The other day while getting out of the shower, I was confronted with another new change to my pregnant body … my very first stretch mark. With my first baby, I somehow was able to bypass these lines signaling a lack of elasticity (tell me about feeling as if things can’t get any larger). I remember reading genetics play the primary role in whether or not women develop these red and purple lines. My mother never had them, so I thought I would follow suit for all my pregnancies. Low and behold, I am not a unicorn in this way, and I have the streaks to prove it.
At first I was a little upset. No one wants stretch marks. I obviously hope they disappear after birth (my due date has now passed). I was confused as to why they had to show up at 39 weeks. I felt that was just too late in the game, and I had done as much as possible to keep my body in tact for labor, delivery and recovery. I called my husband into the bathroom to show him, lifting up my stomach to shine light on the flaw. He wasn’t phased, but I personally felt a weird sense of failure.
Similarly—I would think—to when women are diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, there’s this tendency to take ownership and responsibility over the circumstance even though it often times is not related to how well a woman cares for her body. Some things just happen hormonally, and we can’t always avoid it. I know my silly marks are not threatening in any way, but it still felt frustrating to experience something I thought I could prevent. If I’m being honest, I am someone who carries the mentality: That won’t happen to me.
And then it hit me. This is not only a red line on my body, but it’s a red line in my life I come to again and again when I realize I can’t control everything. It’s a boundary I have to retrace when my pride gets the best of me, and I become too big in my world (because we are very small in the grand scheme of things). My nature isn’t overly dominating, and I joke in certain areas I am type Z verses type A, but I do have my moments, and this was one of them.
The truth is, whatever transition I am experiencing in life, I can’t expect to be able to manipulate the outcome to my liking. There’s a lot I can do to prepare and feel equipped, but there will be moments and changes that threaten my false sense of security that I dictate anything in life. I don’t. And whether it’s a job outcome, the success of a business endeavor or the prevention of pregnancy side-effects, what will be will be.
This is probably a good mantra to grasp as we brace for the impact of our second child. I’m learning to let some things go, prioritize what’s of most importance and develop greater flexibility for whatever comes my way. It’s ironic a stretch mark—again, signaling a lack of elasticity—was the catalyst for this once-again new-found notion that I am not in control. Every time I look at it (along with it’s counterparts), I remember to keep my expectations in check and yield to my red line.