My canvas started out white, smooth and pure. It was flat, and not a mark lay upon it. I never really thought my stomach was anything special. Just a little chubby, but it was mine. Then I longed for a child. When my body started to change after I found out I was pregnant I was in awe. I was growing life inside of me. WOW. This little person that me and my husband made out of love was moving and kicking inside of me. A real live person. I went through months of agony. Sick to my stomach, pain everywhere, bloating, kidney stones and lastly stretch marks. I went through a lot to have my daughter. My body went through hell for her. I really was a warrior inside of myself. She was beautiful and perfect all 5 pounds 8 ounces of her. My miracle girl. I love her more than I thought I could love anyone. It still shocks me sometimes how much I love this little person. Now my canvas has been drawn on. It has lines up and down. Across and diagnal. All around the circle of my belly button. Some run deep while others are thin and long. My daughter drew all over me. I was ashamed of these lines that were drawn into my skin. I felt ugly and unworthy. Why after all I went through did I have to have these marks? Then it came to me. This was my picture my daughter had drawn for me. Like the memory of labor they will fade but will never truly disappear. Now I wear these marks proudly. I now see what she had drawn. I see my daughters life with me. I see her smiling. I see her laughing. I see her crawling and her first steps. I see sticky oatmeal kisses and dandilions for mothers day. Her first birthday and blowing out the candles. I see her walking onto the school bus while I hold back tears. I see her first kiss…first heartbreak..first love. I see her helping out another person. I see her graduate, get married and one day own a canvas like mine. I see me there for her through all of this. Ready to hold out my hand if she needs it and ready to let go and let her experience life on her own. When I look at my canvas she has drawn for me I am not ashamed anymore. I look at it with pride just like a mother would with any picture their child has drawn. I never want her to be ashamed of her canvas. I want her to know she is beautiful. Real women are beautiful. Some carry a little picture, some carry a whole art piece like mine. But nevertheless we are beautiful. I am showing my canvas on here to let you all know that your canvas is beautiful too. Be proud. Look past the squiggly lines to the true picture. Our love for our children.