The Ultimate Stretch

During pregnancy, the changes a woman’s body encounters are virtually insurmountable. Oftentimes, we are left feeling less like ourselves and it is especially when we look in the mirror that we discover that our post-partum appearances are not quite to the standard of pre-pregnancy. Our body has just endured–literally–the ultimate stretch.

One of the most common worries pregnant women have is the appearance of stretch marks. It is said that some people just have “that type of skin” and will end up with stretch marks and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Well, I beg to differ; Keeping the skin healthy and moisturized seems to be the key. Looking at the women in my family, on my mother’s side at least, it would seem that I was DESTINED to have stretch marks on my belly. After all, my mother had them, my aunts had them and essentially there would be nothing that I could do to prevent them or even lessen the appearance of them.

I had already concluded that it’d be a daunting task to fight the inevitable. So, in my desperate and possibly even vain attempt to thwart the appearance of these unsightly scars, I did a little research. It was not long into my search before I was inundated– coming across all types of creams, ointments, butters and salves with the manufacturers claiming to be the end all that be all for stretch marks.

I was two seconds away from purchasing a number of creams at the same time and becoming a product junkie when I thought to myself: “What did they use back in the day when none of these products EVER existed? Is there a better approach and possibly even a SIMPLER one?”

The answer is yes, yes and yes. Pure, simple and not so expensive: Olive oil. I rubbed my belly up with the oil from this delicious fruit almost obsessively. I used extra virgin olive oil (purchased from my local grocery store) interchangeably with pure unrefined shea butter (purchased from Butters-N-Bars) on a regular basis (that being a few times everyday).

Olive oil is packed with antioxidants including vitamin E helping the skin to maintain it’s radiance and more importantly, maintain it’s elasticity. Also, rich in antioxidants, proteins and minerals is shea butter. I chose pure and unrefined shea butter because I wanted it unfettered and undiluted. Shea butter at it’s best (read: pure/unrefined) actually restores and improves the skin’s elasticity. It also relieved the awful itch of my skin being stretched beyond proportion.

The end (5 months post-partum) result: A few faint stretch marks in the hip area but NONE on my belly. Had I known my hips were going to be affected, I would have used the olive oil and shea butter there as well. But now is the time to put the shea butter to the test again; will the shea butter fade these few squiggly lines on my hips? Only time will tell.