I was up early on a particularly sunny morning, and a shimmer caught my eye in the mirror. 

It was my belly—my stretch marks, to be exact. 

I hadn’t thought there would be any space for new ones this pregnancy, but now for real, for real every available inch of my tummy was completely covered by the shiny scars.

I stopped and rotated from side to side in the mirror, watching captivated as the glittering sunlight passed over my skin through the window.

I was literally SPARKLING in the sun! I stayed up late that night contemplating my reaction. 

I was in awe of their beauty, these things that are considered ugly blemishes by many. 

To me, they are a symbol—my warrior marks of the time I had crazy pregnancies, and blessed babies. My stripes. 

Freaking glittering, sparkling, shiny stripes that are symbols of the amazing things my body did to bring these beautiful little humans into the world. 

The world tells us to hide, to be ashamed of the changes our bodies go through as pregnant women.

We are told to rub oils and creams on our bellies as they grow, to avoid the stripes, minimize them, or fade them from our memories. 

Then we’re told to wreck ourselves attempting to “bounce back” while also managing postpartum changes AND a newborn.

I say enough.

I say as a mom who sacrificed her body to give life, embrace those changes!

Yes I stretched, but for what? To make room. I stretched to make room for a whole human I love with my whole heart. And these shimmering stripes are proof of that love. 

Penelope Larsen

Penélope is a mama originally from the Dominican Republic. She grew up in Virginia and has lived in Hawaii and Idaho with her husband, and now their children. She aims to share positivity and realness as she navigates her motherhood journey.