Favorite Pair of Jeans (Rachel S.)

Reposted by request, originally posted at The Swanson Life

I miss those favorite pair of jeans.

You know the ones you put on and they feel just right. Comfortable, sexy, and accentuates your figure perfectly. Those sweet little favorites of mine have been hanging in the back of my closet, quietly awaiting the day when I can put them on again. My sad little favorite pair of jeans… still hanging… since 3 years ago.

Add to that my favorite little jackets that fit too snugly in my arms now. The tight fitted shirts that now accentuate too much of my hanging post pregnancy belly—making me look like I’m 4-5 months pregnant again. Oh and my sparkly necklaces and bracelets that I have to avoid for fear of my twin toddlers or 5 month old baby girl yanking them off my neck and wrists, strangling me in the process.

My favorites now are my black maternity leggings or stretchy yoga pants that hide the extra girth I’ve gained down under. I love flowy lose-fitted tops that hide my squishy ill-formed belly and makes it easier to nurse that sweet baby girl of mine. And to hide those sausage arms of mine I’ve resorted to ¾ sleeve cover-ups or tops that drape ever so loosely off the shoulder.

But oh how I love these sweet babies of mine.


And I would never trade these post-pregnancy issues of mine if it meant not having my sweet twin boys and happy baby girl. But man were those pregnancies ROUGH on me—in many ways—but specifically physically. Having a twin pregnancy, and then polyhydramnios with BOTH pregnancies, you can imagine how far my stomach had to stretch. Actually you don’t even have to imagine…check out these pictures!

39 weeks single pregnancy polyhydramnios


35 weeks with twins and polyhydramnios



With these pregnancies of mine came lots of permanent changes to my body, which I’m starting to force myself to be OK with. I’m learning I’m not alone in this, that there are many women out there experiencing the same changes to their bodies after pregnancy that just won’t go away with diet and exercise. Some things that are simply not reversible. Even with the ever increasingly popular plastic surgeries that women are getting, it still may not do everything you want it to do.

And so, we need to learn to love ourselves again; our new body, our new scars, new marks and new figure—which may be our new image now. We will never be our 20 year old bodies again. Our bodies are meant to grow, reach its peak, and then meant to start the process of breaking down. I’m not saying to “let go” of yourself and give up working out and eating healthy to get back into shape again. But I think we need to be realistic of ourselves.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones where your pregnancies were easy and your body is the same as it was before you started having babies. And maybe you look even BETTER than you did before you had kids, which is totally awesome!

BUT to those who feel like me and are struggling to gain your sense of self-esteem and beauty again when you look at your naked body in the mirror, or try on your old clothes that don’t fit or look cute on you anymore due to the toil of pregnancies—I’m speaking to you.

You’re not alone.

I’m trying to remember that my beauty is not simply on the outside. There is an inner beauty to each of us that is more important to develop and nurture than what we see on the outside. Something that won’t cripple with age but merely becomes more beautiful over time if we continue to cultivate it.

I want to be that older woman with a sparkle still in her eyes, smile lines around her face from years of laughter, strong wrinkly hands that show the hard work of motherhood—and exude a joy that surpasses any of life’s circumstances. This doesn’t happen by chance, but is a choice I have to make and continue to make daily. To love myself. And not in a narcissistic way. But love the person God has created me to be:

A mommy of twins and a baby girl—all under 2—gaining patience and strength through mothering that I never knew I had.

A woman struggling with depression but learning through Gods word and his teachings how to gain control over it instead of it controlling me.

A wife who serves her husband with thankfulness instead of discontentment with the stresses of life.

A friend who encourages and uplifts others to reach their full potential in life instead of breaking
them down by gossiping to others about their issues.

I want to be the kind of woman that exudes love to others, and in order to do that I need to begin to love myself again. I can do this best by remembering Gods love for me, that he loves me no matter what—the good and the bad. No matter how unlovable I think I am. This applies to all of you as well.

