your choices, so extend the same to me, mmmkay?)