Love Yourself - A Tribute to #ScarredNotScared

03/10/2016 04:44 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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We've all heard it... it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside...It's what's on the inside that counts. I'm sure someone beautiful made that up.

These days, my insides and my outsides are heavy on my mind. I'm writing this post with my computer propped up on a Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow - 25 weeks round, reflecting on how much I did not appreciate my pre-pregnancy body. To quote another trite phrase - you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Years of Ashtanga Yoga practice gave me a toned physique - but all that sure went to pot when love and marriage kicked in, though I still fit into size 26 jeans, albeit rather snugly.

I had no idea what would be in store when a growing human would take up residence in my uterus. Now, to be perfectly honest, what's on the inside is making me less than comfortable with what's on the outside. Grateful for the gift to procreate at the ripe age of 35, I do not want to seem vain and ungrateful. Of course, everyone says it: the superficial insecurities that come with making a baby are minor in terms of the long term rewards of being a mother. But, I can't help but gaze in the mirror at the extra 15 pounds on my thunder thighs - complimented by the acid reflux and endless nausea, and feel a sense of dread that maybe I will never get that pre-baby body back.

Still, there's that handful of moms I know that look hotter than ever, thanks to the Paleo diet and a merciless routine of daily CrossFit. So enough of my pity party. Better to spend my reflections looking at one inspiring woman who reminds me what it means to truly love yourself - inside and out - whatever imperfections your body may have.

Michelle Elman had 15 surgeries to correct a slew of life threatening illnesses and is covered in scars - but it doesn't bother her one bit. In fact, she stripped down to a bikini for me, while my video camera was running in London's crowded Hyde Park to insure me and others that if you love yourself unconditionally, others will too. Last summer, she proudly wore that same bikini and posted a photo on her Instagram account with the hashtag #scarrednotscared, and a world of reactions came in, many from others that were dealing with the demons of their own scars. Michelle is proud of her road map. Here's her story along with four others that were inspired by her courage. We could all take notes from this bunch. Love yourself today and everyday - you're the only you you've got.

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