A quote from Mother Teresa, a woman with some of the greatest inner beauty, bestowing so much love to all she came in contact with, setting an amazing example, I believe for all women to follow said this…

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

I will keep working on my inner beauty since that is more important than what I see on the outside. However, I will still be working towards trying to fit in my favorite pair of jeans again…

Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things [woman] looks at. [Woman] looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Is my vagina ruined? (Anonymous)

It took me awhile to conceive my 1st child, so when I found out I was pregnant I was thrilled. It didn’t take long though for my anxiety to set in and for my body issues to only be exasperated by my growing and changing physique. I gained 60 pounds during those 9 months. For someone who was abused and constantly told I was ugly and fat as a child by my father, this really put me in a bad place. I tend to gain weight very easily and a lot of it was water weight but it was still something I felt shame for. Every single time I went to my checkups, I dreaded the scale. I worried about what people thought of me, I hated the way I looked and didn’t want pictures taken of my pregnant belly. Fast forward to now, my son just turned 2. He amazes me every.single.day and is my pride and joy. I still have some of my baby weight, my breasts have changed, and I feel that my vagina looks different as well. My vagina is something that I’m actually quite concerned about….it’s my biggest issue. I had incontinence for the first 9 months or so after birth but that seems to have resolved itself for the most part. Sometimes I will pee a teeny bit if I sneeze or cough hard enough. But the opening of my vagina seems wider and longer to me. The hole is definitely different and seems to go quite far down, almost to my anus. I only tore on my labia according to my midwives so I don’t understand why it looks so different. Sex is pretty good and hasn’t changed dramatically but I do notice that I’m a bit softer inside and I feel less friction. I definitely don’t feel as tight as I used to feel and that worries me. I want more children but am concerned about furthering the damage down there. I’ve even started obsessively looking up c-sections, and vaginoplasty. Will my vagina get worse with each baby?? Every medical professional I saw prior to giving birth assured me that nothing would change and that everything would eventually return to normal but I disagree. I feel like this is a subject that isn’t discussed amongst women, and if it is, it’s not done openly and candidly. I have suffered so much mentally over this fear that my vagina isn’t pleasurable anymore and that if I have more babies it will only get worse. I don’t know what to think. I feel so abnormal and alone and that’s why I came here.

You may also choose to include:
~Number of pregnancies and births:3 pregnancies, 1 abortion, and 1 miscarriage.
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 2 year old child.

The more graphic images are available here and here.

Will you choose to love yourself? (Jan)

Age: 26
1 pregnancy, 1 child- a daughter, 19 months.

I have posted here before, when my own baby girl (now 19 months) was just eight months old. I was overwhelmed by the encouraging and uplifting comments on my story. Healed by the words of other mothers I didn’t even know. Almost every day I visit this site to read stories left by other women, some of them are so positive and I cannot help but smile and think, “Good for you, Mama.” Others are so heartbreaking, I never realized how many women out there are suffering due to poor personal image, broken relationships, loss of a child, etc. And some women just can’t find the beauty in themselves anymore.

We all have our own story, full of triumphs and letdowns, joy and pain. I want to ask if YOU will make a change today, if you are in a bad situation or feeling down about your appearance… because you cannot give, or get, anything valuable out of life if you do not love yourself! Will you choose to love yourself? For you are a mother. You cried tears of joy or surprise when you found out you were pregnant. You longed to feel like your old self when you were suffering through nausea. You watched the numbers creep up on the scale. You felt the flutters, the kicks, the hiccups, and it made you smile every time. You went through the labor, you gave birth. Your breasts made milk that nourished your baby, or if you did not breastfeed, they still provided a cozy spot for your new baby to cuddle. You somehow managed to make it through as you healed from the delivery and you braved through the intense emotional swings. As your baby got older, you realized more and more that your own dreams would be fulfilled just as long as your child’s were.

A female’s body becomes that of a woman when she becomes a mother. Her body has done what it was designed exactly for. It is so beautiful. I remember as a child, feeling sick or scared, and there was no place I would rather be than cuddled up to my mom’s soft and cuddly chest.

Of course, it is important to be healthy and to care for and love our bodies. To pay our bodies the respect they deserve for all they have achieved. But that doesn’t have to mean being without stretch marks and some extra skin! When is the last time you thanked your body for what it accomplished? Could you possibly stop demeaning yourself because you think your body is ruined? For it is not ruined by bearing children!

To ruin our bodies is to ABUSE drugs, alcohol, and food. Bearing a child is not what ruins our bodies at all.

Strive to be YOUR best, not to look like your “lucky” friend who lost all her baby weight right off the bat. Be realistic, add good whole foods to your diet, thank your body, respect your body, and listen to your partner when he/she tells you that you’re beautiful. Have gratitude. Give to others. Mend relationships. Change the negative things in your life, and if it can’t be changed, eliminate it. Doing all of these things will heal you, inside and out. Words are so incredibly powerful. Say positive affirmations out loud. Eventually the lying voice in your head that tells you that you are worthless and gross WILL go away with time. This is a journey that will take a long time… but it will bring you to a wonderful place where you CAN be a strong woman and mother. A loving, capable mother.

