Jun 25, 2010  •  In Personal, Pregnancy

Battle Scars [Not a Happy Trail]

While on our babymoon, I noticed a slight line extending up from my public bone.

“I think I’m starting to get my linea nigra,” I told J.

“What’s that?”

“A dark vertical line — usually extending from the belly button and the pubic area — that appears in most pregnancies.”

“You mean a happy trail?”

“No, it’s discoloration of the skin. It’s not hair.”

“But it looks like a happy trail!”

“It’s not a happy trail. It’s a LINEA NIGRA.”

“Haha! You have a happy trail!!!”

Yes, my husband is very mature, wouldn’t you say?

I fully expected my linea nigra to grow darker in the 7 weeks since I first noticed it, but it hasn’t. Before pregnancy, I frankly found the linea nigra to be…well, gross. Now that I have it — albeit a very faint one — I’m not sure what to think. I know that it is a natural part of pregnancy and that it will most likely fade away, but I’m still a bit irked by it.

Did anyone else find their linea nigra to be gross? Maybe I’m the only one — who knows?


I have decided not to outrightly show this picture nor the one below because I know quite a
few readers who prefer not to see uncovered pregnant bellies. If you would like to see my
linea nigra, just click on the image above. To view the extra large version, click here.

I have read that the linea nigra is usually more pronounced on women with dark skin. I’m not sure if it will get any darker than this, but I’m hoping that my pasty white skin will serve me well in this regard. Either way, I will consider it my “battle scar,” along with…

Stretch marks.

Because earlier today, I discovered my first stretch marks. Sigh.

Fortunately, my first stretch marks are not on my belly but rather on my side, where my love handles reside. And since they are only about an inch long, they almost look like marks left by the elastic of my pants.


Click here to view the extra large version

I really, really hope to avoid the kind of stretch marks that will leave my belly looking like it got mauled by a tiger. And I know some women will judge me for writing this, but I don’t care, because I can’t think of a single woman who actually celebrated the appearance of stretch marks.

I know of women who have applied stretch mark prevention cream religiously from the moment they got pregnant, but still managed to get horrible ones. I also know of some who swear up and down that their stretch mark creams worked miracles on their smooth, flawless bellies.

So far I have only been applying cream when I remember (which is usually every few days), and I only use the cheap kind you can find at any supermarket. However, I think I’ll make it a point to start using it more regularly from now on. As for the type of cream, are there any brands that my readers recommend? Are the more expensive ones worth it?

My mother tells me that she only got a scant few stretch marks when she was pregnant, and they all managed to disappear shortly after giving birth. But then again, she’s also a freak of nature who lost all her pregnancy weight and then some — naturally, without every trying — just a couple of months post partum with both kids.

Here’s to hoping for her good genes!

18 Responses to “Battle Scars [Not a Happy Trail]”

  1. Have you ever been to http://theshapeofamother.com/ ??? :) I barely have any stretchmarks and I stopped using cream a long time ago. It doesn’t matter whether or not you use it, seriously. Study after study says it is genetic, not moisture-related. It "works" for some women because they’re the women who have the good genes. They attribute it to the cream… but that’s science says otherwise.

    Your belly is adorable. ADORABLE. <3 Dark line and all!

  2. I think it’s so funny that you have to point them out! But I know what it’s like to be concerned about something on your body that others don’t notice as much.

  3. Geek in Heels:

    @Jessica — My husband says he can’t notice them unless I point them out. But you’re right in that many of us (obviously including me) become self-conscious of things that others don’t notice much. For example, I have a cousin who is missing the tip of one finger and is self-conscious of it…but most people don’t notice at all!

  4. mina:

    i second kalen–what a cute belly! i would have the same concerns as you regarding the stretch marks, and yeah, i bet it’s genetic.

  5. Stretch marks are genetic. You may be lucky and get your mom’s genes!

    You’re going to have to explain the people who don’t want to see pregnant bellies, because I’m getting kind of a little offended on your behalf here.

  6. Geek in Heels:

    @Koritsimou — A lot of people I know find sharing belly pics along the lines of "TMI." These are usually the people who see an ultrasound picture and see a picture of a uterus, not a growing baby, and believe that posting pictures of pregnancy tests are gross. The majority of these people are single, and/or have not had much contact with pregnant women, and so I think their line of thinking may change if they decide to have kids. But because I know these people exist, I have decided not to outwardly display my pictures on here.

  7. Amanda:

    Yay! Sorry, I have the mauled by a tiger stretchmarks and I love seeing pregnant bellies, stretchmarks or not. I think it has more to do with how stretchy your skin is. I have very thick fatty unstretchy skin so I got the deep deep lines and they suck, but I have a healthy 13 year old boy now and I wouldn’t trade them for him in a millions years. Thank you for being brave and sharing with us.

  8. Lacey:

    I’m sure they’re right that it’s a genetic thing, but it makes me feel like I have some control (ha. ha.) by using my belly balm stuff. I just got the Burt’s Bees kind from Target yesterday, though, so I have no good strong opinion about it yet.

  9. Aw, you have the cutest little smooth, tight belly! You can’t see the linea negra or the stretch marks! My belly is itching like crazy these days. I’m thinking it’s either the cream I’m using or the stretching skin. Sigh.

  10. I also applied cream regularly but had wicked stretch marks all around my belly button (even worse where my piercing used to be), and they are JUST starting to fade. I also had the line, and I’m SUPER pale (if you look at my old belly pics and the birth story on Mandy’s blog), and it was awesomely crooked. The line up from my belly button is almost faded out, but the one below is faded, but still rocking away 7 months after birth. Your stretch marks are NOTHIN’ Honey, you look wonderful!

  11. Mary:

    I apply Palmer’s cream after every morning shower before work. Not sure if it works or not but I’ve been very lucky so far, considering my mother and my sisters all have some sort of stretch marks. I also have a linea nigra but it only comes up to my belly button. It doesn’t extend pass it and it’s not as dark as some that i’ve seen. It’s faint and noticeable. Not too worried about it.

  12. Moni:

    Uh… I couldn’t even see a linea nigra! Cocoa butter is supposed to work for stretch marks, so maybe that’d help?

  13. HamiHarri:

    That lovely line appeared on my belly AFTER I delivered Clara…it has pretty much already faded.

    My stretch marks on the other hand are still here and are gross. Not only the pink lines (they have faded a bit from the purple/red), but he skin is saggy and yucky. I’m told it will tighten up.

    I used creams/oils everyday, several times a day from the start. I thought I might be in the clear until I hit 34 weeks and they started popping up. They were painful and itchy…the creams did help to relieve the itch, but that’s it.

  14. Zoe:

    omgosh your belly is totally cute. I hope mine is even half as cute someday…lol

  15. Did you take any special care for this?

  16. Bally:

    I just wanted to say thanks for the way you layered your belly photos under the top clickable images. Very cool trick, and very classy of you to do it that way.

    Bravo.

  17. Helene HT:

    try olive oil + vitamin E. that’s what i’m using at the moment. i’m not sure they actually stop stretch marks from appearing but at least they’re very moisturizing and, most importantly, natural.

  18. Linda:

    Love these photos, you seriously have the cutest baby bump!

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