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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.


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.


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.

  • Beth Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:53 am

    SOAM makes me feel like I am not alone! Having children changes your body forever and to be able to relate to other mothers is a good feeling.

  • jackie Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10:55 am

    wow…5 years already. i LOVE this site. When i wa pregant with my youngest, my oldest daughter (11) sid ‘mommy, what are you going to do to get your belly small again?’ i said ‘well baby, my stomach will neverbe the way it was before had your brother. pregnancy has a way of changing your body from what i used to be to what it is supposed to be now.’ she got disappointed and said ‘but i want kids some day and i still want to be beautiful.’ i marched her right over to the computer and showed her this site. I have ALWAYS said that ‘i love my stretch marks becuse they are like service stripes of motherhood. each scar reminds me of how hey got there, with out them- i wouldnt know the love of being a mom.’ after she poured over the website for about an hour, she decided that i dint need to do a thing to be beautiful. i already was. she is ok with the changes that growing up brings, and now understands that just because society says one thing does not mean that they are right. she called her step mom and told her that she just wanted to let her know that she was beautifl just the way she is.

  • Heidi Thursday, July 7, 2011, 11:12 am

    I have shared your site with so many women. Thank you for reminding us that motherhood is beautiful and our bodies are too.

  • Erica Thursday, July 7, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I just found your site through Plus Size Mommy Memoirs. Just this blog alone has brought me to tears. I’m anxious to explore your fb page and blog some more. Congrats on 5 years, and I hope through reading more here I can grow to love my body.

  • jessie Thursday, July 7, 2011, 12:51 pm

    This site is the best loved by my multiples club! I’ll be posting soon :)

  • Jennie Thursday, July 7, 2011, 12:54 pm

    15 years for me. 15, 13, 10 and now 11 months post baby body. I love my body for allowing me to carry 4 healthy, beautiful babies. I might never have the washboard abs I had before children, but I am a soft place to land, a place where my children rest their sweet heads and sleep. I am so proud of each and every beautiful woman who share herself on this site and I am thankful for the creators of such an amazing story.

  • Deborah Thursday, July 7, 2011, 1:43 pm

    I love your site! Happy 5th birthday!

  • Natasha Thursday, July 7, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Dear SOAM, thank you for coming to being! As a mother of 4 children, my first being born in my teens, I have never had a body that “fit” society. I have often loathed my skin, felt ashamed, and wished for what ever plastic surgery that is out there. Your website has helped me realize that I, like most women, are beautiful for what we are, what we have done, and what we can do. No matter the stretch marks ;) You are also a source of comfort as I raise 3 daughters into accepting themselves, and my 1 son into understanding women are more then barbies.
    Happy 5th birthday! I look forward to many more!!

  • Elise Thursday, July 7, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Happy birthday, SOAM! I am so, so grateful to have found your site. Here’s to many more years of beautiful images of gorgeous, powerful mamas!

  • Summer Thursday, July 7, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I love, love, LOVE this site! Thanks for being here and Happy Birthday!!

  • Bree downes Thursday, July 7, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for helping me feel better about my verandah! Xxx

  • Beth Thursday, July 7, 2011, 8:43 pm

    This is my first time visiting your site (it was linked on another site I frequent) and I can’t tell you how fitting this was for me. Right here. In this moment. Right now.
    I took a few hours to myself tonight to go into town (we live in the country), have a solo supper, runs some errands, find a dress for a wedding where I will meet for the first time many of my husband’s lifelong friends, and have a nice cup of coffee. Sounds nice, right? Except the whole time I was gone there was an overwhelming sense of dread surrounding the whole shopping for a dress part. I have an almost two year old little fella, and though I am average weight and build, I still have my post-birth shape – and like many, I constantly have anxiety over it. I am thankful to have landed here tonight… and will likely be back again soon.
    Thank you for your vulnerability…

  • bethany actually Friday, July 8, 2011, 11:28 am

    Happy birthday, SOAM! I’m so proud of you, Bon. <3

  • Sarah P. Friday, July 8, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Happy fifth birthday, TSOAM! Thanks for a great site. :)

  • Jeannie Friday, July 8, 2011, 5:37 pm

    Happy Birthday SOAM! What a gift your site is to so many beautiful women. In my teens I was anorexic and bulimic. I hated my body! Then I became pregnant at 16 with my first son. I couldn’t starve him, so I ate healthy for the first time in my life. He was a beautiful 7pound 14oz. dream of a baby. My body was better after him. I had 2 more boys and many miscarriages. My body shows the journey. I have extra skin and stretch marks, but I also have 3 beautiful sons who have grown into wonderful young men. This site has helped me to see myself through the eyes of a mother, so to speak, and now I can teach my first granddaughter to love herself fully no matter what! Thank you!!!!