These are things we want to pass on to our sons and daughters, no? Thank you for reading.

First picture: Not even an hour old
Second picture: My daughter at 18 months, walking with her Great Grandmother

Surfin’ Mama (Gia)

Age: 39
2 boys ages 5 years and 10 months
10 months post partum

I have a scar on my calf. It is thin and whitened with age, and every year that passes it fades just a little bit more. That makes me sad, because I love this scar. I loved it even more when it was new, thick, and hideously red. When people saw it, they were prompted to ask, “How’d you get that scar?” I would proudly say, “When I was first learning to surf.” Then I would tell them about how I paddled out on a day that I shouldn’t have. The waves were overhead, the rip current churning, the black flag thwacking in the wind, but I hopped on my board anyway. I paddled through the whitewash, duck-dove through the impact zone, and waited through several sets to gather the courage to drop into one of those ferocious waves. When I finally did, my timing was just a little bit off, and I went over-the-falls. For the non-surfers reading this, that’s when the wave drags you up and over, then comes crashing down on top of you, bashing you into the ocean floor, churning you relentlessly before spitting you out in the shallows. Somewhere in that murky washing machine, a fin on my board sliced through my leg. By the time I struggled back up to the beach, I was bleeding profusely, but I felt strangely exhilarated. I had conquered my fear. It’s a moment I will remember forever.

I don’t feel the same way about the scars on my belly. They are thin and whitened with age, and every year that passes I wish I could erase them completely. If there was a safe, easy, painless way to do it, I wouldn’t hesitate. But a tummy tuck seems extreme in my case, and adding a severe, hip to hip scar to get rid of a bunch of tiny ones, all so I can wear a bikini for three months out of the year, seems a little illogical. I’m not sure why I can’t embrace them like some of you. I love my kids, and stretch marks are a small price to pay, but I’m not emotionally attached to them in any way. I don’t think stretch marks make me stronger, more interesting, wiser, or more motherly. I don’t think that women who don’t get them are missing out on any sort of badge of honor or courage, “warrior stripes” as some call them. While I respect that others celebrate them, to me, they are not something I’ve earned. They’re just stretch marks.

When I was in my early twenties, I had a roommate who would spend hours examining herself in a magnifying mirror. She would pluck and poke at imaginary flaws in her perfect porcelain skin. When I would ask her what the hell she was doing she would respond, “Can’t you see that?” I tried to explain to her that no one views her through a magnifying glass. No one stands that close, so it’s pointless to look at yourself that way. This didn’t console her, and she would turn back to her mirror and start picking again.

It occurred to me the other morning, when I was standing at the mirror, staring at my belly in the unforgiving morning light, that I also look at myself in the wrong way. People do not just see one part of me, they see the overall shape. They do not stare at my stomach, my nose, my feet (okay, my husband stares at my ass, but you get my point). So I took five steps back and really just looked at the overall package, the way a stranger would look at me. An amazing thing happened. The stretch marks disappeared, and I saw what I am. An athlete. Broad shoulders, muscular arms, toned legs. I saw a healthy, active mother. So whether you’re athletic, curvy, or thin, embrace your overall shape. Forget the cellulite, the wrinkled skin, the moles, the stretch marks. You’re the only one looking at them, in the right light, at the right distance, in the exact position, that amplifies their significance. Then jump into the future for just a moment, and ask your 80 year-old self how she feels about the body you have right now, stretch marks, sagging belly skin and all. You’ll be shocked at the response. You know what mine said? “I just wish I could still paddle out and surf.”
Picts taken today

The Shape of Our Hearts (Christina Plant)

age: 35
pregnancies 3
births 3
childrens ages: 14, 12, 9 (all boys!)
(this makes me nine plus years postpartum)

There is a fire in all of us. Sometimes I only have enough to keep the pilot light on. Sometimes I’m a torch. A bonfire. Sometimes, I am a wildfire- unruly and all-consuming.

I’ve been a mother for almost 14 years- I suppose it’s more accurate to say almost 15 years- how could I leave out the 9.5 months of my first pregnancy! I have three sons and the age span between the oldest and youngest is less than 5 years.

