Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Shape of a Mother

Here's a pro-mommy web site that has an interesting slant. It's mission is to expose the reality of mothers' bodies (i.e. stretch marks, tummy blubber, sagging boobs, overweight, etc.) so that other mommies (who are suffering with the same disfigurements) can see that said disfigurements are normal. The web site author's dream is to create a site where post-baby bodies can be celebrated and "cherished" because they've "done so much for the human race".

So how it works is that moms with stretch marks, sagging breasts, etc. send the author naked photos of themselves (and accompanying stories of the body issues they're dealing with due to having children) which are then posted on the web site so that other moms with the same disfigurements can see them and feel comforted that they are not alone in having these body issues. Sagging breasts, tummy blubber, overweight and stretch marks are normal and beautiful.

Although not meant to be, this odd little website is a reinforcement to childfreedom, graphically demonstrating two of The Top 100 Reasons Not to Have Kids (and Remain Childfree):

18. You will have the time and energy to exercise regularly and take care of your health and appearance.

30. You will be better able to retain your youthfulness and sex appeal
because your body will not be ravaged by childbearing and a crappy diet.

While not a childfree site by any means, The Shape of a Mother web site does a service to all women (mothers and non-mothers alike) by showing what pregnancy and childbirth really do to women's bodies. Honest depictions of the ravages of childbearing are hard to come by in a culture which glorifies and glamorizes pregnancy and motherhood. Turn on the television or look in any women's or celebrity magazine and these are the types of unrealistic fantasy images you will see of pregnant and post-pregnant bodies:

And then we have the reality of real women's pregnant and post-pregnant bodies - women like your friends and family members who do not have the luxury of air brushing, stylists, personal trainers, plastic surgery and dieticians:

So thank you, The Shape of a Mother, for reminding me of one of the many blessings of being childfree. You didn't mean to do it, but you just provided me with a big dose of gratefulness for the life (and body) I have chosen.


Gumby said...

That first one has got to be the most disgusting thing I have ever seen - and my husband works at the county morgue, mind you, where I have helped him hose down tables post-autopsy!

As if the lies about regular ol' "natural" beauty in those stupid women's mags aren't bad enough - we're spoon fed more about how "beautiful" pregnancy is and how it really doesn't change your body long term!
*eye roll*

Lynn said...

I have seen this website and it freaked me out!!! If someone was on the fence about having a baby one sight of this site and they may become childfree!!! Thanks for the post.

ChildfreeForever said...

That website is horrible *shudders* I'm so glad that my body is never going to end up looking like that.

I've always found pregnancy itself to be repulsive, but the aftermath is even worse!

Love your blog by the way, I've been reading through all the old entries over the last week or so and I think it's great! You are very eloquent indeed. Keep up the good work :)

CFVixen said...

OMG! I am in no way happy with my body right now, but it looks smooth and almost toned compared to some of those pictures! I don't need "help" in making it look worse.

Childfreeeee said...

CFVixen...I sympathize! My body needs some work too but DAMNED I cannot imagine what it would look like if I had had children!

Welcome, Childfreeforever! Glad you are here :)

Gumby, I just about fell off my chair laughing reading your comment about the morgue.

Christine, I thought the same thing...that website could sway a fence sitter toward childfreedom...most definitely.

Anonymous said...

I died when I saw that first picture! Gross. I could not imagine my husband ever wanting to approach me if I looked like that. I don't think I would ever look at myself again, either. So glad I'm dodging that bullet!

Sea_creature said...

Eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!! The outside is nasty enough, then we have the damage on the inside, too. I don't wanna 'tinkle' a little if I laugh to hard...

Some women are lucky and don't get such awful stretchmarks and saggy boobs. My mom was one of them. I tend to take after my dad's side though and I'd rather not find out if I got the lucky genes.

sara star said...

I think that the mission of that website is really good--men who want children with their wives should be aware that they will need to change their ideal of pretty if they want to make that sort of life with their woman.

On the other hand, it is also a warning for women who don't want to face additional body issues of what post-pregnancy involves.

I look at those images and see women who deserve to be loved and valued for being lovable people not just because they have signs of mother hood.

A dear childfree friend of mine had breast cancer, she has scars and she deserves love and sexiness just as much as any other woman on earth.

What I don't want to see is women who have had children priviliging themselves over childfree and childless women. Our bodies face difficulties too, and we are doing what is right for us.

SwissBarb said...

While I do agree that this website does all women a favor by showing a part of reality, I have to say I also know plenty of women who have had 1,2,3.. kids and whose bodies are better than mine. But of course those are the ones who are not "just" mothers and keep taking care of themselves, doing sports, eating right, etc... and are genetically blessed!

Julia said...

Ya know, my tummy is a little wobbly, but the skin is smooth and soft and it's websites like this that make me appreciate it. I LOVE not procreating...

Anna said...

I agree that some people, like tall, think stick figures, often retain their body after pregnancy. But I'm a curvy petite woman of middle eastern background, so I'm scard to consider what will happen to my hips!

Anonymous said...

I know that this post is years old now, but I've been back-tracking your blog out of keen interest and this entry hit home. I'm a heavily tattooed person, and I love the way in which I have been able to modify my body. I have beautiful wearable artwork that I enjoy every day. One of a zillion reasons why I don't like the idea of carrying a child is because I LOVE my body. The idea of potentially ruining my lovingly modified and crafted body makes me sick. Not to mention that the idea of having something living inside of me puts me in mind of that famous scene from 'Alien'.

Unknown said...

I've always been overweight, and this has occasionally given me days where I absolutely hate looking at myself in the mirror. I can't imagine having huge stretchmarks or c-section scars, saggy breasts and/or giant folds of loose skin on top of that.