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Response

July 27, 2006

There are a few things I wanted to touch on that I’ve been hearing around the web recently.

First some would claim that this site isn’t a very balanced view of what pregnancy does to a body. To that I would say, perhaps not. But who needs to see perfect bodies when that’s what we see every single day in the media? In any case, this site sure seems to have a beautiful diversity of bodies from lean to overweight and everything in between.

I also want to make clear here that I am not promoting unhealthy lifestyles by welcoming those who are overweight to post here. I am an advocate of eating healthy and exercising. However, I know since I have struggled with weight for all of my adult life that it is NOT EASY for some people to maintain a healthy weight and I will not censor any entries. It has been said, and I’m sure all the ladies here will laugh with me at this, that stretchmarks only occur for lazy women who do not work ontheir physical shape. I laugh, but it’s an offensive, ignorant thought.

Lastly, I want it to be clear that I do not choose what to post here. I have not yet seen an submission I wasn’t willing to use (in other words, I will post anything appropriate). So what you see is not my decision, but the choice of each woman who has been so wonderful as to share with us.

There has been some criticism, yes, and I definitely wanted to address it (particularly since I wasn’t able to respond in the news article I posted earlier today), but the fact is that the VAST majority of comments about this site are positive and empowering. You ladies rock. Keep it up!

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26 Responses to “Response”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    People have been criticising your site? My goodness! It disturbingly sad that the sight of ‘less than perfect’ women’s bodies (i.e. all the wonderful variations of normal) can be so offensive to people’s sensibilities. A clear indication of our cultural brainwashing.Your site is a breath of fresh air. Somewhere where the truth – in all its diversity – can be told. Keep up the good work. Pen

  2. thordora Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    IMAGINE. someone badmouthing a site empowering women. And I’m sure many of the badmouthers are, sadly, women.Some of the people with the WORST stretchmarks that I know ARE thin. However, they eat like crap. I’ve fought with my weight for a LONG time due to mental illness, and lately, quitting smoking. Anyone critizing the site is likely too lazy to expose themselves to reality, since after all, with the internet, they don’t have to.I firmly support what you’re doing. Keep it up. I always thought I was the only one with flat bread belly. I’m so glad to now know that I’m not.

  3. Kate Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I think you should issue a challenge to the negative commenters to post a photo of their perfect bodies :-)

  4. Ellen in Conn Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Hi, all. My daughter is 21 and she loves my stretch marks. She climbs in bed with me (Still!!) and pulls up my shirt to admire and touch them. She is so weird, and I love it. She wants me to be content with my body and tells me she thinks it’s just fine. But she is 150 lbs of muscle and fire, what does she know? Still, I appreciate her thoughts. My weight has crept up (in 17 years) since my second/last child, to the point where I tell myself that if I just gain another 5 lbs I can have another baby ;) . Too bad there’s no baby in there – all this weight gain wasted on mindless fat!

  5. peppypilotgirl Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    What is “balanced”? Is it giving equal time? Is it mimicking the proportion of heavier women to slimmer women in the population? Is it saying whatever the critic wants you to say?I heard a sermon once and, after the service was over, a congregant complained to the priest that he hadn’t given equal time to the other side. The priest responded, in essence, that it was his bully pulpit and not a debate and he would preach his beliefs.This is your bully pulpit and you have offered it to each of us to make our own statement. You have not said, “If you are skinny, do not post” nor “If you are fat, do not post”. You have said, “If you share your stories and your unretouched pictures, you will help women toward a realistic notion of what people who have been pregnant look like.” You are, therefore, bound by what’s submitted – fat, thin, scarred, striped, or polka dotted. Balance has nothing to do with it — your audience becomes the balancing agent, not the site itself.And I, for one, bless you for it.

  6. Amber Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    Huh. The last I heard, stretch marks were genetic??? *eye roll* The beauty of the internet is that if you find a site you don’t like, you don’t have to visit it. ;o)

  7. Desiree Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Definitely sad that you would have to post something such as this. People have no couth.Anyway, keep up your site. You addressed their concerns, now keep up the great work and disregard the future negatives!

  8. The Laundress Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    Hello, thank you for this blog! I have one of those less-than-perfect bodies, lots of pudge added with each pregnancy. Recently started exercising and even more recently actually pleased to be working out. When I am at the gym, I do notice women with heftier bodies than mine who are sturdier and healthier, able to work out much longer and harder. I am admiring them more and more and less compelled to get skinny. Fit would be fine.Body image and self-esteem have a lot more to do with what is inside your head than hanging about your hips…But one woman, last week, hanging out at the pool with her kids, was wearing a bikini. She had a lovely, toned and slim body. And a dark spiderweb of stretchmarks covering her body. I found them beautiful in a really unfamiliar way, but thought she was pretty brave to just let them hang out and enjoy the pool. You almost NEVER see stretchmarks anywhere, except locker rooms. They sure are not shown in ANY magazines or ads. But a lot of women have them… hmmm.Thank you to all of the women who have been sharing here!

