Charlene Pun, 33, Danbury, CT

This year, as part of our Take Back The Beach program, we are asking YOU to tell us about your experiences with body talk and self-perception. Below, one reader's story.

"Your Scar Is Beautiful"

Exactly 16 months ago today, I became a mom. My son came into this world full of life, and my entire world changed the minute I heard his little cry. My delivery did not go as expected and ended with an emergency C-section, leaving me with a belly and an ugly scar, albeit a beautiful baby that overshadowed all of the above — that is, until a few months later when I went to put on my swimsuit for the first time since becoming a mother. My incision had not healed as well as it should have, due to complications after the surgery. I have never had much confidence in my own body, and now I felt that I had even more to hide.
My bikinis either did not fit or were too low and showed my scar. I tried to shrug it off and sum it up to the fact that I was now a mom. I purchased a one-piece that covered as much of me as possible, and felt very self-conscious that first summer.
But everything changed one night. I had come home from the beach and was changing when my husband walked in. At this point, I was even self-conscious about my scar in front of him. He could tell that I was guarded in front of him lately. So he looked at me and then ran his finger along my scar and said, "Your scar is beautiful." What? To me, it was not beautiful; it was red and raised and bumpy, anything but beautiful.
"It looks like a happy face!" he said. I giggled, because in a way I could see what he meant. I asked him why he thought it was beautiful. He proceeded to tell me that he loved my scar, because that was how our son came into our world. He was right. My whole heart was full because of that scar. That gave me an entirely new perspective. While I still don't love how my scar looks, I do love what it represents. This summer, I have a much better body image. I even wore one of my bikinis and felt great in it. Learning to love your body is all about your attitude, and I am so grateful to have a new perspective on mine.
#TakeBackTheBeach essays are meant to reflect individual women's experiences. They have only been lightly edited (if at all) by Refinery29 and do not necessarily reflect the company's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Have a story of body image and self-perception that you want to share? Submit your essay to our Take Back The Beach contest here.

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