The Shape of a Mother is a place where mothers go to come to terms with their transforming/ed bodies. Here you will find hundreds and hundreds of photographs and stories posted by real women in various stages of motherhood. Some have toned torsos but most share their stretch marks or dimples or belly flaps or saggy boobs. There are round bodies, jiggly bodies and scarred bodies.
For a mostly anonymous mommy website, the tone here is unbelievably supportive. “I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so much for the human race,” reads the home page mission statement.
Readers tell women who’ve come to expose their C-section scars and cellulite, you’re gorgeous! I love your pregnancy picture! Men are proud of their scars, why can’t we be proud of ours? One mother’s post about her sagging breasts is titled, “It is what it is!”
There’s a common refrain: “…but it was worth it.”
On the one hand, of course, your healthy baby was worth the stretch marks or separated stomach muscles or flaps of loose skin. On the other hand, if you feel like crap about your new body, does that amount to regretting your child?
A stronger point is made when women talk about the beauty of a mother’s body, reminding us that the evidence of pregnancy and birth doesn’t have to trigger revulsion.
I have a friend who has a rounded belly as a result of several births. She doesn’t make a big effort to cover it up — she’ll wear a regular semi-clingy tee-shirt or jersey dress and there’s the small mound. At first I was taken aback by her confidence. Most women worry over this stuff and, though you may notice a pooch, you’ll notice efforts to disguise it at the same time. To see my friend, belly out and proud, was very meaningful to me. She looks great. It’s a curve. And there she is with her kids and her work and all that she does and I think, that’s a gorgeous body. In fact, now I look at these rounded bellies — including my own — as a new kind of sexy. This is the kind of transformation The Shape of a Mother is hoping for.
This website is a place where women go to remind themselves that they are normal. Your story is not the same as everyone else’s, but you do share one thing with other mothers: You’ve been transformed.