Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Shape of a Mother

So I've got a new button over to the right, The Shape of a Mother. I first heard about this blog from one of Amalah's paying gigs, and ever since checking it out I have been cogitating. I was moved to tears in several specific places, and more than once I just started to cry from... I don't know what. The beauty? My personal sorrows? My disappointments and fears? Shame.

Still thinking.

I have had the button there and perhaps some of you have already tested to see where that rabbit hole ends you up at... I feel I should give y'all a disclaimer, especially those of you at work. There are pictures of real and actual mama bodies... and in some cases, all of the mama is shown. Some of the mama's have "bounced back" and some of them still bear physical reminders of their motherhood. Badges of honor, marks of travail.

I have never seen anything like this before. The closest thing that I have viewed was from off of websites I found after googling images of before and after surgical "tummy tucks." And breast lifts... reductions. Did you know that you can get a butt lift? I want one... of each. This may give you some idea of the paradigm that I have been operating under, my dirty little secret desires. Over the course of a week last year I would go to these websites and wonder and I would dream. I came to my senses and deleted these sites from my bookmarks. I have not been back there since. I wish I could say that I started to accept my body... no, it was a simple matter of reality... those procedures cost BANK. Who would take care of my babies while I was down during recovery? It is surgery with all of surgery's risks, and I am the gal who will not get on a motorcycle again until my youngest is eighteen.

At thirty seven years of age my body is a rather open bank book of give and take, gain, loss and destruction. The tattoos and piercings, the weight gain, overeating, the Slimfast, starvation, alcoholism, drug addiction, cigarettes, the past decade of clean living and the past five years of procreation. I have done some terrible things to my body... betrayal you might call it, this body of mine and I have betrayed each other in turns. Frankly I look at the devastation that bearing three children in my thirties has wrought on my body? It is just more of the same. The only new things are varicose veins, a few new spider veins and a more and smooshier middle, and some pounds that are still hanging out. Lots of pounds. The stretch marks are just kind of a bonus. By the time I gave birth to my first baby I had gone far beyond the "watermelon" look, I had marks that cross-hatched my marks. Marks on a belly that would never have seen the light of day anyhow.

Breasts, I have despised mine since they came to me, at age 13, covered in stretchmarks and with the nipples already heading south. They have always been too big in my estimation, an estimation that has been reaffirmed when it came to nursing and I discovered that I would have to hold my own breast just to keep from smothering my infant.

Still thinking.

I admire the women who have posted pictures and shared their stories. I am now thinking about my body in a different light... a saner light. Acceptance? Self love and joy in my body? Heh, nope. Not even close, but I am walking that direction now. In the meantime I have my babies, my exquisite daughters who need a mama who can teach them about their bodies. I have Dadguy who tells me that I am beautiful, looks at me like I am a work of art and touches me like I am a velvet and gold. I have my own heart and a mind that tells me to be reasonable. I have eyes that see the beauty of other women and their mama's bodies.

I am walking in that direction.


anne nahm said...

That site is wonderfully moving. Here's my problem: 80% of my brain is watching the pictures and stories go by, and thinking how brave and wonderful and story-filled each is.

But there's still a very ugly 20% of my brain thinking, "whew! I look better than that!" or "*seething jealousy* I can't believe she had a kid!"

It's making me look at a very ugly side of myself.

Well, I guess two ugly sides - not just the belly this time.

bon said...

Yeah. My 20% was busy thinking..." Yeah, of course they can learn to love their mama bodies... they look GREAT compared to me. I finally see one that looks like me today, I saw those two pix of an annon. belly? I think, well... it looks OK on her.

The fact that I cannot accept it on myself? I think THAT says some kind of ugly thing about my intolerance and judgementalism. Fine for them, but I need to be "better," "sexier," "prettier." Bah.

Mama D said...

I'm gonna do it. Of course I just told everyone at my La Leche League meeting about the site last night and... well, maybe I'll wait a bit longer.

The Shape of a Mother said...

Oh, I have the same boobs you do! They were "born" saggy. LOL This is a beautiful entry, thanks!

Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

I wanna take nude photos too! Heckfire, I won't even bother to be anonymous. My stretchmarks have a name!

As a secondary effect of viewing that site I'm now baby hungry. That photo of the sleeping newborn right after nursing nestled against the boob did it. The feeling will pass.

LynAnne said...

Whew, I'm relieved to read that I wasn't the only one who was a but jealous about the wonderful bodies of some of the women. I was feeling so guilty for being so annoyed with them for ruining my feelings of relief that I wasn't so abnormal after all. Of course they have every right to post how proud they are of their body. I didn't find very many who had a baby in the last year. Maybe some day I'll be in their shoes (ok, maybe not, but i can dream, cant i?)

A butt lift? Could they do a but reduction and a butt tuck while they are at it? I've heard of butt implants. I could donate a few rolls to some needy recipient. :)

Thanks for sharing your journey! Every mother is beautiful in their child's eyes.

Heather from One Woman's World said...

Bon, that is beautiful. I am so impressed. And I am there with you. The crazy struggle to know who we are, and love it and accept it. What a simple confession of a complicated journey. Thank you.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Hello my dear...

I love that site. I love that all those beautiful women are brave enough to share - so that all us other beautiful women don't feel quite so weird and unusual.

I didn't bounce back. I wouldn't say I'm lucky. I worked hard to get here, and I'm still working. I don't feel perfect, but I feel a certain amount of peace that I didn't have before.

And doll, you don't need an ass lift. You need to love yourself!

plantain said...

I was just thinking today... while nursing my 'wee snapper'... I wish I had those perky little titties .... and I could just close my eyes and chillax while nursing... but I have to hold my boob up so it doesn't pop out of his mouth/smother him....
I'm actually really curious to see what they'll look like once he's weaned... they're already starting to head south...
And how much do nursing bra's suck when you've got big bazoomba's? ... Liz Lange at target has some okay ones though. T