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Participate

July 5, 2006

What to include:
Your first name
Your e-mail address (will NOT be posted without your special request)
Any story you want to share.
Your website if you’d like to share.
Any key words you want to use to identify your post (second pregnancy, cesarean, etc).

If there has been a miscommunication and I added your name or didn’t add something, please e-mail me and I will fix it right away!

Some Notes:
**There’s a backlog of a couple weeks currently. I’m working as fast as I can to catch up, but in the mean time, it will take awhile for your submission to get posted. Please be patient and do not post more than once.

**If, for some reason, you change your mind about the pictures you included or the text you’ve written, please e-mail me the changes, rather than submitting a new entry. I’m finding I’ve posted the same woman’s entry more than once on a couple of occasions, because I didn’t realize it was the same. D’oh!

**And, lastly, please do not submit professional photographs unless YOU are the photographer or can have the photographer e-mail me his or her permission. Due to copyright laws I cannot post photos without the photographer’s direct permission.

Want more info? Read the FAQ! Any other questions or comments? E-mail me!

By clicking the link below to submit an entry you agree…

…to allow me to post your photos and/or story here on this website, and you realize that this is the internet and a public forum.

…that if your photos include nudity, you are over 18 years old and were at the time the photos were taken.

…that I may choose to use your photos or your words in other settings (i.e. on items in the cafepress store, or in interviews, etc). If you absolutely do not want them used in another way, please let me know via e-mail and I will respect that.

Click here to upload!

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68 Responses to “Participate”

  1. Megan Says:
    July 9th, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    ” my son’s food”http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e106/dipsetx09/07_09_06_1740.jpg

  2. zebrabelly Says:
    July 10th, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Good point, Ariel. Well, Flickr allows nudity so long as the photo is private. I think you could upload a pic there, mark it private, and send me the link? We can try that.

  3. zebrabelly Says:
    July 10th, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    Megan, I can’t access that picture. If it was deleted because of nudity, try Flickr like I mentioned above.Ariel, I didn’t mean to delete your comment. I should not work while nursing, the hormones make mt brain stop. LOL

  4. Anonymous Says:
    July 12th, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    I just wanted to say what wonderful, beautiful women. I am right now 33 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby, feeling huge and stretch marks by the dozen….this is a great site for women of all ages, moms, moms to be, even grandparents and dads and dads to be…better we should idolize these real women rather the ones portrayed on other sites…. thanks you again for helping me see myself in a wonderful new light. When I have pics back from being developed (me in a bathing suit last week) I will be sure to post them.erica

  5. Nikkie Says:
    July 13th, 2006 at 11:23 am

    excellent page

  6. Anonymous Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 11:21 am

    WOW! What a truly beautiful site. I am 41 and had my first child 9 months ago. I have a history of eating disorders and body image issues. Getting pregnant terrified me, but I managed, and only gained about 35 pounds. I did manage to lose all my pregnancy weight three weeks after I had the baby, but I am still left with this new “Mommy body” that I HATE. Now seeing this site makes me reconsider the beauty that is inerent in a body that has produced life. I may have some stretch marks, a “kangaroo pouch” and a scar that makes an odd fold in my mid-section, but I also have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. The trade-off is cruel, but nothing to be ashamed of.Thank you, and ROCK ON LADIES!!!!!!!

  7. R.S.P. Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    This site is wonderful. I had a baby girl 3.5 years ago when I was 20 years old. I gained almost 40 lbs, however for some reason I never took any belly shots. I regret it now, I wish I could look back on them today. I feel awkward sharing my pictures here since I am happy with my post-baby body, but I saw that all pictures are encouraged so I’d love to participate. So here are two pictures of me, one from the front and one from the side. I have no idea how I was so blessed to get my original body shape back. I do have a few light stretch marks on my hip, boobs, and my butt, but they are not too visible with the camera. My boobs definitly used to be a lot perkier, those and my saggy butt are my two biggest body insecurities.http://www.1630studios.com/img/robfront.jpghttp://www.1630studios.com/img/robside.jpg

  8. Anonymous Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    This site is amazing. I fell pregnant at 17, I thought I had some of the worst stretch marks in the world, I can now see I’m not alone and my post baby body is totally normal!At about 37 weeks :http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/kattikus/campics952.jpghttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/kattikus/campics954.jpgAnd a year after baby:http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/kattikus/000_0470.jpghttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/kattikus/000_0469.jpg

  9. Goddess on the Highway Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d76/honeydoodle2/1.jpgThis is about what I looked like before I got pregnant. I gained 100 pounds during my pregnancy.http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d76/honeydoodle2/2.jpgThis is me labouring.http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d76/honeydoodle2/3.jpgTouching my son’s head while waiting for the next contraction so I can officially meet him.http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d76/honeydoodle2/4.jpgMeeting my son for the first time. The huge stretch marks, the saggy breasts…all worth it.http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d76/honeydoodle2/5.jpgMy son’s first meal. Beautiful.I have about 60 more pounds to lose (currently 7 months post partum) and I don’t have any recent pictures that show my body but when I do they will be posted.This blog makes me feel so much better. It makes me happy to share my birth photos with women who will see the beauty, and not the “flaws.”

  10. Sarahvbl Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    As soon as I saw the first few postings on this website I cried! I’ve felt like I was the only one with a floppy striped gut. It really made me feel like I wasn’t alone trying to hid my flabby skin. Thank you. And because of this site I’d like to share my images in order to help other women not feel like their the only ones whose postpartum bodies changed after the birth of their children. I had hoped that I wouldn’t get stretch marks from pregnancy since both of my sisters didn’t get any, but around 32 weeks of pregnancy they started to slowly appear. First as little dots on my skin that itched and soon there were many lines running up and down my lower abdomen. I felt pretty insecure about them and would often ask (half jokingly) my husband if he could still love me with stretch marks. He said “Honey I married you with stretch marks! I’ll always love you.” Later after I delivering our daughter he saw my saggy skin and the bright red stretch marks he said. “I like your tiger strips”. Even though I have an incredibly supportive husband I still get those creeping feelings of insecurity that remain in the shadows of my thoughts about myself…8weeks pregnanthttp://static.flickr.com/73/189577076_799b2488a9_o.jpg32 weeks pregnant and still growinghttp://static.flickr.com/55/189577086_ef8ce0e552_o.jpg37 weeks pregnant and up almost 40lbs above my prepregnancy weighthttp://static.flickr.com/72/189577102_61b62acb58_o.jpg4.5 months postpartum & 15lbs from prepregnancy weighthttp://static.flickr.com/57/189577125_153f55a42d_o.jpg

  11. tranquilmama Says:
    July 14th, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you mamas for being so willing to share!!! Your frankness and honesty is helping me come to turns with my changed body. I was 22 when I got pregnant for the first time. Six months after getting married. Never really thought my body was much to look at but it seemed like I was just beginning to come to terms with it and like myself. I really think that one of the main reasons I had such bad ppd after my first was because the way my body changed shocked me. Stretch marks began to appear on my breasts in the second trimester. And the kept getting bigger and bigger and of course sagging lower and lower. Not only that but my beautiful naturally curly hair started growing out straight in my third trimester. By the time by baby was 5 months old I had 4 inches of straight roots and about 10 inches of curly ends. I gained just short of 80 pounds and the stretch marks that started as little red marks under my belly slowly grew to angry red streaks up my belly around my hips, down my buttcrack, on my inner thighs and calves. This is how it started (1st pg, 37 wks): http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=fa3are2.jpg&.src=ph compared with what it looked like at 35 wks, second pg: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=929cre2.jpg&.src=phThe weight mostly came off and I got down to a size 6 before getting pregnant again a year later. But the skin never shrank back. I can’t tell you how many times I got my belly zipped up into my jeans (so I started wearing buttonfly). It really hurt when some of my girlfriends would try to say that I didn’t take care of my skin properly during pregnancy or that if I had tighter abs pre pregnancy that my stomach never would have had to stretch that far. Or when my husbands friends would joke around that I “really let myself go” after getting married. Between my boob flaps, my belly pudge and my hair that just wouldn’t do ANYTHING I was a completely different person on the outside and I felt like I had stepped into a new body. It wasn’t so much about looks as it was about how I felt… akward and ashamed. My tummy was never “flat” and I never had washboard abs pre getting this mama body but I felt pretty and sexy. http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=25b2re2.jpg&.src=phHere’s what I look like 1 day postpartum. http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=542cre2.jpg&.src=ph I look at this picture and to this day just feel akward. It’s beautiful and awesome what our bodies do and even what they look like but for some reason I still can’t get over how akward I feel until I lose most of the weight I gained during pregnancy. Here’s what my belly looks like now, 8 months post second pregnancy. I just realized that these pictures I took are the only ones of my belly, in all it’s glory… http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=a6d7re2.jpg&.src=phhttp://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquilmama/detail?.dir=/27f2re2&.dnm=1bdcre2.jpg&.src=phSomehow it’s immensely freeing to share these photos. It’s somehow making it okay for me to look how I do. ~Thanks for reading~

  12. Kelly Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 8:01 am

    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a50/kellerbell/stomach.jpgThis is my stomach after carrying a 9 lb. 5 oz. baby girl (I gained 55 pounds) and a 9 lb. 9 oz. baby boy (I only gained 10 lbs. because I had all day sickness that lasted 9 months) . It is saggy and stretched out.

  13. jess_in_tn Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 8:19 am

    This is me when I was about 8 months pregnate with my son. He has a big sister who is four that did most of this damage. I only gained 10 lbs with her and 14 with him. I noticed that I really didnt gain any strech marks with him. The ones that I got from my daughter just extended higher and got a little wider. I love looking at other bellies. It helps to know that there are others who dont have perfect tummys.http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d130/jess_in_tn/33weeks.jpg

  14. Amanda M Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 11:38 am

    I am new to this so I am hoping I am doing this right. Found this site as a Doula. I love it. I have 2 boys. 9 and 4. I was so big when pregnant. Now I have lost the weight but not the scars. What happened to my body? My husband says he loves my body just the way it is but I don’t always believe him.

  15. M.K.S Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    I am 16 years old and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on March22nd,2006.In the beginning..http://www.flickr.com/photos/80586476@N00/190283718/and towards to endhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/80586476@N00/190283716/mommys milk is leaking!http://www.flickr.com/photos/80586476@N00/190283715/in/photostream/

  16. Anonymous Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    Hi! I’m not pregnant… yet ;) it’s something i’m aiming for, but i just wanted to share what someone said that by some miracle completely changed my view of my body. I was at an old hangout playing music when I overheard a GUY say to one of my friends that he thinks stretchmarks on women are one of the most beautiful things in the world. He said that so many people go out and spend money trying to get tattoos or piercing to try and represent something while at the same time so many women carry these battle scars of growth and maternity. Its something that nature gives women almost like a right of passage to be carried proudly like tribal markings and for this he thinks they are beautiful.I pretty much cried.Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful project, coming from a young woman who already has growth scars and will probably get birth scars as well. And wanted to let all the women out there know that at LEAST one man recognizes our marks of womanhood.Thanks(i’ll probably be back in the not too distant future with my own photos)

  17. 5sweetnesses Says:
    July 15th, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    For having five full term pregnancies, I have surprisingly few belly photos. Here are a couplehttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/johnynliz/bellyx2.jpgAnd here I am last week with #4.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/johnynliz/selfwmichael.jpgBaby#1 12/98miscarriage 4/99Baby#2 2/00miscarriage 7/00Baby#3 8/01miscarriage 1/02Baby#4 10/02Baby#5 11/03

  18. Sabrina Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 1:33 am

    This is the best site I’ve seen in a long time. I was always super thin ad accepting my post-mommy body has been hard at times but this site makes me proud.This is 36 weeks along with my second baby.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/pjmfamily/2baby36weeks.jpgThis is 2 hours after he was born.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/pjmfamily/2hoursafterbaby.jpgToday, 2.5 years after our second baby.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/pjmfamily/2.jpgI gained 76 pounds with my first and 29 with the second.Not totally bounced back yet and doubt I ever will be, but as I get a little older this matters less and less.

  19. mommaof5 Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 4:43 am

    This is me at 36 weeks pregnant with my 4th and 5th babies . yes i had twins . i have 5 kids under 5 years old. i went from 156 lbs and delivered at 236 lbs. YIKES..this is how i looked at the endhttp://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a201/armywifekelly/Nov27253.jpghere i am as of this am. dont mind the funky tan.. i dont let my tummy see the light of dayhttp://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a201/armywifekelly/Picture2093.jpg

  20. mommaof5 Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 5:12 am

    also wanted to add. that my children are. Girl 11/27/00 she was 8.2lbs 21in full termgirl 06/04/03 she was 8.7lbs 22in 3 weeks earlygirl 06/23/04 she was 7.15lbs 19in 2 days late.boy 12/06/05 he was 6lbs 19in3.5 weeks earlygirl 12/06/05 she was 6.4lbs 19in3.5 weeks early

  21. Amanda Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 8:36 am

    I recently devoted a blog entry to this site and I wanted to share it with you. http://officiallyamom.blogspot.com/2006/07/shape-of-this-mother.html

  22. zebra belly Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 10:08 am

    MKS – I can’t view your pictures, since they are marked private. Please e-mail me so we can work something out!

  23. Anonymous Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 10:43 am

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/55196949@N00/190893744/My son and I fell asleep after our nightly feeding when he was about 3 months old. I just love this picture because he looks so peaceful, but it’s not really one of those pictures that you can add to the family photo album.

  24. Lindsey Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I posted my story and pictures a few days ago, but I wanted to come back and say how motivating this site has been for me. I have decided to do a series of water colors to demonstrate the power of the woman’s body. This is the first in the series and each one will be different, just like every woman is beautifully different. Thank you for this amazing site and the strength I have felt from it.”Beauty of a Curve #1″http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Lmyers1326/beautyofacurve.jpg

  25. Megan Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    This isn’t my photo but its a favorite art piece by Barbara Gregoryhttp://whitecalx.home.comcast.net/barbaragregory.jpg

  26. Kateri Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n224/wetfeet_2006/shapeomom.jpgThis is a picture of me nursing my 7 month old daughter. I have been nursing for four years and my breasts have gone from a somewhat perky d cup to a saggy dd. I miss my old breasts, but when I think of the mutilation required to “restore” them to their former perkiness I want to cry. I can’t do that to my breasts. They are beautiful in their own unconventional way.

  27. Anonymous Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    what a wonderful site! Wear your strechmarks as proud medals to show what you have been thru! I thought i would share my favourtie pics, I am 21 and mother to 2 beautiful girls. belly at 37 weeks with number 1 (one week before i gave birth)http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/Belly06-05-041.jpghttp://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/01-04-04.jpgI dont have any birthing pics from when i had Lily (number 1 babe) as i was uncomfortable with the way i looked as i went from 57kgs to 92kgs which to me was a huge leap. 37 weeks preg with number 2 (charli) http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/37weeks-1.jpghttp://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/37weeks2.jpgLily at 16 months asleep on my belly… love this foto so much i blew it up and have it on my wallhttp://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/lilonmumstumblackandwhite-1.jpgbirthing number 2http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/31stoctober20053.jpgMeeting my daughter Charli for the first time http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b195/NinaNZ/31stoctober20057.jpgI havent taken any fotos of my belly since having my girls, mainly because i feel a lil sad at how bad my boobs sag now and the mummy pouch which altho i carry proudly i am still not comfortable with. I wanna leave this post by saying to all you mummys that you all ahve beautiful bodys!

  28. Tammy Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    The day after I gave birth to my daughter, almost 9 1/2 years ago, my husband pointed to my stomach and said “I thought that would be gone now.” I was devastated, and have remained so ever since. In 2003, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which caused me to gain more weight. 9.5 years post partum, I weigh more now than I did the day I gave birth.I don’t have a tummy photo to share yet, but I so appreciate what I have seen here the last few days as I’ve been visiting.I have learned that before I can do anything about my excess weight, I must first accept and love my body as it is, stretch marks, lumps, rolls and all.I was a skinny-little thing before pregnancy, and thought I had it all. Little did I know that the best was yet to come after my daughter was born. My husband may not ever truly get it, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I get it now and I will be a stronger woman for myself and for my daughter, thanks to you all.

  29. Darshani Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    When I got pg with my first baby I weighed 108 pounds and was a former long distance runner. I was proud of my body. I gained an unbelieveable 65 pounds. After I started pumping milk for my baby (she never learned to latch right) I went from an A to a D cup. In the next nine months after her birth I lost all but 4 of those pounds, and all of the breast tissue, and they looked like deflated balloons for awhile. But my skin was still young, I had some major tummy stretch marks but I still had a flat tummy, and that’s all that matters under clothes, right? Enter the 30′s and baby number two. I only gained about 45 with her, but I was on bedrest and not active at all. Those abs that separated with first baby separated even more with the second. My skin is not as young. More stretch marks. Okay so I did get some hips with baby #2, at least a wee bit of a hint of hips. And a butt. Never had that before. Now at 2.5 years beyond the birth of baby #2 I am only 12 pounds heavier now than I was before I had any kids at all. But my body is oh so different. My arms are fatter, my butt is bigger, and my hips have expanded. I cannot even begin to fit into the same size 6 shorts. I look back at old photos of myself and wonder who that was, and if she appreciated her thin-ness as much as I appreciate the priveledge of becoming a mother.I am not ashamed of my body. I am, on most days, secure with it now. If I can find clothes that flatter me, I’m happy. I have stretch marks. I have flabby skin. If I lose another 12 pounds and become thin as a stick again, I will still have flabby skin. Some of us get the great skin and some don’t. Oh well. Quite frankly, I’m damned proud of those stretch marks. I earned them. I think they are, in their own way, beautiful. When I’m 80 years old I will still be able to trace my finger on my tummy and know exactly where my babies curled up within me. Time will never take that privilege away from me.Here are some photos:This is my tummy at 4 and 5 week pregnant with baby #2. Looking pretty good huh?http://members.cox.net/sukumaran/BellyGallery/weeks4n5.jpgFront view 6 weeks pregnant with #2, old stretch marks from #1http://members.cox.net/sukumaran/BellyGallery/6weeksstretchmarks.jpgFront view at 25 weeks pg with #2,old stretch marks coming in handy! I didn’t get new ones until last month with #2.http://members.cox.net/sukumaran/BellyGallery/week25front.jpgTop view at 30 weeks with #2, separated abs and baby pushing against my bellyhttp://members.cox.net/sukumaran/BellyGallery/week30push.JPGCurrent photos of my belly, 2 years after giving birth to baby#2.http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i22/usamma/tummyfront1.jpg

  30. Mommy2alilman Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    I have never been so happy as tonight when I was given the address for this site. I have and still am so in hate with my post baby belly, but this site just seems to make me feel SO much better. To know there ARE other women out there with the same body as me, definitely helps!I have one child. A little boy who is now 2 years 2 months old. He keeps me goin thats for sure..Prior to my pregnancy I had just lost 30lbs, so I was looking nice, my tummy was quite flat and bam I get the news that Im expecting.Here I am at about 5 months pregnant. The stretch marks were still to come! http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v609/melissanchristian/IM0006271.jpgHere I am when I was about 7 months pregnant.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v609/melissanchristian/1march2304.jpgHere I am at 42 weeks pregnant with him. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v609/melissanchristian/may14-2_edited.jpgHe weighed 9lbs 6oz when he was born. I gained 46lbs during my pregnancy. I had lost it all accept 10lbs within a couple of days which was surprising to me.Today my little boy is so worth all the stretch marks and even the saggy boobs from nursing him. Here I am today, 1lb below my pre pregnancy weight. My belly is definitely not the same as it used to be, but you know what? Thats okay because I have him.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v609/melissanchristian/Picture52.jpghttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v609/melissanchristian/Picture53.jpgThank you so much for making this site so everyone can see what a true, beautiful, womanly body looks like!!

  31. Anonymous Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    I am a mom who has yet to lose all 50 of the pounds I gained during my pregnancy. While I appreciate the idea of this site, I also have mixed feelings about it. First, I am grateful that it has encouraged so many women to reveal their true selves–which I know is not easy to do. At the same time, as I read the many posts, I can’t help but notice a hint of competition. Maybe some of you know what I’m talking about. C’mon, we’re all women, we know what it is. We, as women, have this amazing ability to unite in times of desperation–as in those physically and emotionally painful months following the birth of a first child. Yet, we as women can also be very catty and cruel to one another, disguising our innate need to be better than one another as empathy.Is it really necessary to brag about how quickly you bounced back or how you lost 65 lbs in the first week after the birth of your child? Seriously, what are you trying to achieve by sharing information like that? To make the rest of us, who are still fighting to lose weight YEARS after our babies were born, feel even worse about ourselves?I wanted this site to make me feel better about my body, but it didn’t. Just like the fashion magazines and tabloids, it made me feel like I’m worse off than everyone else. Is it just me, or did anyone else feel this way too?

  32. Andrea Says:
    July 17th, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    My name is Andrea and I gave birth to my son Alexander on July 4th, 2005. I gained 30 lbs with him and by my 6 week check up I had lost all but 4 lbs of my pregnancy weight.This picture was taken 4 days before he was born.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/ammorgan/Jun3006.jpgThese pictures were taken today, 12.5 months after he was born.http://www.dropshots.com/photos/58830/20040112/131827.jpghttp://www.dropshots.com/photos/58830/20040112/131844.jpghttp://www.dropshots.com/photos/58830/20040112/131904.jpghttp://www.dropshots.com/photos/58830/20040112/131939.jpgI am very proud of my body because it nurtured my son and then provided food for him after he was born.

