The Shape of a Mother – what real women look like after having a baby

Mother with toddler on hip with stretch marks

So you’re standing in the queue at the supermarket and your eyes land on a trashy magazine – the cover features a singer/actress/ model who is proudly showing off her ‘post-baby’ body. In a tiny bikini, of course. You can’t help but reach for the magazine and quickly scan the article – how did she do it? Sure, I think, if I had a staff of nannies, chefs and personal trainers, I could look like that too.

What will my post-baby body really look like?

Now for the reality check – before I had kids, even at my fittest and full of twenty-something body confidence, I never looked like any of those celebrities. So it stands to reason, I’ll never achieve that kind of body after having had four babies!

I had my last baby almost five years ago – I have accepted the fact that my body won’t ‘go back’ to what it was (in fact my obstetrician helpfully explained the state of my stomach muscles – “You know when you have a piece of elastic and it’s overstretched? It won’t spring back and is frayed around the edges?”).

When I had my first baby I had no idea how my body would change. No one really tells you. Until now.

What do other women’s bodies look like after having a baby?

The Shape of a Mother is a website dedicated to showing real mothers’ bodies – stretch marks, dimples, saggy skin, scars and all. Bonnie Crowder created the website to address the fact that the post-pregnancy body is kept a ‘secret’ – she wanted women to have a forum to show their post-birth bodies and offer support to those struggling with their body image during pregnancy or after birth.

close up of mother's belly with stretched skin after pregnancy

Readers upload their own pictures and stories – some bare their souls and tell of their battles with ‘baby weight’. Others happily defy the pressure to ‘get their body back’ and show-off their c-section scars, wonky boobs and networks of stretch marks proudly.

The website makes for interesting and inspiring reading. Would you post your story to Shape of a Mother?


Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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