Never having been pregnant, I’m fascinated at the shapes the bodies of mothers take after giving birth. For the last few hours, I’ve been wandering through a site that praises motherhood and the shape bellies take while pregnant and afterwards. These pictures and posts have become addictive as mother after mother bares her stretch marks and added flesh to the world, finding satisfaction in exposing her true form to others who have experienced the joys (and ravages) of pregnancy and birth.
Many, many women have shared their stories and photos of their journeys on this website, called The Shape of a Mother, and just as many share how grateful they are that other women have shown the reality of their post-baby bodies. This site has created a community of women who struggle to look at themselves in the mirror, yet are proud of being mommies. Thanks to The Shape of a Mother and its host, Bonnie, a community has been created where women are able to be real about who they are and how they look.
I selfishly find myself hoping my own body doesn’t scar or sag, but why should I be exempt from what my mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sister-in-law, and best friends have experienced? Also, if these mothers’ testimonies are to be trusted, being a mother and seeing and loving the fruit of your womb are totally worth the pain, the discomfort, and the “belly battlefield”. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to encounter my own motherly belly someday!
Perusing these stories and pictures could be quite an enlightening pilgrimage for you, so I’ll share the link to the site. However, I do need to warn you that the photos are not for the squeamish, the prudish, or for all audiences. Some pictures are quite graphic (they’re the honest truth, with little left to wonder about), but they are beautiful in their own right, the right of reality.
Dedicated to K. and thanks to H.