  9. Special Red Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    It honestly doesn’t shock me that there’s criticism. People fear what they don’t understand. It’s a natural response for people who have never really seen an honest body to be afraid and shocked. And yes, sadly, most of the critical are women. Like I tell my husband regularly: women don’t get dressed up to go out for the men, they do it for the other WOMEN. I’m sorry, maybe I have the wrong impression of this site (sarcasm), but I thought the point was to celebrate ALL body types for their miraculous bringing forth of new life, not to belittle, berate, or otherwise criticize any willing participants. Hate to shock the nation, but THIS is what real women look like. We’re not all stick thin, we’re not all overweight. Our diversity within our group of “motherhood” is EXACTLY what makes this site something I support. You can “let it all hang out” here. You can post a photo without the fear of biting, nasty criticism from someone who feels it neccessary to put others down to prove their own superiority. And, sorry if this sounds harsh, but those who choose to offer nasty remarks without posting their own photos? Those are the types that need to justify their own insecurities by putting others down. I have, and will continue, to firmly support this site. Bonnie, I got yer back. I think you’re doing a fabulous job, and I think all the women who participated are BEAUTIFUL, no matter size, shape or color.

  10. Anonymous Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    Boggles my mind why people would be critical about a website that NO ONE IS FORCING THEM TO VISIT. Weird.Beautiful site. Keep it up!

  11. Mama D Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    I would definately disagree with anyone who claims that this site is promoting unhealthy lifestyles.From what I have seen the majority of the posts have been from women with what I would call normal, healthy bodies. I too believe in eating healthy and exercising and do that when time allows while caring for a young baby. The reality is that many people – although they may be eating right and exercising – don’t look thin and fit. I think it’s unfair for people to assume that the majority of the posts here are of unhealthy women just because they don’t all look lean and trim. What I find is so beautiful is that mothers can come here and feel comforted to know that it’s okay if they have stretch marks or extra skin or dark nipples… That they aren’t the only ones. That it is time we all embrace our bodies and take the best care of them that we can so that we will be here a long time to take care of the babies we brought into this world.

  12. Anonymous Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    Just rediculous! People kill me! And if they don’t like what they see/read … there’s a little red X at the top right hand side of the window … CLICK IT!To the ignorant person/people who said ‘stretchmarks only occur for lazy women who do not work on their physical shape’ … ummm FYI … The elasticty of a woman’s skin determines that! Some of us are more stretchy than others! Plain and simple as that! It has absolutely NOTHING to do with being fit, healthy, lazy, active, thin or fat!This site is WONDERFUL! I totally enjoy coming every day to read the new stories! :0)Thank You for putting up this site!

  13. Adrienne Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Amen sista! I LOVE this site. It is so uplifting and REAL!! THANK YOU!!!!!And I LOVE the 007 Breast Gallery link, I’ve been wanting to post about it on my site but haven’t yet. I found it while searching for “breasts after breastfeeding”, and found it supportive to see “real” boobys.

  14. julie Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    That’s ridiculous. This site is wonderful!If people don’t like it, they can go somewhere else.

  15. The Shape of a Mother Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    Another thing I wanted to say was that I think people see what they want to see. I have heard people complaining that there aren’t enough “perfect-looking” women here and I’ve heard people complaining the exact opposite. I think people get so caught up in how they see themselves that they can only see what they think they are. Does that make sense? Basically, I think people are too caught up in their own issues to see the true balance of this site.

  16. Ash Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    My thoughts are that sure, you can enrol in mom and baby bootcamp, sure you can spend a few hours a day in the gym, sure you can go on a calorie restricted diet within a couple of weeks of giving birth, but – will you be giving your baby all of you and managing to breastfeed adequately, take care of baby, wake up at night etc, while you do it? If you’re certain that you can, then go for it!For me it was a simple choice: The babies came first. Some people are lucky enough to have the pregnancy padding fall off after giving birth, to have their muscle tone spring back immediately, to be blessed with babies that sleep through the night and an unlimited milk supply. If you’re not one of those people then you have to work at it. I personally don’t believe that having a newborn baby is the right time to be doing that, but of course, each to her own.I’m just glad that you have a site celebrating the diversity of effects motherhood has on our bodies. Thank you for everything you’re doing here.

  17. karrie Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 5:02 am

    I’d like to address the issue of overweight and exercise since I’m one of the heavier women who shared a picture here. In short, its not often as simple as it seems to those who have never strugggled with their weight. I gained 100 pregnancy related pounds while walking, swimming, lifting weights, and doing yoga. My diet is very healthy–mostly whole foods based and lots of produce. I also threw up my shoes several times per day, while pregnant. How fair is that? Sometimes your body just does what it wants, especially when pregnancy hormones are in the mix. I shared my pictures because I hoped to help others who gained a lot of weight while expecting. I remember Googling pregnancy weight gain and finding very little mention of gains above 50 pounds. Most people “bounced back” with fairly little effort. I do not begrudge their good genes, but likewise it needs to be known that its not always as simple as cutting out “extras” and staying active. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Women need to know that.

