Let's face it—while some women wear their stretch marks as a badge of honor, which is awesome (check out Jade Beall's book, A Beautiful Body!), not all of us are secure enough to be able to embrace them, even though we love what they represent—the ability to bring life into this world!
"Women love being moms, but no woman wants stretch marks!" exclaims Ali Landry, 39, who just gave birth to her third child, son Valentine Francesco. As an actress, TV host and model, Ali's job pretty much depends on looking amazing all the time, so she totally gets the fear of stretch marks that most women have.
That said? In the nearly seven years of motherhood and three pregnancies, Ali hasn't had a single stretch mark. It's okay to hate her just a little bit for that (if only we could all be that blessed!), but she's way too sweet to hate her a lot! And even though there is sadly no miracle cream that can stop you from getting stretch marks (it's mostly hereditary and about 90 percent of women will get them during one of their pregnancies), Ali swears by Palmer's Cocoa Butter, which she used while pregnant with Estela (now six), before she became a Spokesbelly for Palmer's products with Marcelo (now 21 months), and Valentine (born yesterday!).
Ali took time out of her insane schedule to share how pregnancy has affected her self-esteem, how she told daughter Estela she was going to be a big sister again, and why you won't be seeing her in a bikini on a magazine cover anytime soon.
How did you tell Estela about the new baby?
Andre and I told her on Christmas. We had a video camera going as we told her together because we wanted to capture this big, exciting moment, and she acted like she already knew! She was like, "OK, another one's coming."
Was she disappointed she wasn't getting a baby sister?
At first she really wanted another brother, but now that Marcelo's bigger and getting more aggressive she's realizing two brothers mean double the trouble!
Not to scare you, but there was a recent study that said women with three kids are more stressed out than women with any other number of children.
My friend with four kids told me that three was really hard, but that four was really great. So I told my husband, maybe we should hurry up and have a fourth!
What advice would you give a mom who's pregnant with another baby?
The same advice I'd give first-time moms: When the baby sleeps, you sleep! Otherwise, you'll never get any rest.
Did you go on a babymoon with this pregnancy?
We did! We did a double babymoon, actually. We had a trip to Rome, where we had a private meeting with the pope and he blessed the baby. That was really special! Then we went to Mexico to relax on the beach. I think it's important to take time as a couple to stay connected.
Did any of the old wives' tales ring true for you in predicting whether you were having a boy or girl?
I hadn't thought about it until now, but both of my sons did sit much lower than my daughter. Wow, what they say is actually true!
You're such a sex symbol. Do you feel sexy when you're pregnant?
I don't ever see myself as sexy, but hopefully my husband does! I will say I feel feminine and confident when I'm pregnant. You really just have no choice but to release any sort of insecurities you have about your body because it is what it is. So you either go with it, embrace it, and love it, like I do, or you'll be miserable.
So much has been made about how big (Kim Kardashian) or small (Kate Middleton) women are when they're pregnant. How do you feel about all of that body scrutiny?
I think it's horrible. Both myself, Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian were all due at the same time (before Kim went into labor early!). I felt like I was going through that with them and it would frustrate me so much to see the media rip them apart because this really is a beautiful time in a woman's life and everybody is trying to figure it out. I really wish people would have given Kim a break and let her enjoy her pregnancy.
Are you worried about losing the baby weight?
I do feel the pressure, but it's more for myself than the pressures from the industry. I feel better when I'm in shape, and I really love to exercise. Plus, working out gives me energy, and I'm going to need a lot of it since I have three children to run around after! That said, it really frustrates me when I see someone in a swimsuit on the cover of a magazine three weeks after giving birth. That's impossible to live up to! I look at it this way—it took nine months to put the weight on, it's going to take nine months to take it off. It's a process. Give yourself a break and really enjoy that gorgeous baby of yours!
TELL US: Are you worried about getting stretch marks? If you already have them, do you cherish or hate them?
Image of Ali Landry and her kids courtesy of Palmer's.