  33. Anonymous Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 7:03 am

    This site has been so inspiring. I cried when I first came here, tears of understanding and finally realizing that its a sign of beauty to have reminders of nurturing babies. All the women who have shared their story, body, I thank from the bottom of my heart.My story is similar to many women here. After becoming pregnant with my first I had a hard time accepting even that change, little did I know what was in store. In the sixth month of pregnancy I began to get the flames of motherhood. The doctor said he hadn’t ever seen the marks as bad as mine as they cracked and bled. Nothing helped and it was the proverbial straw that broke it all. After the birth I had ripped so bad I needed reconstructive surgery. My breasts swelled so large I didn’t even have a bra that fit, which of course created “love” marks on them also. Pregnancy and child number 2 did not add any other ‘damage’ as I think my body was broke in already and I knew what to expect. Now 3 1/2 years post partum I’ve returned to almost my pre-baby weight but definately NOT my pre-baby body shape. There are ‘beauty’ marks in all areas as proof I carried my children in my womb. My breasts are marked and literally had the life sucked out of them for 5 years, years I wouldn’t take back for anything. My stomach is like a deflated balloon and not getting any smaller from seperated abs. My thighs show proof of the extra weight to carry them. I was an itty bitty women before and, now, I am as my oldest likes to say: squishy. Being squishy brings and has brought both my children life, joy and nurishment. Now I know its something to be proud of and respected in all women. Having natures tatoos IS something to be proud of, as one has already said, a gentle reminder of the lives they brought into the world and . http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v40/sarahs29/belly.jpg

  34. Lindsay Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 8:10 am

    This is at 36wks pregnancy. I gained 39lbs and my son was a whopping 8lbs 12oz’s![IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e97/lindsayraines/CIMG0587.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e97/lindsayraines/CIMG0586.jpg[/IMG]And this is 6 1/2 months postpartum[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e97/lindsayraines/CIMG0971.jpg[/IMG]

  35. Tami Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 11:13 am

    I love this site. It’s great. I was facinated by becoming a mother and how it changed my body. I was also very strong willed and determined to make the best of each stage of my pregnancy, including post pardom weight loss. I worked out and stayed in shape until the end of my pregnancy when I got so tired and truly felt like it would never end. I ate a lot of really bad foods and packed on an extra 20 lbs after I had already gained 30 during the first 8 months. I gained 20 lbs in the two months before I got pregnant so that put me up to 70 lbs total. When I gave birth to my son I was 205 lbs. He was 7 lbs 4 oz. I was determined to undo what I had unnessesarily done to myself. In the next 5 and half months I worked relentlessly on diet & excersize until I lost 84 lbs. These are my pictures.(This is me at 10 weeks preggo at about 150 lbs)http://www.alv2.com/images/bellypics/10weeks.jpgThis is me at 39 weeks pregnant 2 weeks and 1 day before my son was born. I was about 197 lbs here.http://www.alv2.com/body/39wks2.jpgAnd Here is my picture journey of weighloss post pardom. I wished I had kept the baby in the background throughout the weeks, that would have been cool but I didn’t realize I was doing it until much later.(This shows me 1-25 weeks post pardom).http://www.alv2.com/body/1-25wks.jpg(One more front pic 5.5 months post pardom).http://www.alv2.com/body/front3.jpgOh and here is a neat picture I photoshopped in of me at 36 weeks preggo at abotu 195 lbs, and about 4 months post pardum at about 135 lbs.http://www.alv2.com/body/beegdiff.jpgMy baby’s website is http://www.alv2.com Thanks for letting me share. : )

  36. Anonymous Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    I have to say that I have felt extremely liberated since viewing this page. It is SO nice to know that I am normal. I also never thought of my stretchmarks as a right of passage, but I have been very awakened by reading this page. I am 23 years old, and got all of my battle scars with my first child at the age of 18. With baby #2, nothing changed much. I am beginning to feel comfortable in my body, and want to thank everyone that has posted here. This is my about 10 minutes ago. http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y155/kyleeandkoltonmom/Picture.jpg

  37. Martha Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    When I first got pregnant, I wasn’t the happiest with my weight, but I immediately relaxed about the whole thing and felt pretty good through the first six months. This was at 6 weeks.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v518/Momomama/6weekbelly.jpgI gained over 60 pounds by the time I gave birth to my 9 pounder, at 41 plus weeks. This was the last picture I took pregnant, other than some nude shots of me laboring that I’m sure as hell not sharing.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v518/Momomama/40weeksDUEDATESIDE.jpgNow, it’s 6 months later and I sometimes feel good, sometimes bad…But mostly I am glad that my FACE is at least back to pre-preg shape!http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v518/Momomama/after6moside.jpgIf not for the stretchmarks, I could confuse this with pics of me 12 weeks pregnant.Thanks for doing this!

  38. Anonymous Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks so much for having this site, until a friend showed this site to me I was under the false impression that it was ‘rare’ to end up with as many stretchmarks as me. Now it turns out its actually more common and I feel much better about myself. I was worried about people seeing all the stretch marks but now I realize it just means I had a baby..absolutely nothing to be ashamed of thanks again!Here’s me at 35 weeks pregnant:http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/marebear8098/085d0059.jpgAnd here I am now and my son is 16 months old:http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/marebear8098/73ff93c3.jpg

  39. Rosalie Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    This web site and all the women on it are wonderful, amazing, inspiring…. Wear those stretch-marks with pride ladies! You have me scrounging for my pre/post pregnancy belly pictures right now!

  40. Anonymous Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    When I was linked to this site, I thought what an amazing site, these women are brave. I felt the need to share this site with my Mommy friends and immediately passed the link around. I told them that there was no way I could ever post my belly, and if I did it wouldn’t have my face or name attached. Which is kind of funny because I have my very graphic birth pictures posted on a friends website( http://www.abirthtoremember.com/pages/unassistedhbac.php ). The thought of showing my belly somehow seemed too personal.Although,the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to share mine. After all my belly was the home of my 3 children for 9 months each. So here’s my name, belly and my face. My name is Brandi and I am a 26 year old Mommy to 3 beautiful children. My children are all 20 months apart, ages 3.5,2 and 5 months old. My first pregnancy I gained 65lbs, I lost 50+ of it. Pregnancy #2 I gained 50lbs. I got back down to pre-baby 2 weight. Pregnancy number 3 I refused to step on the scale, but I am guessing I gained about 30-40lbs. I am currently back down to my pregnancy weight, but my body is just not what it use to be. I am working on it though.Pregnancy #2Son #1 painting my belly.http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/spm023.jpghttp://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/pregE.jpgin between babies 2&3http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/xmas04099.jpgPregnancy 3http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/Untitled.jpghttp://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/halloween128.jpgTaken today @ 5 months postpartum.http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l98/bkenn0801/july06173.jpg My 2 yr old saw me with my belly showing and came over to play the drums on it.

  41. Katrina Says:
    July 18th, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    I just want to say thank you so much for this website! As a mother of three, all delivered by c-section, I will never be the same. I have been sewn up so many times and each time the doc took the old scar and tried to hide it basically leaving one huge long scar. My daughter liked to sit on the left side of my uterus and so I permanently have a bumpy tummy. It makes me so happy to hear how proud you are of your bodies and the changes they have gone through. I truly feel that these are my battle wounds. And I do wear them with honor. I am surrounded by people getting plastic surgery and it is very unnerving. I nursed all three of them and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world! Everything was worth it! Since the kids I have had my gall bladder removed and vericos vein surgery, my legs have spider veins all over them, but I find it amazing after all the stress my body has taken I am still a healthy girl. When I get spontaneous hugs from my sons or a laugh with my daughter I just want to thank God for making me a woman and giving me the privledge to have children. Thank you so very, very much for showing what many REAL women look like! God bless you!

  42. Anonymous Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Well I am a 26 year old mother of 4. My children are 6, 3, 2, and 7 months. I really only documented my last journey, but this site is wonderful and any mother should be proud to be represented here!! I’ve spent YEARS trying to love my body, and I hope to someday be there!! My children were 8.2, 8.9, 8.2, and finally, my smallest, 7.13. The damage pregnancy leaves behind can be pretty bad, but in the end I realize I would much rather look the way I do, than risk some crazy surgery. My husband isn’t perfect, and to this day I have yet to meet anyone who IS..so why worry about it. This is me days away from induction with #3. My ONLY daughter. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v84/kristen4112000/mepregnant/?action=view&current=Mar19160.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch3Here I am about 14 weeks with #4 and my very last baby :( http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v84/kristen4112000/mepregnant/?action=view&current=100_0058.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch5Here we are ready to go. Christmas is coming and baby needs out!! 12 days before deliveryhttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/kristen4112000/mepregnant/100_0365.jpgAND here is me now. Sometimes I stand and look in the mirror, and pull that skin down and ask myself if I would feel better if it wasn’t there. Nah. There would always be something else..something more to fix. Something else not “perfect” in someones eyes. It’s worth it. There are people who would give a leg to have a baby. And if I had to suffer a few stretch marks, some extra baggage and saggage, and some loose skin to have 4, I will count my blessings every single day!http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/kristen4112000/mepregnant/metoday.jpgI still look 14 weeks pregnant when we compare the pics. LOL. OHHH well~http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/kristen4112000/mepregnant/metoday2.jpg

  43. Chasity Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    First off this is an amazing site! I am 29 years old, married with 6.5 month old twins. The twins were my 4th pregnancy conceived after several miscarriages and many, many fertility treatements. After going through all of that, not being able to get pregnant on my own(something that to me every woman should be able to do with no problems) I didnt have much faith in my body or in myself as a woman. When we found out our last attempt had worked and we were expecting twins, I was filled with so many emotions. Mainly would my body reject yet another pregnancy or would it finally do what it was meant to do. I did not even take pictures of my growing belly until 22 weeks when I finally started to feel somewhat safe. Below are some pictures from 22w2d through 6 months post partum.22w2d:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/e6249af2.jpg33weeks:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/f588e433.jpg27 hours before delivery:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/6f95ea07.jpg2 days post c-section:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/bedc96dd.jpg20 days post:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/aa698b87.jpg6 months & 2 weeks post:http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h238/SkiTwins06/b04a555f.jpgI am in awe of the women who have chosen to post their stories and pictures here. It is a wonderful thing and I am thankful to be able to post my own after everything we dealt with. My body finally did its job!!

  44. Anonymous Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Here is my tummy after two kids.http://x1b.xanga.com/a93a5b46d463367417634/z45257171.jpgI weigh the same but my body is dramatically changed.My first child was born by c-section. And she nursed for 2.5 years so my breasts are pretty different too.My second child was born at home via VBAC.While after the first birth things were looser but now I have an upper and lower pooch.

  45. Shan Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    I used to hate my stomach. I’ve always struggled with body image issues. Even photos like this :http://pics.livejournal.com/ectv/pic/000886×7/I would hesitate to allow people to see. Now, it makes me sad to think that I would ever see anything wrong with that body.My first baby was 9lbs 5oz and 22″ long. At 28w I could easily pass as not being pregnant. It was very odd, and frustrating that people would shrug me off…I had a friend who was 4w behind me and people in public would come over and ask her questions and rub her belly, and I was left ignored. Me, at 22.5w :http://pics.livejournal.com/ectv/pic/00089×20/Those are the pictures I treasure the most though, because while i’m still trying to accept the new stomach and body my son left me with, the smooth unlined skin barely ripe with pregnancy seem all the more beautiful.Around 32w I went from 0-60 overnight, and stretchmarks appeared and spread like wildfire. By the end of the pregnancy, they went all the way up to my ribs.40w : http://pics.livejournal.com/ectv/pic/0008bxzx/(and yes, that is the top of my ribs, I have a freakishly short torso)The one change I couldn’t bear to document was the horror under my shirts. I started off as a 34DDD pre-baby. I’ve always been busty. By the time my son was born, my 36J was too small for several weeks. I stuck around a 36H for several months. I was terrified to look in the mirror naked. I would have to get dressed before walking anywhere near a mirror!I did however take one somewhat-nude photo of myself, I believe around 27w pregnant. my boobs are already getting out of hand, literally!http://pics.livejournal.com/ectv/pic/0008aa4s/I can’t help but love them, for I breastfed my son for 2 years, and ended up throwing away enough breastmilk to feed a hungry baby for 2 months, easy…I couldn’t find anyone to take the surplus!The stretchmarks are almost invisible head-on, they are silvery white now…just the lovely color of my skintone ;)However, the light picks them up easily…as they do in this photo :http://pics.livejournal.com/ectv/pic/00087hbf/My son is 2.5yrs old now, and i’m 20w pregnant with my second baby in this photo.The stretchmarks are very visable in the photo for some reason, the lighting I suppose.I keep seeing mothers who bounce back and look like a supermodel after 2 babies even…And I cant help but cry “why can’t I be lucky enough to have that?”But I know I’d never trade my son for anything in the world. He’s worth every stretchmark, and all the scary 36J bras in my closet right now :)

  46. Amy Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Wow what a great thing you are doing here! I know that becoming a mother has been the best thing in my life…but for me and my body there were dark times. I’ve dealt with a weight problem (200lbs average since middle school) and a very low self image all my life. I had just gotten to a weight I felt I could “deal with” when by a miracle I got pregnant after 4 years of trying. I went into it with all intentions of enjoying every minute of it. And I did…from 145lbs to 215lbs. I was ok with that because I had pre-e and thought much of it was water weight. The only part of my body I ever did like was my stomach which throughout my life had been very small compared to the rest of me. My belly didn’t get stretch mark one and I was even able to keep my navel ring in the entire time. Post partum was a slap in the face though…I got bigger. The already too small maternity clothes were bustin’ at the seems and did for seemed like forever. I hated my body and myself for the way I looked. Now going on 3 years since my son was born I am in total amazement as for some reason my body has turned into one that I’ve never known. I’ve lost 30+ lbs in the last year, my already small waist is smaller, I’m a whole size smaller than I was pre-pregnancy…I’m well I’m just amazed. I do still have my issues but when my son wanted to go to the pool this summer and I went to get my first real bathing suit in 6 years I saw a woman looking back at me that made me smile. I’m the mom I always wanted to be and for the first time in my life I’m proud of my body. Yes I feel more self confident because it looks a certain way now, but more importantly it did what it was supposed to do and gave me the child of my dreams. Now lets say a prayer for #2!!! And should my body do yet another turn around and become covered in stretch marks with the next I will think back to this site and wear them with pride! Thank you!http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c41/dlsgrooymom/bellyandchurch.jpgThis is approx 20 weeks…my kitty liked the new head rest but not the punches from within.http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c41/dlsgrooymom/babyonboard.jpgApprox 28 weeks was on bedrest from then onhttp://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c41/dlsgrooymom/Untitled-19.jpg2 hours until deliveryhttp://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c41/dlsgrooymom/2006_0630splash0044-1.jpgThis is me now 2y10months post partum

  47. Em Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 5:45 am

    I love your site.I had my first baby at 29 – gained 20lbs – baby weighed over 10lbs. Second baby at 32 – gained 30lbs – baby weighed over 7lbs. Third baby at 35 – gained 40lbs – baby weighed over 8lbs. I had a vaginal delivery each time. I’ve gained 15lbs over the last 7 years – 5lbs with each pregnancy/baby. In this photo I am in the early stages of labor with #3 (4 hours before delivery). http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/11/2051/1600/DSC01689_edited.2.jpgThis photo is taken 6 months post partum after #3:http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/11/2051/1600/DSC02958_edited.0.jpgI didn’t get stretch marks on my stomach – which I never understood as I got them during puberty on my buttocks, thighs and breasts, and I fully expected to get them on my stomach during pregnancy. My stomach is soft and squishy now… but my body bore me three beautiful children so I don’t mind.

