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I recently tripped upon a fascinating new blog called The Shape of a Mother.

Women submit pictures of their bellies and bodies—before, during, and after pregnancy. Many of them share their thoughts on how their bodies have changed over time. I could readily identify with many of the women who watched stretch marks pop up like flames during their first pregnancies. I realize now that I was much more critical of my body before it bore children.

I have moments when I am very unhappy with what I see in the mirror. Just this morning I was bemoaning the fact that my tummy looks like a roadmap of some congested East Coast metropolis—prominent blue veins shout through the barrier of my practically translucent skin. I half expected to see the international symbols for airports and picnic tables dotting my torso.

Then I remember why I look like page 32 in the AAA road atlas. I put my finger on mile marker number one (next to my heart) and travel south. I veer around the naval station, immediately feel a little earthquake and halt in my tracks. I arrive at a rest stop, and here my hand will stop to feel the sway of my own little superhighway.

Courtesy warning: Some of the photos at The Shape of a Mother are nude, including a few labor pictures and breastfeeding pictures. Looker beware, although I have to say I saw nothing there that shocked or embarrassed me. All are pictures of real-life women and their postbaby bodies. All shapes, sizes, ages, and stages are represented.

15 comments to Mapquest

  • Mopsy, I found that site just today through another friend, and what a beautiful site it is. I was crying from the beauty and the honesty respresented there as women from all over the world shared their stories of birth and motherhood.

    It is beautiful, and the site’s creator should be commended. We all need to realize how beautiful our bodies are – roadmaps and saggy breasts and all.

  • flipflop

    I’ve seen this site. Totally makes you feel better that there are a LOT of us road mappers out there.

  • I loved that site. So heartening.

  • I recently stumbled across that site too. Loved the honesty and reality. Body image is such a universal topic. I love what Shape of a Mother is doing for women.

  • Ditto. What a superb idea.

  • Thanks for linking to this site! It was fun to see all the different shapes, and to read everyone’s stories about their pregnancies. I do have to say, as a mother of 3 (the baby is 10 weeks old), that I was disappointed in many of the comments directed at those mothers who were able to lose all of the weight and be thin and in shape again. So many women wrote in (anonymously, I might add) and left the nastiest, most hateful comments!

    I’m not down to my prepregnancy weight, but I hope to be in a few months. And my friends, who are true friends, hope that for me, too. Anybody who’d make a comment like that to me wouldn’t be a friend. I think it’s interesting that those same women cheer on the bodies that are saggy and flabby and changed, I guess because then they don’t feel so bad about their own bodies. I understand that, but it sure doesn’t put us in a flattering light to be sarcastic, catty, and jealous. And what my attitude and heart look like is more important to me than what my stomach looks like! Stepping off the soapbox now . . . 🙂

  • mopsy

    Sarah, I agree—it was very disappointing to read the negative, anonymous comments from the jealous gallery. I am definately not one of those post-baby string bikini wearing moms, but harbor no ill will toward those who can.

    I thought the whole point was to share what pregnancy does to our bodies. We all know it, but it is nice to hear women finally embracing their bodies as instruments that assist God in miracles (a bad paraphrase of a real quote).

  • It’s good for me to see other women feeling good about their bodies pre-during-post pregnancy (although I purposely avoid having my picture taken while I’m pregnant). I am hoping that I’ll face my body changes better this second time around!

  • Oh Mopsy, thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I love that site.

    I am normal!!!!!!!!!! And the sway of the superhighway… 🙂 isn’t it great?

  • I recently came across that site too. Love it!

  • I love that site. Mostly we see models and actresses after they have had babies. It’s nice to see “real” moms before and after

  • moms_s_t

    Oh the occations when the kids catch a glimpes of my belly(pg or non)they ask what those ‘lines’ are, I answer with ‘each line is a sting to my heart that shows how much each of you were loved before you were born and reminds of the journey you took to get here’. One answered with ‘wow that’s a lot of love’. It certianly is.

  • I’m glad others are finding this site. I’ve had it linked since I discovered it just a few days after it started and have been meaning to write about it. I think it’s an amazing and important blog that is really doing something special.

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