I always thought of myself as a woman who was comfortable in her own skin. I knew that pregnancy would change my body and during pregnancy I welcomed these changes. The first photo is my belly pre-pregnancy. I waited impatiently to “look pregnant” and I couldn’t wait to wear maternity clothes. I looked in awe at my expanding belly and felt beautiful. I gained 63 pounds during pregnancy. Every week I took several belly photos to document the growth. I looked forward to these weekly pictures and compared them with the earlier ones endlessly. The 2nd photo is my belly just 12 hours before my labor started, on my due date. When my son was born (via c-section due to the impatience of the medical hospital) the belly photos stopped and he was the center of attention. A week later I missed the weekly photo that had become a ritual with my husband and I so I had him snap the 1 week post-partum photo, which is the 3rd photo. I had a PUPPP rash on my belly and I was amazed at how pregnant I looked still. I was horrified by it but snapped the photo because I thought it would somehow help me in the healing process of accepting my new body. The next photo was taken at 3 months post-partum and the last 3 photos are at 6 months post-partum with a close-up of my c-section scar. While I will never have my flat pre-pregnancy belly again I actually look at my c-section scar fondly. Sure, I had a horrific birth experience that ended with a c-section but my son came out of that scar. I see the scar now and I see him. I still like to think that I’m a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, even though that skin is scarred, loose and stretched out a bit. One thing that helps me is that I remember going to the beach with my mother as a little girl and I thought she was the most beautiful creature in the whole world…her stretch marks and all. She still is the most beautiful creature in the whole world–that creature is a mother. Now I’ve joined her as a mother and I’m learning to see the beauty in myself.