A reminder that you are beautiful. Inside and out. No matter what you look like. No matter what kind of birth you had. No matter how easily breastfeeding came to you. You are beautiful. I promise. Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to be kind to you today as well, okay?
This is really important, you guys. Net Neutrality (meaning, if you don’t know, the freedom of the internet to be available to all people at no extra cost) is back in the news this week. And no one really seems to be talking about that. Which is extremely upsetting. We’ve been fighting to keep the [...]
It’s the time of the year where I usually try to write a post encouraging you to commit to loving your body this year. And I do want you to commit to that this year. Make 2014 be the year you find peace in beauty in who you are inside and out. Because you are [...]
For those of you who don’t follow me at zebrabelly.com, you might not know I’ve gone back to school. For reasons that are complicated and boring to you, I wound up taking a pretty intense second half of my semester. During that time I’ve also been dealing with a crapton of stuff that life keeps [...]
I did an interview with a European newspaper a few weeks ago and it’s up today! You’ll have to have a subscription to the paper to read it (and, you know, be able to read German) but if you do, go check it out!
Check it out! And thanks, Britain, for always being on SOAM’s side. I swear this site has been featured in the UK more than in the US. *sigh*
Go check it out – I’m closing the giveaway in just a few hours!
We were mentioned in a BBC article about Jade Beall’s new book which has a similar focus to what we do here at SOAM. Go check it out! And if you haven’t checked out the giveaway I have going this week, check that out here.
I’m giving away a copy of my new favorite novel by Rainbow Rowell over at my other blog ZebraBelly.com. The book is really great in a lot of ways, but in particular I think it might appeal to readers of The Shape of a Mother because it deals with body image, in a way. You [...]
You can check it out here. If you read German, that is. I enjoyed this interview. Michèle, who wrote to me about this, asked me thoughtful questions that I found thought-provoking. A German friend of mine assures me it’s a great article. Thanks, Brigitte and Michèle!
SOAM’s been around now for seven years! I can hardly believe it. Seven years of bellies and learning to love the bodies we’re in. This blog changed who I am and how I see myself. You guys changed who I am and how I see myself. Thank you for that, so much. I hope you [...]
I am sad to say that TIAW is officially closing its doors (do websites have doors?) this week. I am happy to say that the most active parts of TIAW will carry on at my personal blog, zebrabelly.com. You can read more here.
I participated in a panel discussion with two SOAM mamas, Autumn (who blogs here) and Tina (who blogs here), today on Huffington Post Live. I have social anxiety issues so stuff like this is always hard for me, but I survived and had a lot of fun, too. It was great getting to talk with [...]
I’m going to be part of a discussion panel today discussing post-baby bodies on Huffington Post Live. You can watch the panel streaming or you’ll be able to see it archived. I hope you watch! I’ll post updates and more info later at one or more of SOAM’s online social networking place thingies. You can [...]
Almost twelve years ago (WHAT.) I got pregnant with my first child. At the time I was familiar with the idea of home birth since a number of my childhood friends had been born at home (I didn’t live on a commune, I swear!), but I didn’t begin planning immediately for a home birth. It [...]
Do you follow SOAM or TIAW online anywhere? Here’s a list of where we are. SOAM on Facebook SOAM on Flickr SOAM/TIAW on Twitter TIAW on Facebook TIAW on Pinterest TIAW on Tumblr You can always find those links in the sidebar, too. –>
I’m going to be talking with Trei Taylor on her radio show, Trei House Radio today at 2pm EST. It sounds like it’s going to be a really great discussion and I’m looking forward to it. You can listen live by visiting the website. I hope you tune in!
When I started SOAM, my hope was to change what our view of normal is when it comes to the bodies of women, particularly mothers. Our current view is held only within our culture. When you look at humans from an evolutionary point of view, you would never imagine that tribal women, untouched by our [...]
I did this interview a couple years ago and had totally forgotten about it. Tara asked some great questions. Go check it out! Thanks, Tara!
Careful use of language is very important. It’s important in your daily life, and it’s perhaps doubly important in this strange faceless world we have here on the internet. There is often language used here at SOAM that makes me feel uncomfortable in one way or another. The thing that I love about you ladies [...]
I’m now taking advertising for February. I’ll put your ad up as soon as it’s ready so if you get it in early you’ll get a few extra days for free! I’ve also lowered the prices so check it out! Click here or on the link in the sidebar to learn more about how to [...]
SOAM is here to help us learn how to love ourselves. Our focus here is body image after pregnancy, and we have had many mamas here talk about struggling with eating disorders. We try to learn how to love ourselves not only for ourselves, but so we can be living examples for the next generation. [...]