Today I am on fire! High and blazing. Excited and eager to live and breathe and make each day count. I make fitness a high priority, but I find that the aesthetic benefits are just a side affect of what taking care of my body does for me. I like feeling good in my own skin and when women ask me how it is that I am in such good shape after having 3 kids I do not hesitate to say “I work my ass off” with a totally straight serious face. That is exactly what I do. I’m a runner. I run about 20-30 miles a week. I MAKE the time for it- it’s as important as wiping my butt, or brushing my teeth or taking a shower. While we could survive without doing these things, if we fail to do these things regularly, we put our health at risk. I feel the same way about exercise. It’s an important part of maintaining your life. I also watch my diet- I make healthy choices and enjoy treats and indulgences about once a week. I keep anything that I absolutely love devouring out of my home.

I can’t help but notice that I’m in better shape than most of my oldest son’s female friends. I’ve heard people say to him “is THAT your mom?” and I must admit, it gives me a confidence boost.

There have been times when my fire was weak. I was that down, self-deprecating out of shape woman that looked at fit women and wondered if I would EVER feel or look as good as they do. I thought they had some special gift that I did not. Genetics. Will power. Money to hire a trainer or a personal chef. Blablablabla. But they aren’t special. They’re no better or worse than you or I. You cannot see inside their hearts. They may be fit for the wrong reasons. None of us are perfect. The photos you see that show flawless bodies are like a mirage. They aren’t real. What truly matters is what is in your heart. How is your fire? Does it burn for you and your passions and your goals, whatever they might be?

You can’t show the “shape” of a person’s heart in a photo. But if we wanted and if we are brave, we can show our hearts by showing who we really are. Some of the “worst looking” photos of me capture priceless moments. Who cares if it’s taken at a bad angle or my hair is unkempt? Did you ever stumble across a social network profile and notice that EVERY photo of that person shows them with flawless makeup, perfectly groomed, at their best angle, or smiling just perfectly? What does it mean when we hesitate to share our “real” moments- the ones where vanity and image are irrelevant because we’re too busy uhm… living???

I am not afraid of “looking” bad while living well. Upon finding this site, I too quickly realized how easy it is to see and believe photos like this:

or this:

Not bad, right? That’s me! I am 5’3″ and had 3 babies. The first one was 10 lbs 1 oz. I was 206 lbs right before delivery. The second one was 8 lbs 13 oz. Since I was chasing a toddler through that pregnancy, I only weighed in at 170 lbs before delivery. The third one was induced EARLY and weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and I was well over the 200 lb mark 2 weeks before his due date!

But we forget that there is NO such thing as perfection and here is the proof:

My tattoo is almost 16 years old and has some impressive battle scars, don’t you agree?

Here is a side shot of my lower abs and thigh:

What CAN’T you see in all of these photos? My heart. My fire. My passion for feeling alive. You can’t plainly see it from the outside on anyone can you? There is no way- perhaps because it is beyond what our eyes can see. The shape of our bodies and what we see in the mirror shouldn’t be the most important thing. We need to nurture the shape of our hearts.

Updated here.

Did you know? (Jill)

Previous posts here, here and here.

My baby is 20 months old.
My body is 20 months postpartum.
We had a natural birth.
We breastfed for 13 months.
I’m 23.

I didn’t know you could “give it 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, etc” and still not be where you want to be.
I didn’t know people were gonna be so wrong when they assured me “Don’t worry, a first pregnancy doesn’t do any damage.”
I didn’t know my boobs would be so empty, so used up, so covered in scars after this whole ordeal of motherhood began and flourished.
I didn’t know the stretch marks on my thighs would illicit so many comments at the pool.
I didn’t know my hair would fall out, my eyesight would get worse, and my hands would go numb during/soon after pregnancy.
I didn’t know the postpartum stomach I’ve worked so hard on, the one I’m now OK with (mostly) and so proud of would confuse and even disgust the few I chose to show it to.

I didn’t know I could love someone so much I’d pray over them while they slept.
I didn’t know I could get by on so little sleep and still smile.
I didn’t know I’d build such amazing forts that my son would play in them for hours.
I didn’t know a couple of words could make my whole heart melt: “I want mama!”
I didn’t know 20 months later, I’d still be saying, “Don’t get any bigger! This phase is my favorite so far!” and mean it each time.
I didn’t know I could love my husband more but every time I see the resemblance between my little baby and my big baby, watch out! More love.

I don’t know how I’ll ever let that little baby go and grow up on his own when it’s time.

What didn’t you know?
What do you wish you’d known?
What have you learned?
Know this: We are mothers! We are amazing.

Pics: The ever controversial postpartum stomach. Covered in stretch marks. Flapping with extra skin. I know. Get over it.

