How do you feel about your stretch marks?

Trying to rub them out or embracing them? Where are you at with your baby ‘battle scars’?

I caught sight of my stomach the other day.

At least, I think it was my stomach.

Apparently, it has shimmery stripes now. Which is nice. Who wouldn’t want a few furrows and pinky-purple highlights on their belly?

Tanned, flat tummies are so 1995. Well, for me at least.

I didn’t get stretch marks when I was pregnant with my first child. Luck of the draw, I guess. But with my second. Yowsers, I got scorched. I religiously rubbed in the oils, but my skin didn’t care. It had had enough. It was full to capacity. It was protesting in the form of angry red stripes.

You can’t see the under side of your stomach when you’re roundly pregnant. But when your baby is born, and in time everything deflates like a three-day-old balloon, you get to see what’s left. And what was left was not pretty.

I sound like I’m complaining. But I’m not.

I don’t have time to navel gaze any more, to stand in front of mirrors pulling flesh this way and that, examining my cellulite, lifting my bum to an acceptable height. These days I whack on a pair of Spanx and sprint out the door.

So when I spent, oooh, 10 seconds looking at my stomach yesterday, paying attention to what’s been, you know, happening down there, it made me happy.

See, I won’t be having any more children, and those jagged shiny lines are like a commemorative engraving: Baby was here.

They make me a marked woman. Someone whose story is written on their outside. And that’s really okay.

So I won’t be investing in any more expensive potions to reduce the evidence of what happened to my body during its child-bearing years. I’m not going to try to erase them.

I’m going to try to be as proud as these women who posed for photographer Jade Beall to show off their bodies in all their post-child glory.

Because everything changes when you become a parent, inside and out. And it’s impossible to try to hide that. And really, why would I want to?

CLICK THROUGH these beautiful pictures, taken by US photographer Jade Beall, of women and their children and yes, their stretch marks.