I’ve been contacted by the Steve Harvey Show about a show they want to do on self-esteem and the postpartum body. I’m unfamiliar with this show, but they assure me the intentions are good and that they care about mothers and want to help them learn to love themselves again. Here is their message to [...]
Did you know that SOAM has a sister site for women of all ages? It’s called This is a Woman. There aren’t many entries up there yet because I haven’t had the time or energy to promote it the way I should, but there’s a lot going on over there even so. Last week I [...]
I’m having a hard time right now. With the anniversary of my mother’s death this week, I am finding myself with just no drive to do anything short of the essentials (as in feeding my kids and maybe bathing regularly). So I’m trying to allow myself this time to just be sad. After all, it’s [...]
Six years ago today, while my then four year old took a nap, I hoisted the baby onto my hip, set the camera timer and took this picture: I put it on a blog and begged my friends to participate by sending me their own photos and to share the link with other bloggers and [...]
I already mentioned here a little over a week ago that SOAM appeared in the Daily Mail recently. If that wasn’t exciting enough, it was then picked up by numerous other sources (listed below). Unfortunately too much interwebz luv can crash a website and I’ve had quite the journey this past week into technical-land (which [...]
Source: 28.media.tumblr.com via Bonnie on Pinterest . For those who are new to SOAM, you might like to check out its sister site This is a Woman. In addition to submissions, I also post a weekly roundup of awesome articles I find online (or that people find and share with me). Here’s today’s Weekly Awesome. [...]
Looky! The Daily Mail did an article on SOAM! I love the UK. I think they’ve featured SOAM more than any other country, including my own. I do want to mention, though, that in the article they say: “Bonnie Crowder says she wants to fight back against the pressure from celebrity mothers…” And I feel [...]
Have you been checking out the Weekly Awesome posts over at TIAW? Here’s today’s. I generally always link them from our Facebook page, if you aren’t a fan of the page yet, you should be! You can also follow me on Twitter, but I am admittedly terrible at keeping up there. I’ll try to be [...]
Today many websites are going black in protest of two bills currently before Congress. To protect our free access to information, I ask that you take a moment to go to Google and sign your name to this. You can also go to Wikipedia, which has shut down nearly all of its informational pages (give [...]
I’ve written a short New Year post over at TIAW I think you might like to read. And I ask that you also go read this one, and sign your name at the bottom. Let’s make 2012 a historic year for women! Happy New Year!
Started a new thing over at TIAW. Go check it out!
Heh. But seriously? Why can’t we? Every so often there will be a post that inspires controversy in this website. I’ve just closed comments on the most recent one without even reading the ones that appeared in the last 24 hours. Because I don’t have the energy at this moment in my life. I’m grieving, [...]
And the winner is… Crystal, commenter number 96! I’m sending you an email now, please make sure you respond by midnight Wednesday or I’ll pick a new winner. Thanks for participating, everyone!
The last few days have been a strange whirlwind of PMS hormones and the resulting emotions, insomnia and the resulting exhaustion, and some strange allergic reaction and the resulting Benedryl (And, FYI, watching Twin Peaks after taking a Benedryl is, well, exactly how you’d think it is). Under normal circumstances I’d be more prepared to [...]
I made these primarily with the idea that they might be nice for professionals who work with new moms (OB’s, midwives, lactation consultants, doulas, etc) to have on hand, but they would also make a nice thing to send to the mamas in your life just to let you know you are thinking of them. [...]
Check out the article here!
To all of you beautiful mamas!
I’ll keep SOAM’s Facebook page updated. Even if you aren’t a Facebook person you can just keep checking the page. Link is over —-> there.
It’s fantastic! You can check it out here and a related blog piece here. Thanks to Rebecca Dube for her awesome work on this!
Have you checked it out yet? You can enter to win a copy of The Beauty of Different and spread the word about TIAW at the same time. It’s win-win!
(So it turns out that despite all the work I did last week announcing this elsewhere on the web I did not actually post it here. I feel a little like a new mom who forgot for nearly a week to let her oldest child know she’s now a big sister. That happens, right? *ahem* [...]
In 2006, when I started this website and it went from scratch to worldwide in less than a month I was struck by the deep need for such a website to exist in this culture. Women responded to it with such emotion – relief, gratitude and love among others – that I knew we’d been [...]
Rebecca, the woman putting the story together would like to enlist your help. Here’s her message to you: “I’m writing a story for TODAY.com, the TODAY show’s web site, about Shape of a Mother. I’ve talked to Bonnie about how she started the site, and how it’s become such an empowering experience for women to [...]
