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SOAM, Four Years in Photos

July 5, 2010

Thanks to all who contribute to the Flickr Pool, you can find more about each photo by clicking on it.

New Mother.

65/365

After the Baby

Baby Bump and Mama's Lumps

52 pieces - Scar

40 weeks 3 days

The other, less beautiful side, of pregnancy

365.theend - One Last Thing..

love scars.....

365.65 - mother's apron

the Shape of a Mother  Project 365 14-365

war stories and battle scars

8 days Post-partum with baby Arthur

Me in all my glory.

Stay tuned this morning to see who won the giveaway!

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29 Responses to “SOAM, Four Years in Photos”

  1. dee Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Why are you only showing pictures of women with “destroyed” bellies, thats like sayin if you had a baby and came out unscathed your not in the momma body club, why dont you also show women who have flat smooth bellies after kids as well?

    Not all women who have kids end up with stretch marks and pooches…

  2. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    *sigh*

    I know, Dee, but those images don’t need sharing because they are what we are used to seeing. I chose these images for several reasons, the largest one being that I can only share what has been posted to the Flickr group, and there are few, if any, images of unmarked postpartum mama-bellies there. Secondly, I tried to choose photos that were well-exposed and showed the beauty in what we are normally ashamed of.

    My intent for this post wasn’t to show an accurate sampling of diversity, but to show BEAUTY in what we are so often ashamed of. While working with the images I had available to me.

    The intent of SOAM in general is much broader – I want every woman to have a voice and freedom to share her belly.

  3. Alicia Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Let me take a try at responding to dee. Because women without “destroyed” bellies, bellies that are smooth and flat, don’t need to hear that every part of them is beautiful, stretch marks included. (It’s a tautology… they don’t have stretchmarks.) They may be insecure, and they may not like their bodies, but their bodies are the ones we see every day in every single magazine, billboard, etc. If you can point to one single public venue where you’ve ever seen a belly look like one of those above (besides this site), then we can fault SOAM for not including EVERY view of what it means to have a mother’s body. OF COURSE those women, ones with smooth, non-pocked bellies, bellies without “pooches,” are mothers, as much as any other mothers… OBVIOUSLY. We see those bodies here at SOAM probably as much as we see ones like those above. But we don’t see them anywhere else. And that’s the point.

  4. Apryl Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I think these images are beautiful. They are a true showing of perfection and beauty. Perfection and beauty don’t lie in looking like an airbrushed Playboy centerfold, but in embracing yourself, your body, your changes. Not hiding them from the world, but seeing them for what they are. They are life.

  5. shakti Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I see three flat bellies with a few stretchmarks…they look pretty “unscathed” to me…

  6. Liz Lich Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you for saying that Bonnie (stopped me from writing a page worth of a reply). And dee, shame on you for saying these bellies are “destroyed”. Each and every single woman in those photos is beautiful and brave. I’m proud of my pooch and my stretch marks, my belly carried my little boy for nine months and he is perfect in every way. I would do it all over again.

  7. Kerry Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Beautiful. Every single one of those bellys made me smile :) I cannot help but think of this verse:

    “…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works…” -Psalm 139:14

  8. Karla Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Gee Dee! I didnt know my belly had been destroyed… thanks for letting me know… :/
    On a different note, beautiful pictures! loved them…specilly during these days when my confidence is missing in action. Thanks SOAM!

  9. dee Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I actually feel rather insulted by these photos, so what if flat bellies are what we are used to seeing , SOME WOMEN actually do have that and some have pooches and stretch marks, I think you should have shown ALLLLLL women in ALLLLL their forms after a baby not just the ones who got pooches and stretch marks, I have had 2 kids and Im sick of people saying I must have been anorexic or didnt eat enough becuase I am one of the women who maintained her pre pregnancy belly after kids, but I ate healthy and worked out lots, and I was fit before kids…I think its unfair you dont show show all the kinds of bodies there are. You are gloriyfing the women who overate ( some of you did, dont lie) and didnt take care of their bodies while they were pregnant, hence why some I SAID some of them turned out unfortunate after kids, and yes this is unfortunate because none of these women want to look like this after kids, they might say they love their bodies and Im sure they do but if given the option no one would pick having stretch mark and pooches, its unfair that you only posted those why not be proud of the women who took care of their bodies before and after having kids?

