The Body Beautiful

July 18, 2006

Elisa’s post about Heidi Klum got me thinking about every mother’s love/hate relationship with her post-partum body.

I admired Klum for getting back on the catwalk just a few months after having her baby, and seeing her in cute maternity dresses makes me itch for another baby “bump,” as the gossip mags call it.

But let’s face it: the vast majority of women don’t “bounce back” after pregnancy. Babies have a profound effect on our bodies, long after they’re out of the womb.

I read about The Shape of a Mother on Blogging Baby. Started by a mom from Anaheim, this blog invites submissions and meditations on motherhood and how it changes our bodies. Check out some of the entries.

The pictures run the gamut from sweet to shocking, graphic to artsy. There are muscular moms, skinny moms, chubby moms and everything in between. The ones that fascinate me most are the pictures that show heavy stretch marks. Some of them are red, angry and wide, a veritable road map detailing a woman’s journey to motherhood. I love reading the women’s heartfelt admissions; some love their new bodies, others hate them, but they all appreciate the magical end result.

I didn’t get any stretch marks, but my belly is softer and rounder, my hips wider. My boobs are less perky after 14 months of nursing. It will never be featured in a magazine, but I love my body for giving me what I never knew I always wanted: the gift of motherhood.

How has your body changed post-pregnancy?