Rosie just left this comment on an entry from a few days ago. I love it so much I want to marry it. I found myself nodding along with her the entire time, it’s so true to everything I believe that I decided to post it here as an entry of its own. (Paragraph separations [...]
My post for this month is up today! I didn’t write about body image this month, aiming for something deeper. For me, adventure is about overcoming my anxieties and learning to LIVE. What’s your adventure?
I read this article today about a woman who discovered that what she had perceived as overweight turned out to be just exactly who she is (and not overweight at all). It really moved me to read about her inner transformation and her decision to embrace herself and buy new clothes instead of her usual [...]
Karen’s post went up yesterday talking about how important creativity is to owning your beauty. It’s an excellent post; I found myself nodding along the whole way through. Creativity isn’t something out of your reach – it’s something you already do every day, and something that truly enhances the soul the more you intentionally practice [...]
Thanks to the mamas who posed for me a few weeks ago, I was able to create some items for a Zazzle store to help support the site. At this moment I have some shirts, a bag, mugs and a bumper sticker up. I will keep adding over the next few weeks so let me [...]
Here in the US we are preparing to stuff ourselves silly with turkey and stuffing and gravy. The day gives us a chance, pilgrims and American folktales aside, to remember to be thankful for all that we have. Which is a lot. The fact that you are reading this implies that you have a computer, [...]
My OYB post is up today. What do you think?
Brene Brown has shared her 12 steps to letting go of perfectionism with BlogHer’s Own Your Beauty. As usual, the woman is full of wisdom. Steps three and 12, particularly, spoke to me. Number three, because it’s something I’ve done myself over the years with incredible results, and number 12 because it is something that [...]
“I left the first session feeling pretty confident that they liked me because I wasn’t the Perfect Coach … I was just Coach Caitlin.” This month, Caitlin talks about working with young girls through a program that teaches fitness as well as self esteem. An inspirational story – and a program I’m considering looking into [...]
On Sunday several local moms met me in a park to allow me to photograph their bellies for various uses, including a Zazzle.com store which I hope to open by next week. It’s always so great to meet people through SOAM. I probably have some form of social anxiety disorder, and if not, I certainly [...]
Karen’s first post on this month’s theme of Imperfection went up this week. She spoke with author Katherine Center about beauty and her book, Everyone is Beautiful. I’ve only read the title (so far, that is – my copy has been shipped, but not yet arrived) and I already know I’ll like it. As an [...]
Read it here. What do you think?
Spoilers abound for this week’s episode, read on at your own risk! I just finished watching Glee’s Rocky Horror episode and beneath the incredible music (I am not always into Glee’s music, but this episode was possibly my favorite ever) they tackled not only the usual theme of misfits in society, but also body image [...]
My first OYB post is up this morning at BlogHer – go read it and share it with the women and mothers in your life!
I’m so excited to be participating in this year-long initiative sponsored by BlogHer. Just launched yesterday, it features interviews and posts by Karen of Chookooloonks, Caitlin of Operation Beautiful and myself. Each month we’ll be discussing a different topic; this month’s is Authenticity. Go check it out, participate, and pass it on. I believe this [...]
Anyone speak Norwegian? I’d love to hear what you think of the story! Whether or not you speak the language, you can find the episode of Puls here, SOAM’s bit comes in about 24 minutes into the show.
Thanks to all who contribute to the Flickr Pool, you can find more about each photo by clicking on it. Stay tuned this morning to see who won the giveaway!
I’ve noticed a certain sort of recurring comment here at SOAM. It goes something like, “Wow, mama, you look GREAT! Your boobs/belly/bum looks way better than mine – I look like crap and I’m much farther postpartum/younger/had fewer kids than you did.” This comment starts off lovely and supportive but quickly turns dark and self-abusive. [...]
Back in March, Amanda Dahlgren sent me this link to a photography project she’d done, called On Real Beauty. It perfectly reflects the intent of this website. It’s beautiful. In every possible sense of the word. Thank you, Amanda, for giving this to the world.
My friend Jill, who is completely awesome in every way, put together a retrospective of the births portrayed on the TV show Lost. (*sniff* NOW what will I do with the next six years of my life???) I shared this on Facebook the other day, but wanted to share it here, too, just in case [...]
Gabrielle Loisel sent me a link to her blog awhile back and I was intrigued at the concept, but have not had a chance to look at it until tonight. It definitely lived up to its expectations! She has a similar intent as SOAM does – bringing reality into view for all to see – [...]
