I’m 33 and just had my little Michaela 6 weeks ago. I never thought that I’d have children. In fact, I had established an entire philosophy on why having children, in this day and age, was a bad idea. I was pretty militant with this philosophy too. At the time I got pregnant I was embarking on a career in teaching – a goal that was abruptly put on the backburner (not that I miss it much). I thought I’d be a career woman, with a cool jet setting husband and an easy lifestyle. But mother nature, and my husband, had different ideas. Subconscioulsy I must have been on board too – otherwise I wouldn’t have thrown caution to the wind and ‘forgot’ the contraception on that critical night last July. Once pregnant I never feared the delivery. But I didn’t like being pregnant. Mainly because I was sick as a dog for the first few months – and the last few months I was walking around like an arthritic cowboy. Towards the end, I couldn’t eat more than a couple bites at a time (and I like my food)… there was just no room in there! Body issues: here we go! At the time I got pregnant I was 5’7 (still am amazingly) and 130 lbs. Slim and athletic looking. I have always been this way … and still am 6 weeks after giving birth. I only gained the prescribed 24 lbs during pregnancy – didn’t over eat and exercised a bit. I don’t have issues with the shape of my body now – but what do we all end up moaning about?? STRETCHMARKS. Whoever thinks that stretchmarks are a sign of lack of self control and that only really over weight people get them need to wake up. I got them first in adolesence on the hips, bum, thighs, back of calves. I was 14 and devestated. They faded over the years and I didn’t want to relive the shock and horror of getting them again during pregnancy. But alas! My once beautifully unmarked, toned tummy now bears the marks and my breasts are starting to get them now too. But you know what? They don’t bother me that much. Like my husband says, they are ‘natural marks of life’. Why do we give them so much power to make us feel bad? I like to call mine Michaela marks. When I look at them my feelings are mixed – on the one hand I hold society’s view of them and think, ‘Oh gross’ … but on the other hand I am kind of proud of them and they make me feel like I’ve achieved something great. And I think I have! To that end, I’m not including any photos of them – because really, who should really care? They have no bearing on me as a person – and who I am inside. They don’t effect my ability to love, laugh, and be a good mother, wife and friend. I own them, they don’t own me. My first picture is of me at nine months – the next is me and Michaela. Who, it turns out, is the sweetest little thing. And who is teaching me to be a more patient, loving person everyday that I know her. Hope you enjoyed the read!