  10. dee Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    you also posted ” you wanted to show an accurate sampling of diversity” well all i see is the same thing women whose bodies that have stretch marks and pooches…this isnt diversity, show every kind of after baby body even the nice ones.

  11. dee Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Alicia…

    this isnt showing EVERY view of a woman after baby body, its only showing one…the kinds that didnt turn out “so great” after a child, unfair, I busted my ass working out and eating right and because of that women like me who still maintained their figure dont get acknowledgement?> I am an everyday woman and so what if my kind of body is one you see evryday, I also see overweight women everyday, tall and short ones, etc..this is what real diversity is…not the tunnel vision of a female body after kids that is shown here.
    I am on this site daily and after this iam done, if you women who came out looking like the ones are so proud of your bodies then you too dont need to be told its beautiful now do you?

    thats what i thought.

    goodbye SOAM.

  12. kay Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I love these pics!

    I think Dee just needs to be told she did a good job having kids, staying healthy and maintaining her figure! Lucky, lucky girl!! :)

    Looking at these pics though, there are a few where the tummy is flat but the marks are still there. Unfortunately, stretch marks are not formed simply by overeating nor are they prevented by diet and exercise. I was 110 lbs pre-pregnancy and two weeks after birth I was 112 lbs, ate no more than 300-400 calories extra per day, exercised, drank water and used cocoa butter, and I am stretched from my waist to my thighs. It makes me feel good to see other women in similar situations and I applaud this site as well as the Flickr submissions.

  13. Nikki Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Dee, I get it. I do. You also get tired of when people say “real” women, that it somehow signifies skinny/healthy chicks are androids. I chose not to bust my ass to get my body back and yes, I have nobody to blame but myself.

    But the aim of this site, is to uplift women and teach them to pull away from the magazine covers and rewire the brain to see a new kind of beauty. We can’t hate the past, best to start loving the future. If your body never changed, what acceptance are you trying to gain? That’s like showing a burn victim pictures of smooth, unburnt skin. They know what unburnt skin looks like, now they need to find the beauty in the destruction.

    Try cutting people like Bonnie some slack. You won your prize, congratulations! Now, you’re just getting upset because no one is acknowledging your achievement. The women above, get ZERO recognition from any source but here.

  14. Kris Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    WOW, Dee needs to calm down and needs to get her facts right. Just because some mothers get marks does not mean they overate, i dont care how much you exercise, if your meant to get stretch marks you will!!! Its good to exercise so your healthy but that won’t prevent you getting stretch marks, your get them no matter what you do UNLESS your one of the lucky ones and got good genes. I ate healthy during both my pregnancy, everyone tells me how great i took it, how i took care of myself so well,i was so tiny, except i had a HUGE belly. I used all kinds of lotions etc. I still got stretch marks, so you need to stop saying ppl who get marks didnt take care of them self’s, have some respect.
    I love the photos and think they are so beautiful, :)

  15. eliza Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I just love that women who didn’t get any stretch marks or pooches like to think that it’s only because of their efforts. Not because of their genetics. There are many women, such as myself who took care of my body, and ate right, didn’t gain a lot of weight, and still got awful stretch marks and a pooch. Yes, given the choice, I’d much rather a flat perfect belly. Would I trade my two children for it, no way! What is the need to come on this site and bring down women who’s bodies suffered during pregnancy? I would say that even though their bodies are ‘perfect’, there still might be something there they’re not happy about. Do some actual research, find out why a body develops stretch marks. If you come here just to feel better on behalf of other who’s stomach’s aren’t as flat as yours, you might also want to question yourself. Thanks Bonnie, the pictures are beautiful and so is your genuine intentions.

