No, it’s not a shame. (Steph)

Shame. This word is so strongly associated with a woman’s body image. We feel shame for being shapely, scarred, and stretched. Exposing a belly that is not toned, not tanned, and not tiny is a bold and incredible thing to do. It exposes the lie we tell ourselves: that a part of us is unacceptable or unwanted. During my second pregnancy, my midwife caught site of my appendectomy scar on my belly and the large stretch mark coming from it. “That’s a shame” she said. Actually, ma’am, no it’s not, thank you very much. Pride. I feel pride for that appendectomy scar because I lived to tell the tale, proud of that huge stretch mark because that was from my daughter, and proud for all of the other marks because that tells the story of my son. As I was taking pictures of my belly, I began to feel transformed and sexy. I saw my belly and I wanted my belly. It no longer feels like a dirty secret to me. What a joyful thing to feel! Thank you to all of the women sharing a part of themselves here. Our belly’s deserve some credit and it’s about time we give ’em a break! They’ve been through enough.

11 thoughts on “No, it’s not a shame. (Steph)

  • Friday, May 11, 2007 at 11:34 am

    That was beautiful! And so are you!!! No, it’s not a shame, it’s a miracle… every mark is the mark of a miracle!

  • Friday, May 11, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    i know how you feel. when i went to the hospital to be induced(for pre-e), i was swolen from head to toe(even my stomach) and i had a this huge rash on my stomach. the triage nurse that was putting monitors on my stomach said ‘oh honey, no one ever told you about vitamin e oil, did they?!’

    i just thought to myself, yeah, like i could prevent this. there was no way i was going to escape pregnancy without any stretchmarks. i’m predisposed to them, my bio-father had them everywhere and so do i.

    i think you look fantastic!

  • Friday, May 11, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Same thing happened to me as well. I was told my son was choking on the cord was in the middle of being prepped for an emercency c-section and the nurse blurts out ” I have never seen so many stretch marks.” Unfortunately I let that eat away at me.

    They should really teach these nurses and doctors manners. You would think they have seen it all and should know how to act in front of a soon-to-be mother.

  • Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 8:37 am

    What a touching post. Yes, nurses can be utterly without tact. I helicoptered to the hospital in pre-term labor at 27 wks and the nurse felt the need to point out a red mark on my belly, “Oh, looks like you have your first stretchmark!” Turned out she was wrong, I ended up with none!

  • Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    This was my favorite post ever! You are amazing…

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    No medical person ever said anything about my stretchmarks. But a saleswoman at a beauty supply shop recommended a coconut oil cream for *preventing* them, because I was hugely pregnant. I quite reasonably replied “The tendency to develop stretch marks has nothing to do with cream and everything to do with heredity.” Thank God I’ve got stretch marks (on top of stretch marks!) in my DNA.

  • Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Thank you for the comments. Taking that picture of my belly, as simple as an act it was, awakened something in me. I looked at myself and felt only love. Such an unlikely emotion to have for ones body, I thought!! I am your regular woman, fussing about looks and weight. But such joy, and a sense of power, swelled in my heart. I CAN love myself, despite what everyone ‘out there’ says. And so can you! Really, it’s truly amazing that we keep this right — this god-given right– from ourselves. I am through punishing myself for being truly unique and beautiful. and all it took was this wonderful site, you beautiful women. I have such respect for you all.

  • Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Love your post, thank you.

  • Monday, June 18, 2007 at 4:16 am

    That was a great post, good for you!!! :)

  • Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Wow, such great insight! Thank you!

  • Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    This is very similar to “The Vagina Monologues.” (I mean that as a compliment).

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