  48. Anonymous Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 6:33 am

    This site has given inspiration to so many women. I have to say, I’m truely touched by all of the stories and beautiful pictures. We should all be proud of the opportunity to have such marks. I have a friend that would give anything to birth her own child. There are so many unfortunate people that cannot have children of their own. I am proud to show off my scars and thank god every day for the 3 miracles he has given me.I first got pregnant when I was 18. I gained about 45 lbs with each child. My two sons are about 2 years apart and my daughter was born 5 years after my middle son. I’m so thankful to have 3 beautiful children. I used to be so scared of what people might think of my body. Now I wear a bathing suit proudly, and am eagerly accompanied by my 3 soldiers to whom I owe my battle scars. Here are recent photographs of me. My youngest will be 2 years old this August (2006). I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Thanks to all of the women who have posted so far. http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/JAYMZN3/IMG_0219.jpghttp://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/JAYMZN3/IMG_0220.jpghttp://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/JAYMZN3/IMG_0231.jpg

  49. Danielle Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 8:48 am

    I am so glad i found this site. I believe that mothers are the most powerful & beautiul women and are at the top of the list. It so great that we have somewhere we can share how beautiful we are and each get a little close just by telling our stories. As soon as i found this site I called and posted it to any mom friends or family. After reading the post i immediately jumped up and started snapping pics. It didn’t even cross my mind the fact that i am shy about showing it all. As i sat down to upload the pictures i thought maybe i wouldn’t post my name just something quick. And now i find myself writing something more than quick and i am willing to put my name…. My name is Danielle. I am 20, and i have a little girl who is 16mos and i am 6wks pregnant with baby #2. With #1 i started out as 125 and i gained somewhere between 25-30lbs. For the first year i was self concious about my weight and hardly wore anything besides sweats. After seeing this link i am starting to feel a little more comfortable in my own skin and would love to share my belly photos for the first time. (First pregnancy 6 days before she was due)http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m299/Danielle20_01/9mos.jpg(6weeks with baby #2 and 16mos PP)http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m299/Danielle20_01/100_2135.jpghttp://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m299/Danielle20_01/100_2129.jpg

  50. Anonymous Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 10:26 am

    I am Jennifer. I am going to be 30 years old this year. I had my first child in 1997 when I was 20 years old. I just had my 2nd child 5 months ago. With almost 9 years between pregnancies, I had time for my body to somewhat recover from the glorious things called pregnancy and childbirth. But you could never tell by looking at me now! :) I am a big girl and have a really hard time getting the weight off the older I get. With Brandan, I was 140 pounds at the beginning of my pregnancy. On the day he was born, I was up to 282 pounds! I gained a whole person. A few weeks after he was born, I went down to 208 and started my weight loss journey. It took me a year to get down to 165 pounds and I looked damn good. Then I had a rough stretch in my life and the pounds just flew on. :) I was at 225 pounds at the start of this last pregnancy with Remy. The day he was born I was 260. Now, 5 months postpartum, I am at 236 and on Weight Watchers for the 4th time. :( My body has been through two c-sections so of course I have my “war wounds” that look so gross. I also have a pooch that I am so quick to hide away tucked secretly in my jeans. I have the saggy breastfeeding boobies. But those I am most proud of. This is my first time breastfeeding and I am so proud of the nursing relation ship I have with my son. It was a struggle in the early weeks because of low supply issues, but we conquered it all! I am frustrated that I am so big and out of shape, but you know what? I wouldn’t trade in a single stretch mark or saggy piece of skin for anything else in the heavens or this earth. When I see my two boys smile, it makes it all so worth it. I nurtured these two babes for 9 months and they took over my body and made me feel awkward, tired, frustrated and stressed but they are both healthy and beautiful just the way it should be! I am flabby. I am overweight. I am exhausted. I am Mommy! :) This is me half way through pregnancy #2 with Remy.http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/5ef90df3.jpg Me and Remy Douglas and hour after his birth. http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/17b81281.jpg First time we nursed.http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/2f3d5424.jpg Me and Remy about 2 months postpartum.http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/189f63e8.jpg 5 months postpartum.http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/2006_0720003.jpghttp://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/2006_0720004.jpg It’s all SO worth it!!http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l212/RemBran/2006_0711008.jpg

  51. dao Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Gayle Markovich Carter http://www.flickr.com/photos/60244878@N00/tags/pregnancy/I gained 40lbs with my daughter, and to this day have lost all but 7lbs of it. I am lucky, my body is almost back into “normal” range, and probably would be if I took the time to work out. But running around after an almost 2yr old IS working out if you ask me, and thats good enough. My boobs sag, and are 2 different sizes now, but so what. I am sure I will have a million other things to work out once I have another one. I invested in some good and comfortable bras since I am ALWAYS wearing one if I am awake & upright, and I just try not to sweat anything else. Thanks for creating this website… it is amazing to see all these different women, bonding togther, so that we do not have to feel alone just because our children are not being carried around INSIDE anymore. Below is my birth story, it was a fairly interesting event, to say the least… my website is http://www.baddao.blogspot.comAugust 3, 2004: Elliott Rose Carter, Welcome to the world. Leave it to me, maybe as my penance for every time someone asked me how my pregnancy was going, and I responded with, “Its Great! No problems at all!” I more than made up for it in my lengthy labor and delivery. Saturday I woke up with contractions coming on well. So I figure, lets walk this baby out. We head out into the neighborhood… Mid afternoon hits and I am sweating out some of these babies, Mom’s timing me, and at 4 min apart, Fer had to run off and bring the car. We are on our way to the hospital.Well, hospitals are fun. And its even more fun when you are admitted, checked out, and find that indeed, walking does bring out babies, but only if you are hydrated. Dehydration only brings on painful and annoying contractions that really, do not do much of anything. I was 50% effaced (looking for magic #100) and 1 cm dilated (and waiting for 10) Awesome. Time to put that tail between my legs and take the long ride back home.Hydration and sleep, thank god, took me the rest of the way. I woke Sunday morning with normal contractions happening again. And yet it took me ALL FREAKING DAY to get anywhere with them. So lets count it so far, yes, that’s 2 full days of labor, not counting the false starts on Thurs and Fri. At 9:30 I couldn’t talk anymore so we head BACK to the hospital.10:30pm I’m admitted, and things are happening. IV started, 3-4 cm dilated, 100% effaced. I hear things like, “Getting to 4cm is the hard part, it’s not going to be too bad now”. “Things usually happen quickly once you hit 5 cm”. “Don’t worry about it, your water should break soon, and once that happens, things are on a roll.” RIGHT.No sleep, night 1. I have already been up for 28 hours when they offer me a sedative to try and catch some sleep for an hour or 2. Wanting this thing to be Fully Natural, I call my childbirth instructor and ask her opinion. With an a-ok on that one, and 1/4 the reccommeded dose, I take a 2 hour cat nap. That is the last of sleep I will see until the 3 1/2 hour stretch I will get Wed night. Someone should have told me that.Labor labor labor all the rest of Monday, the Dr. broke my water at 6pm and by 10pm I was ready to keel over. I was passing out in the 1 min increments between contractions and nodding off. Muttering things like: “Mistake, Can’t make it, No, No, No, No. I know why no one wants to feel this.” Almost midnight and I hear the words, 8-9cm dilated, and, “If you turn into this horrible position, that will bring on the most painful contractions of anyone’s existence, but then it won’t be long. Want to try it?” And for some god-forsaken reason, I did.Which brings us to Tuesday Aug. 3 at 2:03 am. Checked by my nurse after much complaining about needing to push, I was told that I should be prepared, the baby was not quite ready to make its way out, and I could have anywhere from 1 to 4 more hours to go. I was supposed to conserve my energy, as this is when emergencies happen, and at any moment, I or the baby could be in distress if I tried to push too much, too early. I was told I was allowed to “bear down some” when I felt the urge, and that I could get up and move around if it helped, but to be careful.Hearing that, my ass shot outta bed like a freaking rocket, and I quickly crouched over some blankets by the foot of the bed, on my knees, with my arm out to support me. And I bore down. I mean, like BORE DOWN. Like, for the freaking love of god, this baby is getting out come hell or high water and she is coming out NOW. The eviction notice has been signed, sealed and delivered and we are FORECLOSING ON THIS PROPERTY. I shouted, “It’ coming, I can feel it!” and both my Husband & Mom said, no way, you heard the nurse, not yet. To which I responded, IF SHE IS NOT COMING OUT NOW, I WANT HER TO GO BACK!!! IT BURNS! (ring of fire) And they smiled at me, as if to say, Silly Woman, the nurse said Not now, not yet. To which I responded, KRIS, CATCH THE BABY’S HEAD, ITS OUT, ITS OUT ITS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!No nurses, no doctors, on the floor, next to the bed, kneeling, my baby’s head was in the hands of her father, in between my legs.I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Yeah.At 2:18am, after being picked up off the floor by the nursing staff, and one more giant push, Elliott was born. In case you were counting, that was only 15 minutes after I was told that it was still going to be awhile. All I can say is, for shits sake, SOMETHING about that labor had to happen fast.

