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Five Years Old

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 celebrate SOAM’s fifth birthday (this may be wishful thinking) but this entire year has been just about as strange as the last few days and I’m just trying to keep swimming. But five years is a big deal and I want to mark it somehow.

Day 95 Learned Love

Five years and some months ago, I had that moment in the restaurant in Anaheim that sparked this thought that maybe I wasn’t the only one. The idea took hold and grew as I talked with people about it. And then, one warm July day, as my four year old was taking a nap, I snapped a picture of myself holding the baby, and uploaded it to a new blog. And here we are.

stretchmarks

Five years ago I was a different person, at a different place in my journey to self-love. Five years ago, the world was a little different, too. The internet changes things, makes the world smaller. Today it’s so much easier to connect with people who are going through the same things you are going through. Today it’s so much easier to find the information you need for your journey. Five years ago SOAM was just born and now it’s a staple for moms online.

Mama

I think right now we are at a sort of crossroads in this fight against society’s idea of what a woman should look like. Over the last five years I have witnessed a massive shift away from that idea. Unfortunately, I have also felt society grip that idea even stronger as it feels us pulling away. So we still have a lot of work to do before women are totally free from it, until we are free to love ourselves as we are, at every step along our own roads. But you mamas have shown me that we can do it.

belly line up

So, let’s celebrate! Leave a comment here and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Fifty Nude Women which, as I’ve said before, is one of the best short films ever made. I’m also running a contest over on TIAW, so check that out and you can double your chances of winning (although I will make sure the same person doesn’t win both contests). I’ll run both contests until this Friday at midnight and I’ll announce the winners on Saturday Monday. The winners will have until midnight on Monday Wednesday to get me their addresses, or I’ll choose another winner.

UPDATE: Contest is now closed and winners announced! Thanks for participating!

And Diego met the Pacific Ocean

Thank you, all of you. You are beautiful!

(Photos from the SOAM Flickr Pool, all submitted within the last year.)

in Contest, My Own Ramblings, News

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lily Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:01 am

    I love SOAM, as it shows us that every woman is different! :)

  • Julie Williams Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:02 am

    happy 5th Birthday! such an inspirational website for this mother of 3!

  • Tessa Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:03 am

    wonderful photos of BEAUTIFUL women in this blog!! aall shape and sizes!

  • Valerie M. Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:05 am

    Happy birthday!

  • GM Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:08 am

    I love what this blog is about. I’m a mom and I sometimes struggle with my appearance. Oddly enough though I feel more comfortable with my body and who I am now then I did before. I have plenty of days where I look in the mirror and miss the “glory days” of my breasts and tummy. I feel much less sexually attractive now but I’ve also started to wonder why that matters so much in the first place. Reading this blog helps reaffirm my own beliefs of what beauty really means. Thank you.

  • Traci Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:09 am

    Happy Birthday, SOAM! My 4th daughter should be here any minute, maybe she’ll share her birthday with you!

  • S. Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:09 am

    I don’t have children myself, but this site is no less valuable to me.

  • E.J. Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:14 am

    I’m a woman who has always had issues with her body, and I’m now the mother of a little girl. When I visit a site like this and see that it is popular and thriving, it makes me feel better about my daughter’s future, knowing that she has a better chance of escaping the self esteem problems and body image issues that I had. So thank you, so much, and HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  • kira Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:15 am

    my youngest is 13 & my stretchmarks were so damaging to my body that I still look like a burn victim to this day. I’ve always said I was ok with them, but the “sting” of feeling like (one of)the only one was real, especially while trying to date… while i’ve long come to grips with the idea that THIS is my body, seeing all the beautiful brave women on this site has been a wonderful & empowering experience.
    Keep up the good work & a very happy birthday to SOAM!

  • Melanie G Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:24 am

    SOAM helped me so much during my confusing postpartum experience. Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their stories!
    Happy 5th Birthday!

  • Maril green Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:28 am

    Happy birthday!

  • Astrid Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:33 am

    Happy Birthday to a wonderfully inspiring site!! :-)

  • Anna V Ilkka Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:35 am

    Congratulations!