I had hoped to write a deeply meaningful post to share with you today. I was going to talk about growing older and gaining wisdom and the power that comes with age and with motherhood. I was going to say how our bodies are a reflection of all the internal changes that happen when we [...]
And what a great article it is! Beautifully written, well balanced – thank you, Tinamarie! You can read the article here.
Lovely article, check it out here!
I will no longer be approving comments that suggest the poster should consider a tummy tuck unless the poster has specifically requested to discuss the subject. PLEASE note that I am not judging any woman who may choose to get one – I have not walked in her shoes, and I like to believe that [...]
I posted this over at Facebook the other night, but haven’t had the time to share it here yet. It is fabulous. I have long noticed that it is those interesting bits – what a person might refer to as his or her flaws – which I find the most beauty in. A large nose, [...]
There have been a few recent comments here about how we, as women, feel about men commenting here. Above all else, I deeply want this to be a safe place for women – but it is, of course, the internet. I have chosen to keep this forum open and public for a few reasons, but [...]
It is humbling to me to step outside of my own brain for a little while and see women who suffer in much more basic and devastating ways than I do. Mothers in Haiti right now are likely not very concerned about what their bellies look like or if they should save for a tummy [...]
I don’t know if Fan Pages have always been around and I was just too facebook-stupid to find them before, or if I created the group before Fan Pages were around, but in any case, they serve my purposes much better. So I am finally moving from the group to a fan page. I will [...]
It’s a bit late for most of you by now, but I just came across this and wanted to share it anyway. This is a subject that comes up a lot here, and I wanted to share with all you mamas who’ve lost a child that I will be lighting a candle for you tonight [...]
Not too long ago, I was interviewed by Tera Schreiber for an article on Parentmap.com. It was a pleasure to speak with her and the article is fantastic. Thanks, Tera! Read the article here.
Brigitte, a German magazine is banning all models and using women who represent a wider variety of body sizes and shapes! Dear, United States, please take note.
After carefully considering your opinions, I have decided to go ahead an open a twitter account. I won’t post daily entries (because I intend those to be daily) but the occasional activism ones, or links to articles may be shared there. Follow me here if that’s your thing. I also hope to open a facebook [...]
I came across this a long time ago and was recently reminded of it – today’s entry inspired me to finally get around to sharing it with you all. We all know the scale lies – that’s why “They” created the BMI, to have a more accurate way of assessing weight and size. And it [...]
(This refers to my “contact me” e-mail – NOT the email for submissions, those are all taken care of.) I had thought things were slow in terms of e-mail recently and today I happened to notice that ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING for at least a month has gone into spam. I suspect I’ve lost a lot more [...]
Thank you, Glamour, for this! She is beautiful. Even more so that someone in corporate got a clue that THIS is what we want (need) to see. Despite the fact that it was such a small photo, I am glad it was printed at all. Next step: bigger photo. (It does make me want to [...]
Unfortunate circumstances have forced Jill, the owner of The Unnecesarean, to change her url. It’s such a fantastic and important resource for women that I wanted to make sure to pass along the word. If you have it bookmarked or linked, please take a moment to make the correction. The new link is: http://www.theunnecesarean.com UPDATE: [...]
I caught a glimpse of this video on some show last night (honestly I don’t even know which one – the husband was flipping channels and I made him stop so I could see this) and went straight to MomLogic.com to see the whole thing. It’s a commentary on plastic surgery and, perhaps, a plea [...]
Three years ago today, I created the first post for this website. I agonized over whether this idea would succeed or if it would fall flat on its face. I begged my friends to submit photos and to pass the word on. And then within a month, I was receiving thousands of hits daily, had [...]
I was alerted to a certain anti-stretch mark article tonight by reader Sara. The author of this article had the gall to break copyright laws and steal my photograph of myself and my baby son which has been featured on this website for nearly three years. I have politely asked her to remove it. I [...]
It has come to my attention that, in some cases, women may prefer to submit entries without receiving any feedback on them. They may be looking simply for affirmation for themselves, or a step in their healing process, or just a chance to share something in the hopes that other people may be healed. And [...]
Awhile back, I posted a link to a facebook group my friends have created in the hopes that Oprah will take notice of the site and feature it on her show. My friends and others have written letters to this effect and I felt it was time that I do the same. I wanted to [...]
To all you who have participated. To all you who have read the site and passed it on. To all of you who have been empowered. To all of you who have been relieved. To those with stretch marks and those without. To those who no longer recognize their bodies, and those who bounced back. [...]