  52. Amanda Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    http://vergeofood.blogspot.com/2006/07/it-could-be-worse.html#linksWay to advocate for all of us! Not enough women in this society get to see the REALITY of motherhood. We see celebrities in all their glory, but we don’t see what they go through to return to their previos state. The rest of us just have to grin and bear it with pride!

  53. lovmelovmycats Says:
    July 21st, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for posting all these lovely pictures of loved mothers. My daughter is a treasure, and I love my body now more than I ever did, because I am so proud of it and all the hard work that belly did, and the work my breasts do now. Here is me and my sister when I was 6 months pregnant:http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j51/lovmelovmycats/Stacey/P7170132.jpgHere is my belly and breasts 8 months post-partum:http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j51/lovmelovmycats/Stacey/closeup8mopostpartum.jpgand here is my body in the mirror, 8 months post partum:http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j51/lovmelovmycats/Stacey/8mopostpartum.jpgThanks again!Stacey

  54. Anonymous Says:
    July 21st, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    I think this site is amazing! I?ve had body issues for a VERY long time. I was stick thin throughout much of my childhood, I remember in middle school someone joking with me that the crap food I was eating would catch up with me, I laughed at them, now I LOATHE them. Because it did! By high school I developed, I don?t remember ever buying a bra in a cup size smaller then C? I was ashamed of my body and my chest. I hid them as best I could, sport bras worked great at this. I struggled with my weight, never feeling pretty enough or thin enough. Being tall and wishing I was the tiny, cute cheerleader? it sucked! In 2001 I managed to lose 30 pounds and for once in my life actually liked my body. Slowly the weight crept back on though and by the time I got pregnant in 2006 I was right back where I started, at least it was gradual right? HA! I was really worried what pregnancy might do to my body, but dieting while trying to conceive was darn near impossible. Each month that my period showed I needed to drown my sadness and when my period wasn?t here I didn?t want to diet IN CASE I was pregnant?. You get the picture. So I started my pregnancy at the overweight range for my height. And somehow I never loved myself more, I actually loved the belly I was growing and wore it proudly. I was fine with showing early, I wanted the world to know I had finally achieved the goal I had worked so hard for. So, I ate everything I could for the first 26 weeks or so, then came the diagnosis for Gestational Diabetes. I was devastated. Again my body issues resurfaced, because to me this was an indication that I was fat and/or unhealthy. The diet depressed me, who wants to diet when they?re pregnant? Well let me tell you, that that diet was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. It made me stop pigging out, and made me take notice. My weight gain slowed down and I was able to control the GD with diet! Best of all, my daughter was safe, as I had done my job.Towards the end of my pregnancy the scales got dangerously close to 200, but thanks to the diet they never tipped over it! By the time I made it home with Antonia I was down 3 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and within a couple months I was down approximately 15 pounds from my pre-pregnancy and 35 pounds total! I attribute this to breastfeeding and SHEER exhaustion, but whatever works! I am still not happy with my body and I miss how proud I was of it when I was pregnant. I know I will never have a flat stomach, my one trouble area, but I wish it wouldn?t bulge in weird ways. I hate how even now with the weight loss nothing seems to fit right, one size up and they fall off, the current size and my fat starts to roll over the waistband of pants. I wish I didn?t care, I wish I didn?t walk around sucking my stomach in to be something I?m not, but unfortunately I do. Here are some pics? http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/ajsbabysmama/Shape%20of%20a%20Mom/082005.jpgBARELY showing, but loving every inch of it http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/ajsbabysmama/Shape%20of%20a%20Mom/103105.jpgThe stretch marks popped up sometime around week 30? too bad they didn?t stay away the whole time. http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/ajsbabysmama/Shape%20of%20a%20Mom/020606.jpgI delivered two days later at 8:25 in the morning! http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/ajsbabysmama/Shape%20of%20a%20Mom/DSC06420.jpgHere I am today? the stretch marks are still there and while my stomach may look great to some of you, I am ashamed of how it hangs. OR I WAS, this site has helped me to understand why it?s that way and even more importantly embrace it? as long as I have my little bean to look at, all the marks, fat and body issues are worth it. Can someone please just tell me how I can keep her from having these issues? http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/ajsbabysmama/Shape%20of%20a%20Mom/DSC06423.jpgThat?s what I meant about the bulge over the pants? I HATE IT!Thank you for the opportunity to share my story… it has truly helped in a cleansing sort of way! Here’s me and my daughter~Bronwyn

  55. Caren Says:
    July 22nd, 2006 at 2:44 am

    Hi, My name is Caren. I’ve added my own post to my website. Here’s the link:http://thestorytimes.com/wordpress/?p=115Thanks for this site. Its wonderful!-Caren

  56. nubianamy Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    This web site is absolutely fabulous. I was 20 when I attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and had the opportunity to see lots and lots of naked women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Finally — what real women look like!I have always been super-skinny. It was a source of frustration while growing up, because I am super-tall, too, and the beanpole look was not at all “in” in the 1980s. Now I am very comfortable with my body.I think women of all sizes are beautiful, and all you mamas, be proud of your “battle scars”! Tiger stripes are beautiful and so are ours.I was 145 lbs when I got pregnant with my daughter. I gained 50 lbs. Now it’s 4 months postpartum and I’ve lost all but fifteen of those pounds, mostly from breastfeeding. I am hoping to keep them! My belly is soft and squishy — I like touching it. I have some gentle stripes. My linea nigra is still dark, though it has flaked off with some scrubbing… I still have some tied up in scar tissue just below my navel, and I don’t see that going anywhere. 22 weeks: http://www.flickr.com/photos/95797679@N00/61336972/40 weeks: http://www.flickr.com/photos/95797679@N00/109052154/18 weeks postpartum: (front) http://www.flickr.com/photos/95797679@N00/197484726/(side) http://www.flickr.com/photos/95797679@N00/197485614/(closeup) http://www.flickr.com/photos/95797679@N00/197485786/

  57. Anonymous Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 5:34 am

    I have always had a poor body image. I hated my body prior to getting pregnant. I had a huge scar on my stomach and always felt like I needed to lose weight and was never happy with my body.While I was pregnant I had never been happier with my body. I LOVED my body pregnant. I felt so good about myself and I loved the way I looked. I feel like I never looked better than when I was pregnant.I figured after I delivered my baby I would go back to hating my body and my body would never return to the way it was. I have been lucky and it did go back somewhat to the way it was before (although my C cup breasts are now A’s). I have to say I think my body is better now that it was prior to my pregnacy I think a large part of that is due to the fact that I learned to acutally love my body while I was pregnant.Here are 3 photos of me 38 weeks pregnant:[IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/khand77/IMG_1125.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/khand77/IMG_1114.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/khand77/IMG_1095.jpg[/IMG]Here I am 12 months post partum[IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/khand77/12mpp.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/khand77/12mpp-1.jpg[/IMG]

  58. Katie Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    I am a 26 year old mother of one, my amazing son, Patrick. Despite remaining very active during my pregnancy, and not gaining any weight until the third trimester, I still managed to pack on 40 lbs in the last six weeks. I’ve included a picture of a hike to the top of a local waterfall at 33 weeks, over 4 miles round trip. We still do not have an explanation for the weight gain, but it happened. After 25 hours of natural labor, my con was born during a c-section because he was turned, and rather stuck. He was born 6/9/05 at 36 weeks, 6lbs, 11oz.My weight loss was good at first, I quickly lost 25 lbs, but then stalled, and actually gained 10-15 of that back. I’m just now back below 185, getting closer to my prepregnancy weight of 170. I plan to try to loose more though, and get back to 150 if possible.I applaud your efforts with this site, as they have encouraged me to be proud of my badges of honor rather than ashamed!I will add my photos to the group.Thank you so much for doing this site!