    The pictures of these brave women helps me to realize what a blessing it is to have the body I have after hating it from ages 15-39. Giving birth forced me to let go of the hatred for the sake of my daughter’s healthy body image development, but, the body dysmorphia remains. I now have something compare to, and, some days, I can look in the mirror and see reality rather than ugly because of SOAM.

    Thank you.

  • Selene Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 10:42 am

    SOAM and TIAW have powerful messages. I’ve been meaning to try to get to see Fifty Nude Women for a while now!

  • Susan Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 11:17 am

    Happy Birthday! Thank you ever so much for SOAM. I have shared it with so many women. It has definitely changed the way I raise my children in regard to social and media messages. MWAH! Thanks!

  • Corinne Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 11:33 am

    Sorry to hear you’ve been ill, happy birthday to soam and thank you for making a difference x

  • Jennifer Krog Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 11:38 am

    Thank you SOAM for helping women to see beyond the flesh. Mothers give life. The shape of a mother is the shape of life, love and hopefully laughter. Obsession with body image is a plague, one that with time, truth, trials and tribulations will hopefully one day be abolished, if not for all, for some (perhaps a lucky few). So Moms, women, girls and their support groups (male gender included) be sure to tell the women you love how beautiful they are inside and out. Pass it on, pay it forward, karma, whatever you want to call it. What goes around comes around and compliments are as contagious as smiles.

  • shanen Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 11:47 am

    Thanks for the site and congrats

  • Amber Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

    I found this site 3 yrs ago when I was pregnant and visit it everyday. I have yet to submit anything but someday I hope to. Thanks so much for creating SOAM!

  • Dee Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 12:52 pm

    SOAM is so amazing and has helped me so much. Every morning since I found the site I check to see the new post with my coffee. I love to start out my day in such a positive way. I feel better now than I ever did before I had my daughter partially thanks to this site. Excited to post my update soon. :).

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOAM!

  • Izzy Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Happy Birthday to SOAM !! I can’t thank all you beautiful mamas enough for sharing your experiences through the most amazing, but topsy turby ride of mother hood. We are all mothers and we are all BEAUTIFUL! :)

  • Bryana Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Thank you for giving us a place that makes us feel “normal”. It’s hard to find a group of women all feeling the same things and all admitting to it.
    We are at a crossroads with the way society and the media portray beauty, but I feel we are making an impact.
    Again, thank you for such a beautiful thing!

  • Terressa Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Happy fifth birthday SOAM! You’ve changed the world in just 5 short years. Thank you for showing the world true beauty.

  • Marz Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Yay! Five years!

  • K Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Happy Birthday SOAM! Love this site. It has helped me realize that I am beautiful and should celebrate my mommy body.

  • Liz Lich Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Happy Birthday SOAM!! Thank you so much for everything you do! Thanks to this site I have been able to accept myself and my body for what it is and what it’s capable of. Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

  • Karla Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 4:15 pm

    Thanks SOAM!! this blog has been with me throughout my own journey to self love…

  • Kirstin Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 6:55 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday SOAM!! I love this site and all the stories. It has helped so much connecting with other mothers :)

  • SB Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 9:46 pm

    I can not believe this site is only 5 yrs old. My daughter is 1 now – and i am expecting my second, and I found this site by typing in “stretch marks after pregnancy” in my google search bar. I stupidly thought in two weeks I could get my body back and that some miracle lotion would wipe away the scars. Ive come to accept the ridges in my belly and my saggy boobies, but not without the help of this empowering website. Here’s to many many many more birthdays of SOAM, and one day, when my little girl is crying over stretch marks her unborn baby may leave her, I hope this site is still up and running so we can read the posts together.

  • Mina Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 12:46 am

    Happy 5th birthday SOAM. I come here some days to offer encouragement to others, and some days I come to get it myself. I’ve really appreciated feeling normal here…normal in that I’d sacrifice anything for my children (like all the moms on this site), but still normal in struggling with my mommy body.

  • Celeste Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 6:49 am

    I am a mother of 4 and new to your site, it is beautiful and encouraging, just like all of the women involved. thank you.

