Some things change, others stay the same & that’s OK. (Marissa)

C-Section Mama, Married 6years to my BFF

I was 23 when I got pregnant. Being a very short and active young adult, I’ve always been a wild one at heart. My favorite joy is dancing. I love to just turn the music on and have fun! That was me before pregnancy.

Now I’m 24. I’ve had my first baby. I’m 3 months postpartum and I still don’t feel like that girl again yet. Somehow she’s me – but somehow she’s somebody else. Anyone feel that way? I know many have, but I have never in my life struggled to feel myself. I’ve always felt confident in my own skin. Sometimes I felt too skinny or non-curvy but… when I had my son… I suddenly felt foreign. I feel my tummy and it’s foreign. I feel my boobs – they feel foreign.

It’s okay to sometimes feel like things are different. They are different. We can’t hold ourselves to the old us because all through life we will change and morph into new women. I realized that this must be what it feels like to look in the mirror at 60, or try to run or when your metabolism just wasn’t like it once was and now you eat one piece of pizza and blow up. It all hit me. Is this real life? It may sound so silly and vain but seriously some people simply haven’t gotten there yet. Instead of me feeling like I need to catch up with others or feel sad that I’m not the same and other women get to feel hot … I just need to give myself a firm swat on the buns and say “listen up lady – you are a boss babe, the woman you were is still there but she has grown, she is strong, she understands life in a new way, she went through tough labor, she stayed in the hospital 5 days, she woke up all night and she cried, she wanted to be her old self but she also wanted to snuggle her baby with all her love, she birthed a new life, she is a mother, she is loved, she is valued and she is special beyond belief. Don’t you dare discount that. You are learning big things, and your mind and experience have went through something many women have not had the privilege of, and the challenge of.” Life is an experience and a gift. May we always remember that motherhood is nitty gritty, deep and emotional but ever so rewarding and we mature in massive ways.

To be honest… I still don’t feel like me. In some ways it’s coming around but in some ways I feel as though some parts of me will always stay. I will always feel my stretch marks and go “whoaaa that’s intense”. I will also think “hehe omg it’s so soft and cuddly”!

Let us give ourselves time, relax, live healthy and stay strong. ? You can do it ladies. We are the mama family.

Update here!

The Poetry of Our Bodies

Inspired by a project I had in my digital humanities class this past semester, I created this word cloud from your entries here. For this particular cloud, I pulled the top 10 posts under the category of “Positive Body Image/Words of Encouragement” and fed them (anonymously, of course!) into the processor at Voyant. It gave me this cloud.

I love words, I love word clouds, and I love to immerse myself in them and look at them closely. They are a kind of found poetry, and I love to use them to create more found poetry. For instance, right off the bat, I see:

stretch like I’m body beautiful

And then:

pregnant love just marks

But I think my favorite is:

advocate changes big

By shifting these words around, we find new meaning in them. New ideas that already exist subconsciously in our hearts – or that we can choose to weave into the fabric of our future thoughts.

It is also important to examine the size of the word “body” in terms of the rest. It appears more often than any other word. Of course, this is a website dealing with bodies, so it’s expected to loom over all of our posts, but that doesn’t make it any less significant to see it displayed this way for us. Sometimes to see something from a new angle gives us a refreshed view of it. This is a reminder how much our physical appearance is of importance to us. Perhaps it is time to focus on the other words that help to make up our whole selves?


Voyant does more than word clouds, though, and this particular tool was interesting as well. It really showed what people were saying about their bodies. The first thing that strikes me here is how much work went into body image in these posts. “Found love for the mommy body” or “Learned to love” or accept my body”. This is not a passive act, it is hard work, daily. The second thing that strikes me is that some of these top “bodyposi” posts are minimizing themselves.. “Love everything about my body even though..” We have to temper anything good we say or feel about ourselves – and that is why the work is hard. Not only do we have to relearn how to view ourselves outside of the negativity society imposes upon us, but we also have to do it so carefully that we do not become ostracized by society. It seems – and in fact it is! – contradictory. The line to walk here is very thin and often unclear. A woman who is too down on her body is “negative” or “focused on the wrong things” but a woman who is unapologetic about her looks is “conceited” or “full of herself.” There is no real good option which is why women trying so hard to find how to love themselves tend to pair their intentions (“I love my body”) with a caveat of some sort (“even though…”). I know I often do this, even within feminist circles, even to my closest friends who truly know my soul, when I am talking about my abilities. “I know it sounds stuck up to just say it like this, but you know I’m trying to drop those patriarchal rules so….”