  18. Victoria Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 7:00 am

    A lot of people just really suck. Who cares if you feature more overweight people? There are tons and tons of overweight people walking the earth, and they deserve a place somewhere on the internet too. Last I checked, you and the people who support this site were paying the rent on this mammyjammy. Someone wants to creat yet ANOTHER skinny mommies after pregnancy website where people congratulate themselves for being so damn awesome – let ‘em. People just don’t get it, just because being healthy comes easily to you, doesn’t mean it comes easily to everyone. Some women are beyond depressed after becoming a mom (sometimes before), and it doesn’t just go away, and to them it doesn’t matter what they look like because they are dying inside, some have metabolic problems, some have never had to lose weight before and don’t know where to begin, and some actually like being overweight and are happy no matter how they look. The thing we all know about being overweight is that is almost always attached to an emotional scar. Overweight people can diet all they want, but until they deal with their problem beneath the folds of skin and fat, they will not be successful.It’s always easier, looking in from the outside, to tell someone else how to run their lives, what to do, how to act, what to be. When it comes right down to it though, these people do not exist in the real world. They would have all of their teeth knocked in if they were to ever say these things to someone to their face in the same disrespectful manners they use on the ‘net. They come around on the internet to skulk behind their anonymous or fake screen names to try and make everyone feel as shitty as they do inside. Great, you’re happy with your outside – now what are you going to do with that pathetic excuse for a personality and the deprivation of compassion for another human being? For every crabby bitch who comes here to complain about how fat and lazy some people are, just remember that person needs several sessions of therapy and a frigging group-hug.

  19. ceece Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 7:58 am

    hah, women are a mess aren’t we? Rather then celebrate each other, we shoot each other down.Good for all of us that have shared our experience, strength and hope.This site is a amazing and as Red stated above, people fear what they don’t understand.keep it up ladies. you are all fabulous!

  20. ~JR~ Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 10:22 am

    I think you have an amazing site here and I look at it every day. Since finding it, my perception of my own body has completely changed for the better and I’ve linked to this site on all my own sites. You are a spectacular human being, never change.

  21. Anonymous Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    Something people need to understand is that unless it is an extreme amount of overweight, the weight is only a possible symptom of ill health, not a cause. The extreme weight matters because of the stress it causes on joints and the way it compacts internal organs. The excess fat in itself isn’t a big deal–it’s only stored energy, nothing more, and is something we should expect our bodies to have when we live with plenty.Extra body fat can be a sign of ill or declining health, that is true. But it isn’t a character flaw, and it by itself does not signify that the person is unhealthy. You would have to look at the person’s various lab values to be able to discern that, and most of us do not go around with needles to do sticks on people every day. Labwork is expensive, and your average human being does not appreciate being stabbed by random strangers.Basically, in a nutshell, it’s none of anybody’s business whether or why someone is overweight. It is that individual person’s business alone.

  22. The Princess Says:
    July 28th, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    This site is truly amazing. It has been an encouragement to all my friends as we all just had our first babies.Because of this site, my pride has grown so strong for this wonderful I have now. This body carried the most precious life and I love it for that.THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  23. Anonymous Says:
    July 29th, 2006 at 10:36 am

    I found this site by accident. There was an article on CBB that Janet Jackson wanted to adopt because she feared pregnancy weight gain and one blogger mentioned Janet might have looked at pictures on “the shape of a mother”. Out of curiousity I clicked on the link- and instantly went into a state of shock and horror at what I saw. I do not have kids of my own and I have so far only seen women/mothers with little to no stretchmarks, though I didn’t really take a close look and. Nonetheless, I went back to this site again and again. Now that I have read most of the stories, I have to say that I gained a greater understanding of this aspect in a womans life. I must say, that I do not want to look like some of the women on here, but I have understood that by bringing a child into this world you gain so much more than what you lose (your pre-pregnancy body). And if I should ever end up covered in stretchmarks and with a sagging belly and breats, I will at least be prepared for it. So, while I agree that what you see on here sometimes IS shocking, I still want to thank all the women who have shared their stories so openly, because they tought me an invaluable lesson on life. The only thing that I still wonder about is why celebs never seem to have any stretchmarks. I mean, we see all those paparazzi pictures of women like Denise Richards, Courtney Cox etc. in their bikinis and THEY don’t seem to ever have been pregnant. How come???

  24. Jessie Says:
    July 29th, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for your site!!I have stretch marks and saggy skin and only gained 35 pounds with both pregnancies. I run 3-5 miles 4x a week and lift weights and eat a balanced diet. Stretch marks *are* genetic and has nothing to do with being lazy. Good for you for continuting to post these pictures!

  25. Anonymous Says:
    July 30th, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    Your critics do not apparently understand that a great many women are overweight in America. This site represents WOMEN, of whatever shape.Do not let the critics get you down, you are doing a wonderful thing letting us post our stories.

  26. LoveMyBoys Says:
    March 12th, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Your site is the only site that has made me actually feel good about myself since I’ve had kids. I never would have accepted my body without it! Thank you so much!

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