Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Learn to Love Those Stretch Marks

 by Niki Turner

When someone says "battle scars" or "battle wounds" my first thought is usually of spiritual warfare. And then I think about guys, and all their various scars, from wrestling with a big brother to a fistfight with an adversary. But there are some battle scars nearly all of us share: stretch marks.

Those reddish-purple tears in the dermis usually appear during adolescence or pregnancy, rapid weight gain or bodybuilding. Eventually they fade to a silvery-white color. I've never heard anyone say anything positive about them.

Guys will slap each other on the back after surgery or stitches and say, "chicks dig scars." Ever heard anyone say "dudes love stretch marks"? Me either.

How many romance novels depict the heroine running her fingers along the hero's wealth of scars and asking how he came by the wounds? However, I've never, ever, run across a hero 'oohing' and 'aahing' over the heroine's stretch marks.

In fact, I've never met a heroine with stretch marks. I've read about blind heroines, crippled heroines, widowed heroines, heroines who've been abused, heroines who've been in terrible accidents, heroines who've been to war. In all the lot, no stretch-marked heroines.

If seventy to ninety percent of women have some degree of stretch marks (my stretch marks have stretch marks, so I must be making up for the minority who escaped) why are we pretending they don't exist? Why are we ashamed of them?

A stretch mark is a sign of life, growth, and change. It's a testimony to the body's ability to accommodate new life, to grow and expand to meet the harsh demands of life in these "earth suits."

We can have spiritual and emotional stretch marks, too. When rapid and difficult changes enter our lives suddenly we must adapt in order to survive. We stretch, we tear a little, but we make it to the other side of the crisis.

Those internal, invisible stretch marks should serve as a reminder of the God who carried us through the storm. Every mark we took, He took upon Himself as well.

The resurrected Christ showed the disciples the scars that remained in his hands and feet, and the hole that was in His side. Jesus wasn't embarrassed by His scars. Rather, they were a receipt for the price He paid for all of us.

It's time for us to view our stretch marks - physical, emotional, spiritual - as reminders of the way we have expanded and developed to accommodate larger life. Could I learn to wear my stretch marks with pride instead of shame? I think it's worth a try. 

Photo credits: Wrinkled pepper via lydiat@Flickr ; Pregnancy stretch marks via everybody.co.nz
Cindy Crawford's stretch marks via momlogic.com ; Doubting Thomas and Christ by Caravaggio @wikimedia


  1. Wow, what a wonderful day-greeter. Really.

    Is it sinful to say I'm proud of my stretch marks? After all, they symbolize two precious human beings God has loaned me.

    Now about working on those internal stretch marks...get back at ya later!!

    Oh, how you blessed my morning!

  2. Hi Niki,

    Great post. Stretch marks. Aaack! I'm going to have a hard time wrapping my mind around loving them, but I guess when I think about what they mean...you're so right!

  3. Niki, leave it to be funny and spiritual. What a great follow up to yesterday.

    In the physical stretch mark area, now that I actually have only stretch marks, I'm okay with that, but for years after I had each of my boys, my stomach looked more like overstretched saggy panty hose. I considered that more of a wound than a scar ;) Glad to say it's somewhat normal again.


  4. I like to say, I've had twins and I have the stretch marks to prove it. Embrace your stretchmarks? I'll try. All kinds. Funny pics!

  5. Hey Niki,
    Great post! I'm one of the lucky ones. No stretch marks. But if I don't lose some of this belly flab I've developed they may show up soon. :)

  6. Niki, I love it. You are too funny and too right. Now I want to write in a heroine with stretch marks. I wonder if the spiritual stretch marks come along with spiritual growing pains?

  7. I checked this at work but did not try to explain to a co worker why I was looking at photos of unsightly bellies.

    One thing about stretch marks, when you get old enough... you don't see them because, well, your eyesight gets fuzzy and they sort of hide under the 'softness' of your abdomen.
    Not that I would know, but I've heard...

    I have a feeling my spiritual stretch marks are much more pronounced!
    Great post, Niki.
    (hey everyone, go over to Niki's own blog and check out her wedding photo, and some great truths about marriage)

  8. Another good post, Niki. Yup, I got stretch marks. Oodles of them on my tummy and boobs. And because of my weight they're paper thin. Weird.

    I have read a secular book where the heroine has stretch marks. She forgets about them when she's reunited with her first love who doesn't know he has a child. He discovers them during their love scene and realizes she has a child, however she doesn't give any info and he doesn't ask. That scene and the rest of the story is poignant. A tear jerker. Loved it.

    I used to be a mother's helper as a tween and I remember going to the beach with this mother and her 3 kids. She wore a bikini and it was the first time I'd ever seen stretch marks. (Never saw my mom naked, heh.) My first thought was why she wore a bikini when her tummy wasn't perfect. But as the years progressed and I grew wiser, I became ashamed of that thought of ignorance.

    Maybe if we showed our tummies more often to our sons and daughters they wouldn't see it as blemish but a beauty mark.

    Thanks for blessing us with your post, Niki.

  9. I put this up last night with fear and trembling, hoping it wouldn't freak everyone out! Glad it seems to have hit the mark (no pun intended).
    While searching for pictures, I was intrigued to find multiple websites with comments from MEN who said they find their wives' stretch marks beautiful. Interesting.

    Mary, I ran across some pics of moms of multiples with stretch marks. Wow. Two for the price of one doesn't equate when applied to the skin!

    Dina, after four babies (12 years later) my stomach STILL looks like partially melted parachute nylon.

    Deb, I've got some gnarly spiritual stretch marks, too. And they don't seem to want to fade out! And yes, my wedding picture is SO good for a giggle! Thanks for the shout-out.

    Anita, I'm thrilled SOMEONE out there has written stretch marks onto a heroine! And I completely agree, BEAUTY MARKS!!!

    Lisa, I thought the same thing! Let's go for it! A "Heroines with stretch marks" series. : )

    Patti, you've got such an awesome outlook on things, you're SO right! Makes me wonder how God views our scars...

    Suzie, I'm getting stretch marks on my brain trying to accept the ones on my gut! : )

    Jill, I'd say you've earned your share of maternal stretch marks in other ways, so enjoy that smooth skin!

    : )

  10. Niki, awesome post! Loved the pics too. My inner stretch marks are now much more valued, now that I've read this. Can't say I am in love with my outer stretch marks yet. Mine, oddly, are only on one side. Somebody must have hung out on my right more than my left..?

    Thanks for the joyful read today!

  11. Niki, great post! I love the spiritual analogy and I can't complain about the few stretch marks I have after seeing the belly photo in your post :-)

  12. Pretty nice blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

    Avril Benedict

  13. Pretty nice place you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

    Julia Hakkinen


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