Believing My Husband’s Words (Nikki)

Age: 24
7 pregnancies, 2 births
Children age: 4 yrs & 15 months

I enjoy coming to Bonnie’s website because I know, if anything, it gives women a place to be open and honest with themselves. Whether or not a woman takes anything constructive from it is individual. I have seen bodies of women who I think shouldn’t complain and bodies of women who could have every reason to. In all, this site will either make you appreciate what you have or loathe it. But day after day, I come and read the very similar posts of my fellow mothers and begin to think: “Why do we put so much weight into our looks?” I haven’t seen any websites for men to discuss their calloused hands, beer gut and flat butt. My husband has more stretch marks (due to steroids for a condition) and ACTUAL skin problems (eczema, psoriasis) than I do, but he doesn’t think himself ugly or unfit for intimacy. If I can love him for who he is and his looks, and I’m pretty sure you ladies feel the same way about your SO, then why of all whys do we question whether our men still find us attractive? Our men aren’t any beauty queens or underwear models themselves, but we put ourselves thru all kinds of mental and physical hell to be something we think our men desire. When on the flip side, they aren’t worried about doing it for us.

For example, I was watching Dr. Oz and he had some overweight women who felt insecure of their bodies and wanted help. Well right beside them was their overweight husbands. Why do they have to take on the unattractive burden when their husbands are no more attractive or in any better physical condition? But if you asked those same women how they felt about their husband, they’d say they love them unconditionally and looks didn’t matter. Unless they’re lying to make them feel good, why can’t men say what will make us feel good? Sounds unfair and one-sided don’t you think? But it’s possible for a man to actually consider our worth in terms of personality and inner beauty than looks alone. If men aren’t stressin’, neither should we. And we bring something even better to the table: our beauty is amplified by bringing life into this world. A man’s beauty is amplified by the type of father he is to those children. Ladies, if we are stressing about our looks for a man we think will leave us because of our looks, he wasn’t worth keeping around anyway. He’d be considered shallow and not worth your love. But if we keep compounding our self loathing onto them, it will turn them off to us. They want a confident woman regardless of what society deems her body. Because frankly, men get tired of hearing us complain or worse, refusing them intimacy. We’re not some damn peacock strutting around. Our brains are too complex to live our lives focused on the quality of our feathers. There are people needing love and attention inside and outside our homes, so we need to take stock on the abilities and capabilities of ourselves. We take on spouses for the comfort and security of being ourselves and walking together on a path to greater things. There shouldn’t be any room for shame.

Couples should support and encourage physical fitness and better eating for the sake of being healthier so you all can grow old together and see your grandkids, not so you can look like Gisele and he Tom Brady. They’re not that cute anyway, lol. While I would hope this message reaches someone, if anything I want it to make women think. And remember, if he says you look hot, beautiful, sexy, or bangin’ BELIEVE HIM.

Beautiful Figure From Beautiful Boys (Heather)

I was never very secure with my body. Before I became pregnant, I had a beautiful hourglass figure, but of course at the time, I felt ugly and fat. Looking back, I want to slap myself. Although now I feel as if my body has a different type of beauty. Looking at this picture not only makes me swell with pride, but helps me feel beautiful as a mother. My stomach sags, and I have very deep stretch marks, but when I look at myself in the mirror I remind myself of the beautiful children I carried for 34 weeks. For now I’m content with how I look. My boys were worth every ounce of fat and stretch mark.


Of Mothers and Beauty (Michelle L)

Your age: 30
Number of pregnancies and births: 4


“I hate using maps,” I said to him. Amongst sculptures and artifacts, oil canvases and mixed media, we wandered aimlessly and tirelessly. Hours passed like seconds. Nothing mattered to me but the air that he was breathing. The walls melted in the winter rain falling outside the plate glass windows, and the sun sank somewhere deep into eternity beneath the puddles of water. I followed him everywhere. The corridors seemed unending; like a house of mirrors that reflected a false doorway, one after the other. We passed through centuries of art, through wars and peace, across the world and back, and yet still, time loosed its hands and we lost grip of where we were, who we were, and even what we were. The only identities left were my reflection in his eyes, and his reflection in mine. Everything about him stuck to me like honey. Any time I turned a corner and he did not follow, the honey pulled itself into thin long strands of gold between us like spun sugar. This, I know, was when I slipped into love with him.

