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I have never been so afraid of the publish button

Sammie and mother2faith both sent me this link (has nudity, don't get excited) last week. When I checked it out, my first thought was how amazing it was, how honest and real, and how brave those women were to post their pictures. My second thought was that I would never, ever do that.

I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, a little under in fact, and all my clothes fit and I don't have any stretch marks (I know, you hate me) and I despise my belly. I know objectively that it isn't really that bad, but to me it looks and feels like it's still huge. It is soft and flabby and it pooches out and you could go swimming in my belly button with a few of your friends. I have even started occasionally doing crunches, and I hate crunches almost as much as I hate my belly.

And then, Jen posted a picture of her beautiful belly all full of twins. And then Sundry posted a picture of her post-baby belly, and then I got to thinking.

I hate my belly, but Mia loves it. She loves to smack it, to lift up my shirt and kiss it, so blow sloppy wet raspberries on it that tickle so much I cry. She loves her own belly too, which is a huge round lump of chub that she pushes around ahead of her like she is shoplifting a basketball. I want Mia to always love her belly, no matter what it looks like. I want her to love her body for what it can do, not for the level to which it conforms to some imposed concept of beauty. And I realized, if I want to instill these characteristics in my daughter, if I want to give her the strength not to care, I first have to get there myself.

And so...

This is me at 38 weeks pregnant.

This is me 359 days ago, the day before Mia was born.

And this is me today.

This is the body that gave me my daughter and the body my daughter gave me, and it's fabulous. (That mirror, however, is filthy.) (Also, say hi to my rash. Yes, I still have it.)

P.S. That isn't my c-section scar, I think it is from my pants, maybe? My scar cannot be included without turning this into a whole different kind of website.)

Comments (53)

I forgot to wish Mia a very happy first birthday, and congratulate you and Chris on your first year as parents! Well done, congrats, and all that jazz!

secondly, very cute baby bump!
Thirdly, less than your pre-pregnancy weight.. yea, you pretty much suck.

Last but not least, I'm proud that you're proud of your fabulous belly! (which is fabulous looking, btw) It housed a growing baby for nine months! Thats pretty spectacular.
I'm glad Mia enjoys it too.

Wow, you look spectacular. Seriously. I will be incredibly thankful if my stomach looks like yours a year from now.

Awesome. I love those photos and love that you went for it; you look amazing. These days people have been telling me that I look good, thinner today than I did last week. I still look at myself and go, "blech." Then I pull the reality of having two babies in two years into my mind and try to let it go. Body image is tough stuff, yo.

PS is that a c-section scar?

Bravo for your thought process!

You know something? I'm going be very sad when it's time to have kids if I am not as pretty pregnant as you are and if I don't look as pretty afterwards as you do.

I always wish I was smaller. Always. But by the same token, I try just to love who I am because it doesn't seem to matter how hard I try, this is how I remain.

I still secretly hope though that my belly is as cute as yours was when you were pregnant and that it (magically) gets to be as cute as yours is now.

That would be lovely.

I think your belly is beautiful.

You are so brave. Really. I couldn't do it. Not even if I looked as good as you did/do.

For the record, I think you look awesome. Both pregnant and now. I have pictures of myself pregnant, but not many. I wouldn't let DH take many, because I looked fat. Seriously. