The movement exposing the ‘soft underbelly of motherhood’

Birthing four large babies left Angie Roder Sonrode with a body that had been stretched beyond anything she could have imagined. That’s her pictured above. She wished she could love the body that carried her children, but how do you love something that is so far removed from what society says it should look like? Sound familiar? Angie is working on a documentary exploring postpartum body image around the world, and she had a chat to Babyology to explain what she hopes to achieve. 

America’s obsession with after baby bodies, and celebrity mums ‘bouncing back’ is one of the key reasons Minnesota mum and doula Angie wants to explore how women in other cultures deal with their post-baby bodies.

“The celebrity lifestyle is not representative of most of the world’s population, yet a huge population inevitably compares themselves to celebrity standards. Everywhere you turn you see images plastered being promoted as the norm when in reality they represent such a small subset of the populace its humorous!” Angie tells Babyology.

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Along with her husband, Angie has created a gofundme campaign, to finance Mid Drift – a documentary aimed at igniting new conversations about the reality of motherhood.

“My husband Mike has watched me struggle with my postpartum body issues first hand and is very invested in this project, especially in gathering perspectives from partners. So he and I created Mid Drift together, thinking a film about this issue would truly support and enhance the pro-body movement that was already in action.”

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The concept of trying to shift perceptions of motherhood and post-baby bodies isn’t a new one, with movements like The Shape of a Mother, The Bodies of Mothers and The Honest Body Project all making headway. But Angie admits, particularly in the Western world, we have a long way to go.

“We really hope to continue shifting the public opinion of ‘normal’ and ‘beauty’ and hope people start understanding that media standards of beauty are far from ‘normal’ and often unrealistic for many to achieve. We condone healthy minds and bodies, but hope to help the public realise that health and beauty can have a broader standard.”

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Angie and her team are realistic about how much can be achieved, particularly when women can be their own worst enemies. But by sharing stories and opening our eyes to the entire world, and not just a small portion of it, she hopes the tide will continue to turn.

“The struggle is different for everyone, but creating an openness, a platform to share and celebrate, and a space to normalise this issue will make ripples of change that will take some time. At one point American society held Marilyn Monroe as the ideal body shape and over time (not really that much time in the grand scheme of things) we couldn’t be farther from that as the ideal. That change stemmed from somewhere and I am confident that if enough voices speak up we can create another change for the positive.

“We are here to celebrate mothers of all shapes and sizes whether they are smaller or bigger than before, love or loathe their new shapes. The focus is really on acceptance and making it so that mothers feel free to look however they do free from judgement.”

We’ll let you know if Angie and her team decides to head to Australia to film part of the documentary, in the meantime you can help fund it by heading to Mid Drift: A Documentary Film.

(Top image courtesy Jade Beall Photography)

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