Hannah Moore is 20 years old and gave birth to twin girls last year. As I imagine with any new mum, she felt a little self-conscious about the stretch marks that appeared during her pregnancy. Yet feeling proud after the achievement of carrying her two girls through a safe pregnancy, she took pictures of her stomach and posted them to Instagram…
Only a few minutes later her account was deleted because the images were deemed ‘inappropriate’ and did not follow Instagram’s rules of ‘nudity and violence’. Moore said the blocking of her account made her feel like she had done something terribly wrong and convinced her that her body was ‘clearly fat, ugly, disgusting and it made people feel sick’.
When this story was picked up, Instagram were quick to respond and defend themselves, claiming it was ‘’a technical mistake and the account has been restored.’ However, this is not the first time Instagram has blocked accounts on their site due to ‘inappropriate content’ and they’re not alone in this, with Facebook also being called out for the same thing. It seems to be something we’ve just accepted. We were in the wrong for showing off what we loved, for being proud of lumps and bumps, for not caring if we hair under armpits or in this case, had marks that run down our thighs.
Even models have stretchmarks…
It was only this week that model Chrissy Teigen, posted a picture to her Instagram, where she was sat crossed legged, proudly showing off the little faint lines that ran in streaks on her thighs. Yes, even she has them! ‘Stretchies say hi!’
She isn’t the only Instagrammer who is proud of her stretchmarks… The Love Your Lines Campaign @Loveyourlines was created by two Mums, who using Tumblr and Instagram, wanted to showcase their own and hundreds of other women’s lumps, bumps and lines in all their natural glory. As with anything on Instagram, quickly a trend appeared, with #LoveYourLines seeing women all over the world posting pictures of their stretch marks on social media. Bodies of colour, length, thick lines, thin lines adorned all over the body to show that, yes world, we have them and it’s okay to have them.
News flash: Your body is changing!
As women we want to be perfect. We want glossy hair, high cheekbones, a great pair of boobs and a lump and bump free body. Truth is, there is no such thing as perfect… unless you make your own kind of perfect. Women love to hate their stretch marks, we want to be angry at ourselves for stretching our skin and embarrassed that they could possibly spread from hips to bum. We need to accept this is natural. This is our body’s way of growing. Be it from pregnancy or simply from growing and ageing, our body is constantly changing. That’s why skin is the way it is, it’s not meant to stay exactly the same, and otherwise we’d all be wishing we had the skin we had as babies, smooth and delicate.
During pregnancy, bodies go through a real job. Suddenly your ‘canvas’ as such, is growing for 9 whole months, so naturally something has to move to allow your baby to grow in a comfortable space. This applies to ageing as well. Your body isn’t always going to stay at 20, nor 30. Your body goes through changes in life where the skin needs to grow, and yes, it will indeed stretch.
“24 year old mum of an 2 year old little girl. At first, I hated my lines! But now I have realized there’s nothing I can do about them. I have learned to accept them. Now they are my #lovelines Everyday when I look at my girl I love them more and more. Your body is not ruined, you’re a goddamn tiger who earned her stripes.” || #loveyourlines submission
The NHS classes the causes of stretch marks due to weight gain, pregnancy, puberty and even if you have a history of family stretchmarks. Sure, this is all pretty accurate but let’s be honest, we can’t avoid puberty can we? We can’t ask Mother Nature to put a hold on our periods, nor can we pray that for a year or two we don’t release any Oestrodiol, it just isn’t going to happen.
When I was in my early teens, I was comfortably thin. Then I as I hit puberty, I got boobs. I even got hips and thighs! Bulky thighs that I certainly didn’t have 5 minutes ago. I even got a bit of a belly on me, which got in the way and suddenly I was no longer thin and of course, no one would be interested in me… Along with this came some stretch marks, but how could I get stretch marks? I wasn’t even pregnant! ‘Oh woe of woes, why me?!’ Life was definitely over. That was until I started writing this, and yes it’s only taken me a good few years to realise, I’m not on my own.
Let’s end the body shaming
We need to put an end to all this fuss about stretch marks. We need to encourage other women to show off what we have and accept we have it. There should be nothing to be ashamed off, we’re growing every day and ageing day by day, so really we should hope our skin is ever changing.
There are women all over, just like me and completely different to me, who have got them as well. Suddenly I no longer feel like no one will be interested in me. I no longer feel like there’s something disgusting about stretched skin, it’s no longer embarrassing to have them.
It’s about time to stop feeling so ashamed of what you have. It’s time to stop worrying about what people think about you, or the way you look. People will either accept it or they won’t. So that’s why I’m so glad #LoveYourLines has taken to social media. It’s encouraging to hear women talking to other women about their stretch marks, to praise one another for the way they look and talk them out of feeling so down about their bodies.
— CrazyDogLady (@littlelove25) July 30, 2015
— Jilly Joss (@JillyJoss) July 29, 2015
— swimsuitsforall (@swimsuitsforall) June 26, 2015
I hope to no longer see women being told their bodies are not appropriate enough to share and be proud of. If people are offended by your marks, clearly they have the problem, not you.
Remember… ‘Stretch Marks are just little lightning strikes, here to remind you that you’re a force of nature.’