The goal is that someday, we won’t feel the need to minimize our beauty and our talents and our gifts. That is the work we are doing here at SOAM.

How do you do this work in your life? Do you feel this struggle? How do you manage it? How can you work this year to grow from this? What does “growth” mean to you in this area?

Join Us!

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.27.16 AM

Help support SOAM and parents around the world by submitting your own photos and/or story here. Not only does sharing your story help to show the world what a postpartum body looks like, but it also helps to keep this website going and active and that helps keeps us able to do the work we do in the world. Also? Speaking your truth, even if it’s hard, can be life-changing and freeing. You are safe here at SOAM because I screen every single comment (although there isn’t much to decline to post because almost everyone here is supportive) and because you only share what you are comfortable with. Your name can remain anonymous and you can choose what combination of story and/or pictures you feel comfortable sharing.

Go to for directions on submitting and share this post with your friends. Help keep SOAM going!

All in due time – There is hope (Joss)

Age: 27
Number of Pregnancies: 3

I had my first child when I was 18. Before her I had a beautiful body, that I was proud of. (Of course most 18 year olds do) After I had her I had NO idea what i was “supposed” to look like or what it was going to do to my body. I wish I had found this site back then. I was so depressed I refused to look at Victoria Secret catalogue’s or associate myself with anyone who could wear a bikini. I was beside myself because of how “messed up” my stomach was. Fast forward a year and I was still so upset about how I looked even though looking back NOW, my stomach looked fine. I swore and knew I was never going to show my stomach to the light of day or public ever again. I had two more children over the last 6 years, and of course my stomach has only gotten worse. (Saggier) I walked around with a heavy weight on my shoulders year after year, and became a single mom. I was depressed for so long. I always felt like no one would ever want me and I wasn’t good enough.

Between a major depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia, I started practicing meditation and exercising (which miraculously pulled me out of that state) I found a happiness with myself again. Which in turn had its affects. I have a much longer story but my main point of this post is to let all the beautiful mommies out there know that it’s ok to be in your skin. It took me 4 years after my last child born to accept my body. A big influence was pole dancing (I’m not saying that’s what you need to do, to feel better about yourself) But it was my outlet and helped me gain my confidence back. I found this site probably 6 years ago and I checked in on it over the years to hear other woman’s stories, to not feel alone. Today was the day I felt like it was appropriate to tell my story , since yesterday I wore a bikini at the pool for the first time in about 10 years. I was scared about the looks I’d get and it felt so uncomfortable, but I f****** did it! I didn’t care what anyone thought. I was a mommy, and I had my three babies with me and we were having fun in the sun. It was a liberating feeling! If people didn’t like it, they didn’t have to look at me.

I actually bought a top that shows my stomach a little bit. I’ll find somewhere to wear it. Lol
I woke up this morning and felt skinny and took a picture. In this picture I’ve had 3 children and my last is 4 years old. The skin on my stomach isn’t pretty or “tight” anymore, but I’m happy with my body, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. I wish anyone who reads this, a new found love for their mommy body. I hope to be an advocate for mothers who’s bodies are “different”. Sending positive vibes and love.


A Message Update (Anonymous)

A Message for All Moms

That was my message. I have an update.

At 30 years old I’ve had another little one. I’m 18 months post partum with my 5th child. My hypothyroid is now under control with natural herbs and diet. I learned to love my body along the way and corrected my diastasis recti. What helped me get fit was learning to love who I was first. State of mind is everything and when you can’t see beauty in your body after creating life. It can reek havoc on you mentally, emotionally and physically. Once I learned to love everything about my body even though it was considered “perfect” I started getting healthier in every way. Most importantly emotionally and mentally. Physically was just a bonus to learning to love myself.


11 years post-partum and a healthy BMI (Anonymous)

I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and PCOS. I have a healthy BMI. This is my body. Deal with it. I like my stripes. I have a great sex and personal life even as a single Mama.

