The Shape of a Mother
What do Victoria Beckham, Beyonce Knowles and Jessica Alba all have in common? They all pinged back to super slimness within what seemed like minutes of having their babies of course.
But what is the reality of the post pregnancy shape for mere mortals like us, who don't have a personal trainer, back to back gym sessions and a large staff?
Step forward website The Shape of a Mother, a place where mothers can send in photos of what they really look like in the months after having a baby. Forget uniform size eight, toned, gravity defying physiques; this is the real deal.
Think stretch marks, cellulite, saggy skin and droopy boobs, and all on show in their glorious nakedness.
"Society puts such huge pressure on women to ping back into shape after having a baby but this is a place where women can come and be honest and support each other," explains founder and mother of two, Bonnie Crowder, 34. "The overwhelming feedback I get is women find it empowering."
One of the sites aims is to give new mums a realistic picture of how their body will change after giving birth. Any woman can simply take pictures of their body and send them into the website along with any comments.
And the number of submissions is increasing by the day - around 2,500 so far - including some of Bonnie who has two children, Marjorie, 10, and Elliot, seven.
"I was so unprepared for how different my body was going to look after babies," she explains.
It was a huge shock to me, but then I realised that it had to be normal and if I shared how I looked then others would do the same.
Bonnie set up the site and word spread quickly. "One of the best things is the huge amount of supportive comments you get from other women when you post your pictures," she explains. "My aim is for the post baby body to be normal, not some kind of crazy taboo."
And the photos and stories posted on the site are inspirational.
Take Erin who bares her stretch marked stomach for all to see: "I feel incredibly vulnerable about these images. But I feel like they hold power - and I hope mostly - that they will help someone else to feel a little bit more compassionate towards their perfectly imperfect body."
And then there is Corinne who looks down towards her rounded tummy: "I am finally feeling proud of my body and the wonderful work it's done and is continuing to do."
While this is a US website, Bonnie says she receives many submissions from the UK.
New mum Katie, 37, from Bristol is considering sending photos into the site: "I have always thought that the way my stomach looks now is freaky but actually looking at the site there are loads of women that look just like me.
"It's a cliché but I've realised I'm normal!"
Katie, who has a nine month old baby, hopes sending the pictures will give her more acceptance: "I have struggled to come to terms with how untoned I am now but I have to just see the stretch marks as battle scars not something to be ashamed of."
For others though, while looking at the pictures has definitely given them a confidence boost, they are not reaching for their digital cameras quite yet.
"I can barely get changed in front of my husband at the moment I feel so self conscious," explains Laura, 31, a mother of two.
Having said that it feels good just being able to comment on what others have posted and give them support.
And that's just it, explains Bonnie. While the thought of posting your post baby figure online might feel a little overwhelming, the reality might be different:
"Most people get lots of supportive comments, and once you've done it, you realise that it is not that scary."
Now where did I put my camera again?
For more information on The Shape of a Mother, visit the site online at Theshapeofamother.com.
What do you think of the site? Would you send in pics of your post-baby body?
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