  16. Shannon Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    WOW Dee…

    I have to say, you are not a very nice woman. How dare you say that women who got stretch marks and pouches overate and did not exercise…it is mostly about genes. I was 110 when I got pregnant with my first…I stayed healthy throughout, and got TONS of stretch marks…I also ended up having a cesarean…and you are right, I don’t love my body. I cry over it on a regular basis…but that is because of women like you. You look at us like we were lazy because our babies left marks behind…like we have no right to be seen in a 2 piece because we are “imperfect”. I may not like my body at 24 after 2 cesareans…but I do love my stretch marks. They are mostly from my first son who passed away when he was 19 months…they are my only real proof I had him…pictures, and videos can be lost…but I will have these forever. I feel bad for you, you are a rude lady…

  17. Shannon Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    BTW…these are all beautiful…the one with the “mothers apron” looks like me :)

  18. Allison Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I love these photos, and appreciate they are a sample of bodies. Dee — you need to calm down. Stretch marks are genetic. Sure, some people don’t work out as much as they should, but I’ve got long, thick silvery stretch marks that appeared on my inner thighs when I was 14. I was also a competitive swimmer in the best shape of my life. Did I let myself go? (I happen to love the marks, to be honest — they help me appreciate my body’s ability to adapt).

    Thanks, Bonnie! I’m not a mama (yet) but I really love this website. It helps with body acceptance and I think that’s important for all women, mamas and non-mamas included =)

  19. Liz Lich Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I’m actually upset about dee’s comments (even though I wish I wasn’t, she clearly doesn’t get what this site is really about).

    I walked every day while I was pregnant, I ate well, drank water, and took vitamins. I rubbed lotion on my belly every day and still got stretch marks. It’s because of stupid magazines and women like dee, that women under-value themselves, are starving to get to an ‘acceptable’ dress size and treating motherhood as though it were the worst possible thing that could happen to a woman.
    And if you’re one of the lucky few that snapped right back after having a baby then thats fantastic. Seriously, good for you. But don’t come here and make the rest of us feel like crap because we don’t have your genes.

    This site was a GODSEND for me. I was going through the worst postpartum depression and here I was able to find other women that knew exactly what I was going through. So thank you to Bonnie and all of these beautiful, brave, amazing, incredible women that submit their stories and their pictures to this site. :)

    And ditto on what Nikki and Kris wrote.

  20. I-dra Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Just can’t make everyone happy, can we? Personally, I think stretch marks are so beautiful. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we all looked the same. My body is not “destroyed”, nor is it “not so great”. It is amazing, perfect & looks exactly the way it is supposed to after having carried & birthed a baby.
    I like this quote from Nikki: “Try cutting people like Bonnie some slack. You won your prize, congratulations! Now, you’re just getting upset because no one is acknowledging your achievement. The women above, get ZERO recognition from any source but here.”
    I’ll bet the women who experience pregnancy & birth with nary a mark, sag or pound get told all the time how great they look, how lucky they are, how jealous other women are, etc. As far as I know, this is the ONLY public site where women who don’t look the same after pregnancy get to be told how strong & beautiful they are.

  21. tall mama Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Dee – I had to say I was so saddened my your comments……I had severe morning sickness and actually lost weight in my first 3 months, I then ate healthly, exercised well, drank loads of water, rubbed creams etc didn’t put on excessive weight and still managed to get severe strectch marks on my boobs and tummy. Turns out little one was 10lB and the longest baby the hospital had ever seen (I’m 6’1 tall and hubby is 6’3 so no surprise really – i also got strtch marks on my boobs and hips during puberty when i was a regular swimmer and as skinny as anything) Yet I still beat myself up that ‘maybe’ I could have done something to prevent them!!!! Just remember girls that recent press articles have showed Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts and Demi Moore’s stretch marks in all their glory. These women have all the money in the world to get advice from personal trainers and dieticians and yet they still got the stretchies……all going to prove that to a certain extent it is all down to genetics, some will get them and some wont. (Victoria beckham is also regularly moaning about her streteched and wrinkly tummy)
    I regularly cry and think about a tummy tuck, but have to pull myself back to reality – this is the real world and what is most important is that I HAVE A HAPPY HEALTHLY AND GORGEOUS BABY GIRL XXXX