Now eventually, time returned. After the ink on the marriage certificate dried, bills were arriving in the mail, babies were crying, jobs were lost and discord began to settle in with the dust. I needed guidance. I looked in my reflection and saw a mother of three young babies with more stretch marks on her belly than pennies were in her bank account. I was stuck in a job making a living but not actually living. Life spun on an axis of baby bottles and stacks of mounting bills, all co-existing in an apartment with less than 1000 sq ft of living space. The grip around my neck could not have gotten any tighter without cutting off all of my air supply. That is, until I found myself pregnant for the fourth (and last) time when my youngest daughter was a mere four months old.

But I still hated maps. One day in a Psychology class, I read that spatial orientation can affect one’s ability to properly read and follow maps. I self-diagnosed this as my problem. Every road has a map; every step goes in a direction. My inability to identify with direction was surely my downfall, or so I assumed. Maybe my failing spatial orientation was the missing piece of my maternal progression. Maybe the two were meant to be entwined, and the thread between my failures and successes unraveled at some point in my life. Maybe I needed to stay positive. I fixated on the latter. If maps were written in a language that I could not comprehend, I could find another direction; one that would supersede my inabilities and guide me through the dark corridors that held the centuries of my soul, and now, the corridors of four very small children. No one is born into the earth without carrying a seed of all who were before him. I owed it to my children to find myself. This, I reasoned, was why I needed a different sort of compass to find my way. The ancients had sundials. Others had wind currents. Surgeons had x-rays, and lovers had intuition. I, however, had none of these things. I only had the stickiness of my soul and clouded words that sometimes became cohesive thoughts. As I grew in sentence structures, words became my guide.

Martin Luther King once quoted Amos at the Mason Temple in Memphis, TN when he said, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” It was a quote so poetic that it sank deep into my thoughts by the mere symphony that seemed to resonate from the syllables. Later in life, however, it resonated with me for different reasons. I slowly began to understand the booming voice of Dr. King and the purpose for which he gave his life. What I didn’t understand, however, was how we as mothers never adapted his passion and sharpened his words as a weapon to defend ourselves from our own superficial society. Dr. King identified the poor of America as one of the wealthiest group of people on the earth because of the strength in their combined numbers. “Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine.” Collectively, we as mothers are richer than all the men in the world because of what we have given to our societies. As the poor are trampled upon because of their lacking economic status, so we, too, are trampled upon because of our lacking status in magazine covers, Victoria’s Secret catalogs and a number of other superficial outlets. There is no public praise of sagging breasts that gave our babies their first meal; thighs with cellulite because we rocked our babies to sleep every night instead of handing them to a nanny; deflated bellies that held our children so close to our hearts that their muscular walls gave out and left us with empty skin. There is no acknowledgment of mothers because it seems we denote something from which we all search frantically to run – true love, unconditional love, love that extends its arms from time into eternity. We are a few generations that span across a 16 and Pregnant era, a “Love Kills Slowly” era, an era of sordid affairs, broken homes, and an era in which The Real Housewives have overtaken the maternal role of June Cleaver, Carol Brady and even Lucille Ball. But we are the richest group of human beings on the face of the earth, if for no other reason than our ability to bond with a human life. When we stop scrutinizing ourselves long enough to look around us, absorb what is hurting the mother beside us, and acknowledge that we, too, suffer from the same – this is when our justice will roll down like waters and our righteousness will flow like a mighty stream. When we embrace ourselves, our streaming stretch marks that roll down our bellies, our voices that overtake like a mighty stream in our children’s lives, then and only then will we see freedom in ourselves and in the world around us.

It is vital for us as women to return to the core of ourselves, and not merely in a moment of gratitude. In band societies, such as the San of the Kalahari Desert, the hunter who kills an animal to provide for his family is not the owner of the kill. Rather, the maker of the arrow that was used in the kill is the owner of the meat that is brought back to the tribe. Let us always remember that our children are our arrows. No matter what religion you are, remember the Psalm of King David that said, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed…” (127:4-5). Let us never be ashamed of who we are, where we are, or what we have given to our world around us. Though it takes a village to raise a child, let not our society take the gratitude that is to be bestowed upon each of us as the creator of the arrows. Let us teach the world more than how to raise a child – let us teach them to respect the shape of a mother by first respecting ourselves.

Cognitive Dissonance (Eden)

age 33
one birth, 32 months ago

I love this photo because it’s a hot girl in a bikini and also shows my loose belly skin.

I’m surprised by how unselfconscious I feel about that part of me – I’m more inclined to touch it absentmindedly and enjoy how soft it is than to lament how it looks.

There’s nothing contradictory about how good I look and that I look like my body grew a baby.