I’m 34 and I’m okay with this photo being shared. I shared my pubic region especially because a lot of people feel shame abut stretch marks and loose skin there, especially mothers who find themselves dating.


4 Girls Later (Anonymous)

Hi, I have 4 girls. A 6 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old. I am 24. I have recently lost 50 pounds, I have been trying to tone up but now I am starting to accept maybe this is how my body is now after 4 girls. Some days I love my body, other days I despise it. Having 4 girls, i am trying to look at my body more positive, for them. In the end, we made humans and our body is just the proof of that. We are all beautiful and we have to remember that for ourselves and for our children.

Beauty Comes From Within (Aimee)

2 pregnancies 1 birth
Age of child: 5month

We have all heard the phrases beauty comes from with in and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but such phrases come up short and feel shallow when we are talking about ourselves, our body image. I have struggled with certain aspects of my body like most of the women on this site, but I have been blessed with the opportunities to overcome/look past/accept the parts of me that aren’t perfect. Not to drag on here but in high school my friends were all much smaller and prettier than me, which I was well aware of and so were all the boys who would befriend me in hopes of me putting in a good word for them. But to be honest I loved that I had so many guy friends that I could go to for advice or to talk to for an honest opinion. I loved that my friends were so pretty and I admired them. Sometimes I would get down on myself that I had crooked teeth or that at 16 my thighs had dark thick stretch marks, but luckily I had these guy friends that I could talk to about it and you know they always would tell me the same thing …that it doesn’t matter that I was an awesome person and fun and if someone was so superficial as to not want to be with me because of what I saw as flaws then it was their loss and to not worry about. And you know I took this to heart and I found ways to love myself. Before I got pregnant I was working out 2 hours a day 4-5 days a week, I was in no way ripped but I loved my body and had so much energy. When we didn’t get pregnant right away I thought it might be due to the stress I was putting on my body by exercising so I decided to stop until I got pregnant with the intention that I would go back to light exercises once it happened. That never happened I slept through my first trimester, second trimester was amazing and I started doing occasional hikes and walks but nothing crazy and I had gained 10 maybe 15 pounds by this point didn’t look pregnant and had no stretch marks. Then the third trimester hit and I gained 40-45 pound!(that’s 40 pounds in 3 months my Dr was shocked) My stomach erupted in stretch marks (they didn’t hit until I was 8 months along) and my whole body felt swollen and sluggish. My heart was always beating very hard and I had a hard time catching my breath if I did too much. So I became obsessed with looking for pictures of women in a similar situation, I saved every possible exercise regime, I drooled over post pregnancy flat bellys, and I researched every possible remedy for stretch mark reduction. Then I had my beautiful boy via c section (planned) he was 9lbs 1oz and then in the first month I had dropped 30lbs. I felt great about the prospect of getting my body back. But that went out the window with the struggles of breastfeeding. It was very important to me to breastfeed and I put all of my time and energy into making sure we developed a good breastfeeding relationship. Which led to my now exclusively left side breastfed body. There are times that I’m embarrassed at the fact that one breast is at least 2 times the size of the other. I sometimes try to hide it when we are going out with our friends. But for the most part when I see it I’m proud. I’m proud that I am able to sustain a healthy happy boy only needing one breast to do the job. I’m proud because it shows my dedication as a mom and that I’m not superficial I can go out in public with my body the way it is. I have stretch marks, a slightly saggy stomach, lopsided breasts, and my hair is falling out faster than its growing back in but I’m a devoted mother, a caring wife, a fun loving friend, an understanding sister and a forgiving daughter. I do love myself and though my old clothes don’t look as good on me, when I see myself naked in the mirror I think I’m beautiful. We go through many stages in life and some are better than others but we will continue to change throughout our lives and our mindset is what’s going to affect whether those future changes are positive or not.

I know my body will continue to change and that there are others out there who have gone through more dramatic changes than I have but I challenge you to be proactive and to find at least one thing you love about yourself and one thing you love about your body (I have great shoulders that I think are very sensual). Look at your new body as a reflection of the past you’ve lived and embrace the changes as they continue to appear. I’m posting my pre, pregnant, and post body because I researched like crazy when I was pregnant trying to find people with a similar body type. I don’t do any special diet and as for exercise I walk about a mile at least once a week (this only started happening a couple weeks ago).