I wore a bikini to the beach yesterday. At three months postpartum, my tummy is soft, squishy, and covered with stretch marks (despite an excellent diet and regular exercise, embarked upon because it makes me feel good).

I am a woman who, according to our society, is Not Supposed to Wear a Bikini.

But I wore one anyway, because I love the way it feels and looks. I love the sun on my skin. I think of my stretch marks as radical, powerful decorations. My body has obvious signs of growing and carrying a human in it. Our culture tells us that we are supposed to hate and hide all evidence of pregnancy; that our bodies are somehow "ruined" by having children.

The opposite is true. Our bodies are beautiful just because they are. Not because they are tan and skinny or pale and curvy or tall or short or "perfect." Not because we have a thigh gap or no thigh gap or strong ab muscles or a soft postpartum pooch.

Despite what we've been told, our bodies do not exist merely to be gazed upon. Our worth is not determined by how closely we resemble an arbitrary archetype of beauty. Our bodies are beautiful just because they are. And-- much more important than being beautiful-- our bodies are amazing because they work. They function. They grow and birth children. They lactate the most perfect food for our babies. We have arms to carry our kids, lips to kiss their wounds, strong legs to squat and change diapers, core muscles that support us as we wear our children around. Blood, brain, and a heart that keeps it all functioning well.

Take care of it. Honor it. Don't hate your body because our society has deemed us Not Good Enough. You are good enough. Love yourself!