Teenage girls experience rapid growth spurts in new areas of their bodies during puberty. This rapid growth often leads to stretch marks. We still remember being surprised when our skin erupted in red lines and being terrified that they would never go away.
It’s around this time of puberty that many girls become self-conscious about their bodies and begin to feel as if they should hide the womanly parts of themselves, which they may believe are messy, big, and ugly. This can be the beginning of disordered body image and bad-body thoughts that can lead to a lifetime of body shame. Negative body image and eating disorders are also strongly linked.
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Protect your sweet girl from this fate by talking to her about stretch marks as a natural part of growth. Most stretch marks fade with time into silvery streaks, but even if they don’t, they are just a part of life. They don’t make her a freak of nature – they make her entirely natural and totally normal. Don’t hide your own stretch marks, and look for ways to normalize their development in non-hateful ways.
Remind her that this is her body for life. No matter what goes on outside, she needs to learn to love herself inside, and body shame is hateful and means towards the self.
I was doing some research earlier on why we demonize stretch marks. I couldn’t find much so, I decided to type into Google “how to get rid of stretch marks” and I was absolutely appalled by what came up. First of all there were a total of 1.650.000 results telling how to get rid of them (ha. is it any wonder why we are unable to accept them) and secondly almost all of the articles stated “No woman WOULD or SHOULD like to have stretch marks on her skin” and “use potato juice and egg whites to get rid of them”.
Seriously who comes up with this stuff, it’s ludicrous – were constantly being told were not allowed to accept that we have them, nor love them. So in a desperate attempt to get rid of them we have to go and buy over a kg of potatoes and juice them 😞
Not buying it
The truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with stretch marks and no cream, eggs whites or potato juice is going to get rid of them – they are normal, they indicate that your body has grown or is growing, changing and evolving.
I have them on both sides of my hips, I have them all over the sides of my bum and the tops of my thighs. The reality is, we all have or will get stretch marks, so there’s no need to shame them, or photoshop them or try to get rid of them
You see, stretch marks are just like freckles, tattoos, bruises, birthmarks, and scars, which are the coolest things ever – because hey, we started with an almost blank canvas and now look, these marks are like little bits of evidence that demonstrate that we have lived
We can’t stop them and we can’t nor should we “fix” them, so let’s normalize them and accept them as a part of who we are
Ginny Jones is on a mission to empower parents to raise kids who are free from eating disorders. She’s the founder of More-Love.org and a Parent Coach who helps parents navigate their kid’s eating disorder recovery.
Ginny has been researching, writing about, and supporting parents who have kids with eating disorders since 2016. She incorporates the principles of neurobiology and attachment parenting with a non-diet, Health At Every Size® approach to health and recovery.
Ginny’s most recent project is Recovery, a newsletter for deeply-feeling people in recovery from diet culture, negative body image, and eating disorders.