When I was pregnant with my boys, I remember very early on being obsessed with looking at belly shots. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “pregnant twin belly photos.” I just couldn’t fathom what two babies growing on the inside of me would look like on the outside. And honestly, I was scared to death. When I started telling people I was pregnant with twins, just after their elated congratulations would come, “you are going to be HUGE!” Thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear. So what better place to go and find out exactly how huge I would get then the Internet! Big mistake.
I found several sites dedicated to pregnant bellies with twins and triplets, along with blogs and personal websites. And what I saw, in many cases, was even more frightening then what my imagination had conjured. Crazy stretch marks. Full-term size at only 25 weeks. OMG! What was going to happen to me?!?! And then I hit the mother of all pictures that induced such fear and spine-tingling horror…the postpartum photos. What the hell is “twin skin?!”Now, I’m not a vain person. But I am 5’3” on a very good day and weigh about 120. Aside from thinking about these frightening future aesthetics, I wondered if my body could even handle this?
Well, of course it could…and it did. Despite being fairly paranoid of how enormous I was getting, I lucked out and didn’t reach full-term size until I was 33 weeks. I delivered at 36 weeks, thank god, because my belly felt like it just couldn’t stretch any more. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my twin “badge,” or I like to say “badges,” because if these suckers were like girl scout badges, I’d have a whole sash filled in. Yes I have stretch marks. Yes I have twin skin. Yes I have a herniated belly button (the outie that just won’t go back in). Yes I have diastasis (my very own abdominal crevasse). Yes I want my old stomach back!
I think some women are blessed with a combination of great skin genes, a long torso, height in general, and can manage to have a twin pregnancy without all the postpartum ugliness. But I think most moms of multiples have a constant reminder of their pregnancy written across their tummies. I’m not trying to scare any preggos out there who are reading this, I just want to be realistic. Because I deluded myself while I was pregnant, rubbing tubs of 100 percent organic cocoa butter and vitamin e thinking I would be spared. I would be one of the lucky ones.
I know everyone is different, but it wasn’t until six months postpartum that I could even look at my stomach in the mirror without totally cringing. The good news is that after a year, I’m starting to get used to how my stomach looks. It’s actually not THAT bad. The stretch marks have definitely faded, and if it weren’t for the hernia, I’d feel pretty comfortable with it all. My husband tells me that when the time comes (i.e. when we are officially “done”) and if I’m so inclined, I should just get it fixed. And I’m so NOT the plastic surgery type, but I have to say the idea of walking into Dr. Reys’ office on Dr. 90210 and asking for a “BJJ” – belly button job – is hysterically intriguing to me. Because really I should get a hernia fixed, shouldn’t I?!?! And while I’m there, I might as well get my abs pulled in and skin smoothed, too, right?
And just like that those badges would be gone, forever erased from my twin mom sash. But I don’t think I’d mind a bit, because these two beaming faces smiling up at me are all the reminders I need.
P.S. Just like my obsession with researching pregnant bellies, I did the same for the ultimate stretch mark solution. I now rub my belly with some stuff called Bio-Oil and I’m convinced it helps. You can get it at Walgreens.