  • Amanda Summers Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 8:20 am

    Thank you for helping other women open up about their insecurities. This is an amazing blog.. Thank you, and happy birthday!!

  • Julie Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 9:08 am

    Wow congrats on 5 years! I remember you coming on the scene 5 years ago =)

  • alexis Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 6:04 pm

    I found this before I was even planning to get pregnant. It took away so much of the shock and fear that my friends have gone through. Reading other women’s stories helped me put into perspective my experience and be grateful for what I have. It also helped me gather the strength to do things my own way, and to develop an informed way. I feel a lot of sympathy for women who say they wish they had done things differently, eaten better, found more time to relax, appreciated their families, bodies, and circumstance before things got really hard. I try to implement those lessons and pass on to other women wisdom of my time as a mother. We have lost that kind of communication in our culture and SOAM brings it back.

  • Tabitha Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 6:17 pm

    :D

  • Ashley Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Congrats on five years! Thank you for running this! It has helped me to see that I am not alone in the way I feel, and has brought me acceptance. Maybe I don’t love my body yet, but I’m on my way :)

  • Maya Thursday, July 7, 2011, 4:44 am

    There must be some days when it’s hard to keep going with this website because of negativity from some of the readers and the media. I think SOAM provides an important voice about women’s bodies and motherhood. It’s refreshing to see something different out there

  • Gina taylor Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:29 am

    Love all the pictures! Wonderful blog!

  • Cynthia Payne Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:31 am

    Thank yoou for five years of love!!

  • Meghan Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:33 am

    SOAM has helped me more than my words could ever describe. I have a greater appreciation for myself and my body after reading the entries on here. I hope that SOAM can start a movement to change our nation. As my husband said, the rest of the world appreciates women and their natural venus shapes. Only in America are we led to believe that true beauty comes with fake boobs. I hope that through SOAM we can reach out to American culture and movies and show the “realness” of our human forms :) Thank you and I’d love to win this contest especially for my little girl and my two sons. I want to educate them the right way :)

  • Jessica GIbbons Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:36 am

    Congratulations on 5 years!!! I have been so impressed with the photos over the years. I am a mom to 7 kids. I have PCOS and insulin resistance, so I have a lot of extra body fat around my middle section. People assume that I am fat because of my babies, but in reality, I gained so very little weight with the pregnancy! It is very hard to love your body when you feel like it fails you…like there is no hope. But it is wonderful to see the pictures and stories and know that I am not alone. thank you.

  • Maida Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:37 am

    Happy birthday to a wonderful website :)

  • Raeanne Madison Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:38 am

    Congratulations, and happy birthday to this wonderful site! So glad to have found this. Solidarity.

  • Alissa Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:41 am

    happy birthday soam!! i love the site. it makes me feel better on my very off days. :)

  • Jo Brown Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:42 am

    Thank you. I can’t express more than just that. Thank you.

  • Chelsea Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:43 am

    I found SOAM while I was pregnant and I am so thankful I did. The change in my body that took place while pregnant and post partum was not easy for me. I hated the way I looked but knew there were others that felt that way and that this change was normal and natural and now beautiful.

  • Jen McLellan Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:49 am

    Huge congratulations on 5 years! SOAM helped me so much when I got pregnant. As a plus size woman I wasn’t sure how I’d look pregnant and I wanted so desperately to see pictures of women I could identify with. SOAM provided me with that and so much more. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • Michelle Bryant Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:51 am

    i can look at these pictures and read these stories of woman just like me. i see beautiful flesh altered by pregnancy and motherhood. i can look at my own body without the self hate. i can appreciate my own body as a ves-soul of love and life. thank you for facilitating our journey to accept ourselves.<3

    Happy Five Years SOAM!!!

  • Violet Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:51 am

    Thank you SOAM!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. For enabling the memory that we are all beautiful. For the understanding that we we are creating is more important than the a perceived notion of what beauty is…and the understanding that we are more than what we appear to be.

    The boundaries that you are stretching are worth more than you probably imagine.

  • sarah Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:52 am

    Happy 5th Birthday! I love this website! It has given me confidence and changed how I feel about my body!