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Lately, I’ve been struggling with how I feel about my body. I see pictures from my wedding day and I’m tempted to compare my body now to my body then. I’ve heard a lot of other moms say the same thing. We struggle with the temptation to resent the inevitable changes after having a baby (or two!).

Is it okay to feel that way? I don’t think so. Here are five reasons why:

1. Hate it all you want—it won’t change anything. In fact, if you allow yourself to be disgusted with your body, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Raise your hand if you tend to eat more when you’re feeling down. Most of you? I thought so. Me, too. Hating your body isn’t just useless. It’s counter-productive.

2. It’s an inspiration to improve your health. Look at your body and be thankful—you’ve just found your inspiration to get fit. Wanting to improve your body isn’t the same as hating it; it’s seeing potential when you look in the mirror. Capitalize on that, and instead of being upset with your current state, be motivated to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

3. You’ve done something special and unique. It’s easy to compare yourself and feel jealous when you see the flat, defined stomachs on other women at the beach. But remember, many of them only have those bodies because they haven’t carried a baby yet. They may envy YOU for having had the experience of being pregnant. Hating your body can make you jealous and ungrateful—a toxic combo, if you ask me!

4. You’ve given your partner a gift. Plenty of women have babies and their bodies may have bounced back faster than yours. But when your partner sees your body, he doesn’t think about the other women who’ve successfully carried babies; he is (and should be) amazed, because you didn’t just carry any baby, you carried HIS. The changes he sees in you remind him of just that. He isn’t overly critical of your body. Why should you be? Hating your body can cheapen the miracle you both experienced by bringing a child into the world.

5. Finally, look at your body. Take it all in—the stretch marks, the extra skin, the wider-than-ever hips. Now look at your baby—you know, the light of your life. Was it worth it? Was allowing your body to drastically change in order to accommodate the growth of those hands and feet and dimples worth it? If so, stop. Stop hating the marks on your body that prove for 280 days (give or take a few!), you selflessly sacrificed to bring a brand new baby—YOUR baby—into the world. Those marks that you’ve been resenting are proof of how far you’d go to provide for your baby. They literally mark the beginning of motherhood, the sweetest journey you’ll ever take. You’ll make plenty of sacrifices as a mama, and most of them will be well worth it, but don’t sacrifice the joy of motherhood by hating your post-baby body. Celebrate those little imperfections—you earned them!

Worth every stretch mark, don’t you think?