  22. krystine Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 5:20 am

    I find Dees comments to be very rude and unneccisary!
    So what if this is only a representation of one type of post baby body? You think the WHOLE of holywood doesnt represent the one type of post baby body?
    In all truthfulness, a body like the ones above is ALOT more likely than a completely perfect, unmarked, unstretched,not saggy body like yours. And quite frankly, unless your body is perfect in every single way (no wrinkles, celulite, stretchies, unwanted hair, funky toes etc), I dont think you should be calling the women in these photos “destroyed”. Yeh, so theyre stomachs arent what they used to be, but I bet theyre kick ass chicks and a hoot to be around. They were strong enough to bare themselves, anonymous or otherwise, for everyone else to see and learn from. They are beautiful. The photos and the women. These photos tell me “you know what? Its ok if Im not perfect, because atleast I know how to love myself.”

  23. Mary V Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Beautiful pictures! I love this site and tell all my mama-friends about it, thank you for all the support you have given and allowed us to share SOAM!

  24. scs Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 6:59 am

    the pictures are great but to me they look more of women who never gained much while pregnant or are average size. it didn’t look like u had any plus size women there.

    either way I love this site and am gonna post again soon because after 2 miscarriages I am finally pregnant again and so far everything about it is different.

    bonnie thanks for all you do with this site.

  25. Karla Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Let’s enjoy and celebrate SOAM bday. Forget about what Dee said…some people just dont know that they dont know. Dont let her ruin the moment.

  26. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Thanks, Karla, for being sensitive to what this entry was supposed to be – a beautiful celebration of SOAM’s birthday. It’s been kind of soured for me, honestly. I’ll be closing the entries to this post soon because I just want to move on.

    I’m sorry it wasn’t what you all wanted. Again, I can only work with what I’m given. I still think it’s beautiful, and I also think the whole of SOAM represents a pretty good diversity in body shapes and sizes. I hope you all can see that.

  27. dee Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I just think they shoudl be FAIR and show real diversity, not just women with stretch mark and pooches. This isnt what all after baby bodies look like, some women who might be early on in their pregnancy will see only these photos and think they will never get their old bodies back after kids, which isnt exactly true and just maybe they will consider abortions, yes some women are that vain I have known a few to be honest. They said they were too young to have thier bodies destroyed by kids. I know selfish but Im just saying please show every kind of body, even the ones who came out unscathed.

  28. dee Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Tall Mama…

    Iam also 6 feet and my husband is 6 2. I had a 10 pounder with my first kid as well. I didnt get stretch marks from having kids but i got some from getting taller when i was about 14, but they are faded now.
    All I am saying is that if you eat right and work out (this is what I have done) then your ODDS of maintaining a healthy fit body after kids is very possible. Or maybe I just am one of the lucky ones, I am going on my 3rd kid next year as we are planning another child. Who knows maybe I wont be so lucky with that one,lol. But I guess my formula has worked for me. I know if I didnt eat healthy and/or worked out I would NOT have looked like this, my mother didnt do any of that stuff and she lost her figure so yes genetics does play a rold but so does lifestyle. My comments arent meant to hurt anyone, but then the pictures werent meant to offend me. But they do because its NOT diverse at all, its just shows all women with pooches and stretch marks.

  29. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve closed the comments on this post due to the negativity.

    My own personal feelings on the matter are that every body shape and size is that of a real woman, from skinny to fat. I also believe each woman should be allowed to have her own story without fear of judgments against her simply because of her size or shape. Skinny moms who are assumed to have put their babies at risk to retain their figure, moms who gained more weight than is considered average and who are assumed to be lazy and to have poor diets. the FACT is that so many factors contribute to our body shapes and sizes and there is simply no way to know what another woman’s story is unless you know her intimately. Personally, I would hope that people would not make judgments about me and so I make a point to always keep an open mind and never to judge another woman.

    Peace.


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