  59. Kimberly Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    First I want to say thank you for such a lovely, wonderful tribute to mothers and mothers-to-be. :) All of your images are beautiful and unique to yourselves. The only thing that saddens me is there are really no plus-size gals on the site. :( I’m only 16 weeks pregnant myself, but maybe I’ll be brave enough to post by the time I’m further along. Thanks for the inspiration!

  60. Miss Weezee Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Wow… Finally some new friends that look the same as me! Of all my group of Mummy friends I am the only one who came out with extra weight. I have gone through the last 20 month’s feeling bad about not getting super skinny and I was breastfeeding!!I am now trying for number two and look forward to again being pregnant as that was the first time in my life I can truely say I LOVED MY BODY!!Thanks for posting your pictures and I look forward to checking in and doing that readjustment self talk … maybe i’ll even post some piccies :)

  61. Carrien Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Honestly, I’m ashamed to admit I’m a little frightened by what I’ve seen on this site. I’m 4 months along with my third child, and I know that the last one did way more damage than the first in terms of my postpartum appearance. I was thinner after my first baby than before, with negligible stretch marks. The second left me much heavier and more tired and and took a really long time to get to a place where I liked being in my body again. I think I just avoided looking until I lost enough weight. I don’t know what it is about these pictures but it’s as though I am looking for the first time at something that frightens me, and I want to run away, but I can’t, because this baby is already here and growing. And I can’t pretend to myself anymore that it isn’t possible that my body will forever change in ways that I don’t want it to as a result of allowing these lives to enter it.Now I need to figure out how to be okay with that.

  62. Agi Graham Says:
    July 30th, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Bonnie,I’m sure you’ve lost track of how many times you’ve heard this by now but, I love, love, LOVE your website. I was looking in the mirror each day thinking, “Ugh!” and your site helped me not only to see that I was not different from all of the other mothers out there, but also that my body is beautiful and that the lumps and marks I have are just the badge of honor, courage and strength I have earned on my journey through motherhood.I have posted a link to your site and my story on my blog, here:http://granikfamily.blogspot.com/2006/07/shape-of-this-mother.htmlThank you again!Blessings,Agi

  63. Anonymous Says:
    July 31st, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I think this is a great site!!!!! Its great to see what REAL ladies look like. We are not in LA and having c-sec and a tummy tuck so we look better AFTER having a baby than we did before. The only thing that kinda made me sad, is most of those that have posted pics of themselves, are pretty thin. Practically perfect body to me. I am overweight and would love to see other REAL woman with curves after having a baby. I have a hard time relating with some ladies who are 95lbs and say they HAVE to get down to 75 cuz they are so fat! I am a mother of 5. I have horrible stretch marks and I am over-weight. We are TTC #6 and I hope one day to get to my goal weight. But try to be happy with where I am and not stress it. I try to feel beautiful about myself but at times its hard. I will never wear a bikini again, but I am proud of my Mommy belly. Jenn in Delaware, Mommy to 5

  64. Anonymous Says:
    August 2nd, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    It’s been 4 weeks since I had my healthy, beautiful baby boy. I gained 40 lbs duing pregnancy and have so far lost about 25. I’m beginning to recognize my breasts again. The stretch marks are still very fresh but at least the huge, blue veins are going away! And I guess they’ll never be as perky or firm again either, but I can handle that. I had a c-section through, and can really relate to the pouch of skin just above the incision that other women have talked about. I wasn’t psyched about having the c-section, or about the idea of a permanant scar, but I’ll get used to it. It’s my secret battle scar, as no one who sees me will ever know that I am a mother. This is because I placed my son for adoption. Mothers do come in all different shapes and sizes, and this website is a good reminder of the different experiences that all can somehow collectively be called “motherhood”. I don’t feel like I fit into that club very much, but when it comes to my body, my scar will always be there reminding me of my temporary membership. Thanks for helping me see that I’m not alone, and helping me be proud of having the scars to show!

  65. Anonymous Says:
    August 4th, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    after reading through this site it makes me sad to think that the comments of everyone around me made me feel so horrible with the way i look that i did not take any photos to remember how i looked. before i got pregnant i had lost alot of weight, i went from a size 20, with a 38DD to a size 9 and 36C. i had always been told i had a “nice rack”.i have always been bigger, i have been covered in stretch marks since i was 10…so being re-covered in stretch marks was nothing new to me, by the time i was 6 months pregnant i was a size 24, so i had even more stretch marks…comments from my family when they asked to see my growing belly made me feel so bad about myself. once i took a picture of my belly just to get a good view of how i looked, when i showed it to my husband he gave a slight grimace and told me that someday all that will go away…i cried. i wish i had seen this site before i had my son, who is now 6 mo old, i would have loved to share my pictures with everyone on this wonderful site….i will definitly share this site with my friends. i love you guys. at least i dont feel so horrible with the way i look being 6 mo post pardem. oh, and one of my old boyfriends, who hadnt seen me since i was 8 month pregnant told me that i had “nice enhancements from being prengnant” that is a total boost of confidence.

  66. Anonymous Says:
    August 17th, 2006 at 10:15 am

    I realize now that alot of women are in the same boat as me, I had my first child at the age of 16. When I first got pregnant I wieghed 125 pounds, and I thought I was big then! I miss my body from before and think about how I want to get back down to that weight. After having a healthy 9 pound 5 ounce son who is already nine months old, im left at 205 pounds. Its really upsetting when your walking through the mall or running errands and you see those moms who have lost all there weight within weeks and dont have a stretch mark in site! When my mother told me about how I should check out this website I wasnt expecting something this beautiful… the people here who share there pictures I wanted to say you all look great and It makes me feel so much better about my sagging stomache and lost bellybutton.Eventually we will all loose our baby weight some day but for now we should just enjoy the most precious thing/things in our lives like our children! Thanx for letting me leave this wonderful website with a bigger smile and a warm glow! Remember You all are beautiful, you gave life to another wonderful human being.

  67. Anonymous Says:
    September 25th, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Hi there; i’ve been following your site since it was created. I am not a mother, and will not likely be one for many more years. However, I am deeply touched by your site. This morning in my women’s studies class (I am a fourth year university student)I gave my professor this website. I hope it can help every woman in my class recognize the beauty, the uniqueness, and the awe inspiring potential each of their bodies posses, as it has helped me in ways I cannot articulate. Many thanks and kindest regards.

  68. Someone'sMother Says:
    March 17th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    This site is absolutely amazing! After seeing all of the beautiful women on here, I got the courage to take some photo’s of myself. As soon as the submissions are back up, I will post them (anonymously of course).

    I was feeling like I was one of the only ones left with a pooch after giving birth. It’s nice to know I’m not.

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