This month’s French version of Elle magazine features several celebrities photographed without makeup or photoshopping. And guess what? They are still beautiful. It’s a different kind of beauty, one that shows the imperfections in their skin, but a more important beauty for the world to see. Granted, they are still professionally lit and dressed and [...]
I lived in a sweetly ignorant world before I opened this website – I never knew of a person who had lost a baby. Not here in the US! Not in this day and age of good medical care and awareness of baby safety! I knew it happened, but it was rare – so rare. [...]
I am working on a new project in relation to this site and would like your help. I am planning to create posters and cards for midwives, OB’s, LC’s, doulas, etc, to post and keep in their offices as literature (if you can call it literature when it is primarily photos, in fact I am [...]
I realize that a lot of the ads on the home page are rather the opposite message from what I am hoping to convey here at The Shape of a Mother and I apologize for that. I do not endorse any of those ads. Unfortunately, I cannot filter ads by keyword, merely by blocking each [...]
Sarah, a contributor here for the Save our Daughters project has humbly requested that we help her out. She has entered a contest which will enable her, if she wins, to live her dream photography project. Under almost any other circumstances, I would not post such a request here, but her project idea falls right [...]
I’ve turned off the uploader for now to give e-mail submissions a try. Hopefully there will be fewer mistakes this way! So check out the new participation guidelines here. I’ve also got new e-mail addresses! Submissions should go to email@example.com All other communication can go to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Begins today. For more information check out the website.
My friend Lorien (SOAM entry here) speaking her mind towards the end of the day A few weeks ago, I gathered with some other amazing women (around a pool – in January!) to film a segment for a British documentary. Focusing on body image and motherhood, the documentary (currently aiming to air in March in [...]
Paula at Easy Baby Life interviewed me recently about this site. I have to say her questions were some of the most intriguing I’ve been asked – it’s a great interview! Go check it out! Thanks, Paula!
Author Melissa Stanton recently wrote an article on the controversial “Mom Job” plastic surgery package in Brain, Child magazine. She mentions this website in the article. Overall, I think the article is mostly balanced, but I would like to take this opportunity to clear up one thing about this website. The Shape of a Mother [...]
I found this link recently while reading a friend’s blog and wanted to share it. While some cesareans are certainly a necessity, the US has a frighteningly high rate of one in three births. People sometimes assume that cesareans are a safer way to birth, but the fact is that they are major surgeries with [...]
The uploader is BACK! I am finally caught up (short of two entries waiting in my inbox which I will post in the morning) and am ready to take submissions again. Sorry for the delay, but I am happy to be back on track. Blessings to you all!
Last night, at a local coffee shop aimed towards moms, some women gathered with me to watch the amazing film, Fifty Nude Women. I first heard about the film through this site – a reader had sent me a link – and it’s such a perfect idea, and goes so exactly hand-in-hand with The Shape [...]
Just a reminder that we are showing Fifty Nude Women in San Diego this Saturday. If you are in the area and are interested, shoot me an e-mail for details.
My laptop is about to be sent off to be fixed (luckily? it’s under warranty) so I’ve settled myself in here at the big desktop and am catching up on all the entries I’ve been behind on – particularly those e-mailed to me have been neglected. So I’m almost caught up and will hopefully be [...]
Fifty Nude Women presented by Shape of a Mother and Java Mama **Please e-mail email@example.com for details and to confirm your attendance as we will have limited room** A documentary about 50 real nude women of all ages and sizes and colors. No airbrushing or Hollywood sparkle mars their beautiful flaws and perfect imperfection. Come [...]
The server this site is on had some big issues over the weekend and the blog went kaput. Between that and my own computer issues (really, sometimes technology makes me want to crawl into bed and never leave) I was not able to alert my webhost until this morning and they fixed it right away. [...]
My laptop has decided that connecting to the internet is not so important. Personally, I disagree, but so far cannot persuade the laptop to change his mind. In the mean time, I will be around, but much less so since the desktop is not as inconvenient. Between that and the vast amount of work I [...]
With the new design came a switch to WordPress from Moveable Type (a change I am so far extremely happy with!). Unfortunately in the switch we lost all the tags I had on the posts. Which means you currently cannot click on them and find all the related submissions, but I will slowly be adding [...]
As you can see we are changing our look over here. Please bear with us as we get all the kinks worked out. It sure is pretty, though, eh? I’m so excited!
I’m so excited to share this! This site has been finally picked up by a US publication and is featured as Mothering.com‘s Activism Alert this month. Thank you!!
I feel so honored to have this site featured as a “Daily Link” over at Dooce’s blog. Thanks, lady!
This blog is being featured over at All for Women this week. Go check it out!