A Mother’s Body

This is an image shared by 257 friends of mine on Facebook.

I understand why people responded to it and why it has the number of likes that it does. Our stretch marks and lose skin and dimples may not have been there twenty years ago, but they are part of who we are now and, therefore, they are beautiful. We earned them.

We are Women, hear us Roar!

But, here’s the thing: I’m not roaring about my stretchmarks; I’m groaning.

Then there’s this movement that seems to pop up every few years of mothers baring their bellies to show what we — real women — look like. Yes, it’s absolutely refreshing to see what a normal belly is after years of being bombarded with washboard abs and Photoshopped perfection. Real bellies dimple and sag and dip and bulge. Real boobs do the same, and most of us have them. By recognizing this, we should all be more comfortable in our own skin. Well, that’s the point at least.

But, while everyone else is comforted and roaring, all I’m thinking is that I’m sure as hell not going to be caught dead on the internet without a shirt on. Good for those women. Their self-confidence and self-acceptance is inspiring. Good for their daughters, being raised by moms who are comfortable in their own skin… Good for their husbands who don’t need deal with the mishigas that most partners do. It’s a good thing… I’m just not there yet.

My body gave me my children and for that, I will be eternally grateful. It is a beautiful thing, indeed. But, the stretch marks? They’re not so pretty, no matter what exotic animal they’re compared to. The stomach? Sorry, but I would prefer it be be flatter. The veins? No, I don’t see little works of modern art in their formation. The sagging? The drooping? No, I can not say I love the effects that carrying and birthing three children has had on me. Does that make me anti-feminist, shallow and vain? Maybe, but it’s the truth: I liked my body better before I had kids.

Would I trade my motherly imperfections for the experience of motherhood? Of course not, not in a million years. But, I don’t consider them trophies, either. They’re more like necessary consequences that I’ve learned to accept, but never fully embrace. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but I’m not exactly proud of them, either.

Perhaps someday, I won’t slather coco butter on my skin, hoping for a miracle. Maybe I’ll even wear a skimpy swimsuit at a crowded public pool without the slightest hint of self consciousness. Maybe I’ll prance and roar and pound my chest with pride. But, more than likely, I won’t. I think I’ll always wish that I’d appreciated my pre-baby belly more and scowl at the cruel redistribution of weight. But, I do recognize that I’m more than a number on the scale or the ripples on my skin. I am woman. I guess I’m just not much of a roarer.

I do, however, really like to hiss.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Mayra Rachel 3 years ago

i have read this post and now i found out that it was very useful to me !

Danielle 3 years ago

Love your honesty. I feel the same way. There is so much I wish I could change.

Kande 4 years ago

Late coming to this party so probably no one will ever see my little comment, but I think it needs to be said. I love my toddlers chubby legs, and arms, and cheeks, and fat little belly! Who says babies don’thave cellulite? She sure does,and fat rolls to spare. And she is perfection. I love my 8 year olds body with her lingering baby fat, half-in crooked teeth, and her half way in curves, and her pokey out bum. She is perfection! I was a teenager and I was thinner than I was now but still considered heavy compared to my peers, I had teenage pimples and an 80’s frizzy perm. But what I wish I had realized then was that I was perfection. I was a pre-baby 20 something and finally shed the lingering pudge, had firm and perky boobs, no more acne and much better hair. I was still just as insecure and wish that I had realized then too that I was perfection. I am now 30 something, two kids and one c-section later. Some stretch marks and I have sagging skin, small deflated sagging boobs – but I also have, from starting to run, better abs than I have ever had, and an appreciation for where my body has been and how it is today. Because no matter what, to me? My kids will always be perfection. And I think, after 30 + years wasted on self doubt and body hatred, I owe it to myself – and my two daughters – to finally realize each stage is just that – a stage – and it is ALL perfection – even the saggy boob, wrinkled stomach, stetch mark stage …

Becca 4 years ago

My hubby loves my body so i am proud of it!!

We should be proud ‘cos be brought out our kids in this world..

Joanna 4 years ago

Liz, I just had to google it because you googled it and I love it. “Mishigas” is my life!

Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac 4 years ago

I had to google “mishigas” and it just might be my new go-to word. :)

imlosingit 4 years ago

My body pre baby was damn hot! I look so energetic, well rested and perky ! 1 ectopic, 2 kids and 6 miscarriages later I’m still not used to dressing “this body”. Even if i did everything right my shape is different. The scars I can live with. Bigger clothes, different styles, orthodics, saggy boobs ill deal. Its just wrapping my brain around positive change and accepting me right now. Just as I am.

Elaine 4 years ago

I gotta tell ya, since we’re on the subject, looking at some of those other bellies made me feel better about mine. And I don’t mean that in a mean way, but it’s true. And I’ve sorta bared my belly, from the side, on my blog, when I’ve showed change after my weight loss. Some people say I’m brave to do that, I just say it keeps me motivated.

I do like to see the “real” bodies vs. the photoshopp-ed ones (which I would even guess this one is, in some way…) out there because I think we women need to know that those DO exist. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it too if you do not feel comfortable with it. :)

*lynne* 4 years ago

Ugh. I’ve had stretch marks since puberty when my body decided to fill out before my skin was ready for it. I’ve lived with the shame of that for years (I turn 40 this year), so thanks to me beloved mother (/sarcasm) who, when asked what was happening, why the area around my arms/shoulders were doing this weird dimpled stripe thing, replied, spitting almost, “You’re too fat!”

Fun times.

I am totally uncomfortable with my body ANYway, these new stretch marks are just the icing on the cake.

So the stretch marks from my now 9-month-old? Can’t do anything about them, really, but I’ll try to be better about slathering on the cocoa butter for the next pregnancy.


Tere 4 years ago

love the post – love the pic. sooooo true.
hate my body.
love my son.
hate my body.
love being a mom…
what else is there to say?

abnormalmommy 4 years ago

Nothing will ever be the same again, but like you said, we should try to accept it. I too wish I would have appreciated my pre-baby belly, boobies, and bottom. But I didn’t and now I have decided to appreciate my one baby-belly, boobies, and bottom as long as I can before #2 joins the family. That’s the best I can do!


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