Stretch marks, bikini pregnancy, and public displays of belly affection

 

 

This is my third pregnancy. I like to show what my growing womb looks like. I have met a lot of women who say that they were ashamed to show their bellies because of stretch marks, discoloration, and weight gain. I know body issues are complex thing, and pregnancy and post-partum body changes come with a whole host of issues that many of us in the USA struggle with.

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Dr. A. Breeze Harper, Third Trimester, Bolinas CA Fall 2013 with her two year daughter, Eva Luna.

I have chosen not to hide my belly and wear a bikini whenever we make our weekend trips to our California beaches. I get a lot of comments from people who have never seen a real live pregnant belly in the nude. Some folks have even enjoyed the pleasure of watching the baby moving vigorously under the skin. I get appreciations from women and girls mostly, who thank me for showing them what it looks like. I also get comments like, “Wow, I don’t think I would ever be confident enough to do that.” It’s too bad that I get comments like this, as it really reflects a society that can be very rigid and cruel in teaching girls and women that they should be ashamed of displaying their bodies in public, if they don’t meet an acceptable standard of size and shape. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had and struggled with these issues like most females throughout my life, and admit that I did have shame and embarrassment about my body during the post-partum period after giving birth to my first child. But, since then, I have become gentle, loving, and kind to myself; I am still decolonizing my mind around public displays of body, skin, bellies, etc., but I have come a long way. And I feel like when people see what some pregnant bellies and bodies can look like, while in public, I can start talking about it without shame, but with love and and acceptance. I used to be so ashamed of my permanent stretch marks, as they have increased more with each pregnancy. But now I simply don’t care what people may or may not think.

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I gained 41 pounds during this pregnancy.  I have several weeks left, so I assumed I’ll probably gain about 4 or 5 more pounds from my plant/mineral based diet packed with hemp seeds, spirulina, kale, olive oil, tempeh, okra, maca, nettles, algae based calcium, and vegan dha to name a few. My babies have been ‘big’. Sun was 8.5lb and Luna 9.5lb. Will this one be 10+? My friend did all vegan pregnancies. Her third and last baby was home birthed at 10lb 13 oz. Wow!

We are having a third home birth. I assume it will be easy. I am a pro at this! November 10 is my due date. Folk often ask what I eat during my pregnancies. Here is more information about that here: pregnancy nutrition.

Anyway, I just wanted to share.

9 thoughts on “Stretch marks, bikini pregnancy, and public displays of belly affection

  1. Beautiful! I loved being pregnant, too. Bring vegan was great and I was encouraged to keep it up throughout the pregnancy by my midwives and dr. I was still overweight (having just become vegan months before first pregnancy) but never did I have an issue with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Maybe the next pregnancy I can have the confidence to show more skin. Although I’m nowhere near your size Pre baby:)

  2. You are brave for showing your body in its true form in public! When I was little girl I was taught that after women have children they ‘should’ wear a 1 piece bathing suit to cover-up those ‘ugly’ stretch marks. I have also worn a 2-piece showing my stretch marks and received compliments and sadly received stares of negativity from women. It felt great to be affirmed yet sad that so many women felt ashamed of their belly marks. I’ll post a pic of my baby belly on the fb group 🙂

  3. I managed to liberate myself by number three. For me it was not about body shame wearing my tankini it was about finally letting go of my former Baptist upbringing that I would burn in hell for it. I left the Baptist church as a teenager but it took years to feel that my family would get over me wearing certain things and breastfeeding uncovered. I am still a Christian, but shame and rigidity is no longer a part of my spiritual journey.

  4. Wow! Thank you so much… I am currently having my second child and I was so uncomfortable! It so lovely to see people like me out there… Thank you for sharing really.

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