  • Angele Friday, July 8, 2011, 6:57 pm

    Thank you SOAM for helping make me feel beautiful every day! Happy 5th Birthhday!

  • Lynzee Friday, July 8, 2011, 6:59 pm

    I love Shape of a Mother. I’m really looking forward to submitting my story and photos. :)

  • Tanya D Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Shape of A Mother is a valuable asset in todays society of perfection and photoshop. The truth is the real perfection is loving our bodies as they are. Thank you.

  • kristin Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:01 pm

    Happy Birthday!!

  • Kara Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Thank you for starting this site. I carried twins one day shy of 42 weeks, birthed them 3 years ago, and I was not prepared to have my body change so much – gosh, I was still in my twenties! Nobody tells women what to expect with so much when it comes to having children – pregnancy, birth, parenthood. And especially not about what may happened to your body’s original shape after a job well done with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Thank you for 5 years of being a voice and an image of real women and true beauty.

  • Christina Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Happy Birthday SOAM!! Your site has changed so many lives and made so many of us feel NORMAL and BEAUTIFUL! So thank you!!

  • Jen Smith Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:03 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday!!! I love to embrace my stretch marks & rolls, I am Mommy, hear me roar!! ;)

  • Jasmene Waalwijk Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:04 pm

    I love this website, As a mum of 6 (1 miscarriage) i dont have the body of a perfest model :P this place reminds me that i am not alone xx

  • Melanie Owens Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:05 pm

    I love this site it prepared me before I had my baby and made me feel better after, my body will never be the same but I am learning to love the new me.

  • sarah ericson Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Thank you for showing how beautiful women are after they have carried babies!

  • K G Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Happy, happy birthday. Love and thanks for such inspiration.

  • Lynn Marie Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday! I love this site so much. Really helps on those days when…well…I’m having “one of those days.” Thanks so much!! :)

  • Sarah Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Here’s to the next five year! (And the five after that).

    And… here’s to our daughters and our sons growing up with confidence in their bodies, that we give them through our examples of self-love.

    Happy birthday SOAM!

  • Cat Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Thank you so much for providing such a safe and welcoming space for women to explore our bodies, our fears, our victories of self, and most importantly to support one another along our journeys of womanhood and motherhood. TSOAM has been a cool drink of water in a societal desert of photoshop’d bodies, disjointed female community and media induced self (and other) scrutiny. Thank you.

  • Shannon Young Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:14 pm

    This site has helped improve my self image already (I only just found it today). Thank you for being bold enough to be yourself, stretch marks and all…and giving the rest of us the strength to do so, as well. <3

  • Carrie Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:20 pm

    I love SOAM! Ever since my first baby 14 years ago I have had body love issues. Now after my 5th baby I am finally understanding that it all starts with me. Thank you for this blog!

  • Beth Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Congrats on 5 years! I love SOAM!

  • angela Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:23 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for all of your work with this site. It is so encouraging.

  • Amber Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday, SOAM!! I LOVE this site. You have brought peace of mind and acceptance to so many women. Women who have felt embarrassed and alone. Women just like me :) I hope you have many many birthdays to come!! Thank you <3

  • Rachel Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:27 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday! So glad you are here. Learning on accepting my body too

  • Bryony Gluch Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:29 pm

    Thank you so much for the inspirations and self acceptance!.. I’m still trying but a lot closer now! Physical change is very emotional – relinquishing beauty to make perfection!
    Lots of love,

  • Karli D Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:32 pm

    Yay! I remember finding this when my daughter was two and I was/am having a hard time accepting my stretch marks from under my boobs down to my pubic area and my hideous c-section scar. But after seeing so many beautiful shapes of mothers :) it is helping me on a path to find peace with my motherly shape. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  • Marilyn Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:52 pm

    I am so greatful for this site. I was so depressed, I felt so isolated, and at war with myself. This site has made me laugh, cry, even pump my fist in happiness, saying “Yes!! That’s exactly it!!”
    Thank you.

  • Shelli Cummings Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:53 pm

    I have five daughters and I love this blog, both for me and for them. Thank you.

  • Michelle Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this site. I can’t tell you how many times I have come to visit, just to reassure myself, that my belly, my butt and my thighs are not a one in a million. That I am not alone in accepting and understanding and appreciating the change my children did to my body. I have 3 kids, ages 5 and younger, and I had a C section for each….With 2 of the 3 over 9lbs, you can imagine the accomidation my body must have had to do to make room for them! Anyways, I love and have shared your site with all of my mom friends and others. Keep it going. You’re keeping me sane!

  • kay Friday, July 8, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Happy birthday! SOAM helped me sooo much! Thanks.

  • shay Friday, July 8, 2011, 8:23 pm

    Happy birthday, SOAM! Your website holds a special place in my heart and I have shared it with all the women in my life. Your site has made me feel like a part of a sisterhood of real, beautiful mommy goddesses. Thanks for all that you do!

  • Shelly Naumovich Friday, July 8, 2011, 8:24 pm

    I’m somewhat new to your site, but whenever I’m frustrated or feeling like I “should” be something different than what I am… I’m so grateful to be able to come here and feel better. I’m a mom to 3 boys. My oldest is 6 1/2 and I have identical twin boys who just turned 3. I carried my first pregnancy to his due date at exactly 40 weeks and delivered “naturally” and my twins were born at 35 weeks via c-section. I keep thinking, “someday, I’ll be able to get back to my old self”… but I guess it’s not someday yet. Thanks for all you do! And congratulations on 5 years!

  • Hannah Friday, July 8, 2011, 8:29 pm

    I have really enjoyed reading and sharing your site with other women! Very powerful!

  • Kristina Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:04 pm

    I’m on my phone so this won’t be long cause it’s harder to type. Lol.

    But I just had to say that while I don’t always comment or check everyday here, I love it here. It’s good to know that I’m not the only mother out there that feels her body has been ruined by baby. I have stretch marks piety much everywhere from my pregnancy. Through this site, my supportive fiancee and my own self reflection, I’m slowly starting to get my confidence back. This site has helped me learn that I’m not alone and it’s okay to feel the way I do but I don’t have to and that I look NORMAL, truly normal. My fiance has helped in the fact that he is still attracted to me. He still find me sexy even with the stretch marks, the muffin top and the day rolls. He stol loves me and find me sexier than ever. To him, I’m not only beautiful inside and out, but I’m even more beautiful because I’m an awesome mom to or daughter (so he says :p). Through my own self reflection because I force myself to lok in the mirror now without cringing. My body is the shape of a mother and it’s something to be proud of. Thank you, soam. :)

  • crystal Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:12 pm

    I am 22and have three beautiful children. I was sexually abused as a child and thought the only way out was to be unattractive, I ate and ate to make myself “ugly” when I had gained pearl 100lbs and was free of my attacker I was left broken mentally and physically. My little body had stretch marks everywhere.

    Then I said F^ck it! I am me, I will be loved and respected and take nothing else. I married my highschool sweetheart all the while waiting for him to judge my “destroyed body” and let loose on him lol he never did.

    I am a powerful woman and finding this site brought tears to my eyes that I was not alone on realizing we are all beautiful just the way we are. And I desperately want the women around me to get the revelation I had and just tell others to kiss it, or to come to this site and see that they are not alone either

  • Kendy Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:13 pm

    I’m so glad I found this web site.
    I was 18 when I had my son and VERY tiny. I started out at 85 lbs. when I got pregnant with him and was 140 lbs when he was born.
    My stretch marks are horrible. Not only is my stomach stretched down over my jeans, but as my son was crowning, he came with such force that my thighs ripped open fresh stretch marks as he was born. I love my 3 children dearly, but I’ve always been ashamed of how I looked after my first was born.
    Thank you so much SOAM for helping me know that there are other women out there like me and that I don’t have to be ashamed anymore.

  • Christine M. Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:22 pm

    This was great, thank you!

  • Tati Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I struggle daily with my mom body. I’m no where close to loving it. However, this site has been wonderful in that it’s made me feel less alone. I hope I can become like some of the women on here who have found their beauty even with a new body.

    Happy 5th Birthday! :)

  • Becky Friday, July 8, 2011, 10:45 pm

    I absolutely love SOAM!!! It something I often find myself turning to when I feel like I can not live up to what society deems as the perfect shape. Its because of SOAM that I am comfortable in my own skin again and proud of my battle wounds :) Keep up the great work