One day I sat in a restaurant in Anaheim, California eating breakfast, when a woman passed by my table with her infant carrier in tow. As she lifted it up to fit between the tables, her shirt raised and I saw that, although she was at a healthy weight and her body was fit, she had that same extra skin hanging around her belly that I do. It occurred to me that a post-pregnancy body is one of this society's greatest secrets; all we see of the female body is that which is airbrushed and perfect, and if we look any different, we hide it from the light of day in fear of being seen. That makes me want to cry. Sure we all talk about the sagging boobs and other parts, but no one ever sees them. Or if they do, it's in comical form, mocking the beauty that created and nourished our children. It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so much for the human race. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be? -The Shape of a Mother
A couple of years ago, I met Bonnie on MySpace. Shortly after that, she launched The Shape of a Mother, the amazing online photographic community dedicated to loving the body of a mother, what her body stands for, and the beauty of life created. You can add the lovely lady who started this wonderful following as a friend on MySpace or join her group on Facebook. Showing my mama-tummy in public does not make me feel ashamed. Sometimes, yes, I get less than kind responses, but the positive far outweighs anything otherwise. I really enjoy the positive responses I get when I sport my own mama tummy when I bellydance and drum for dancers. I occasionally have henna art on my tummy, which highlights the mama-swirls and lines.
I cannot find many not-nude photos of me baring my tummy without henna, but here is one from when I was about three months pregnant with Esme, in our shoppe at Bristol:
Most of the sculptures David has done of me feature my mama tummy--and they are usually the favorites of the year when they are introduced. Done in May 2005, the following drum is the very first sculpture David did of me, what he titled "My Guardian Angel." Dispite the crack through the center in the finished version (which happened during the first firing), it is always a public favorite at shows: It may be difficult to see with the glare from the glaze, but notice the mama swirls on the tummy and breasts. A more recent sculpture of me, from January 2007, pregnant with Esme, is David's favorite sculpture ever. It is an abstract-ish figure centered on a drum with a tiger face carved on the top. The figure has a full baby-tummy and is "holding" the tiger. The tummy is also full of mama swirls:
David constantly uses this drum for recording and for playing live, so it travels with him. It has even made it on stage for gigs. Women should feel empowered by the shapes of their bodies. We are not a one-size fits all Barbie. No. We are slender, curvy, voluptuous, lovely, fertile, real women. We are both scarred and flawless. We are mothers. Our bodies have changed along with the wonderful changes motherhood has introduced us to. We need to be proud of the thin
I will close with a strip--one of my favorites, actually--from dear Hathor, published years ago: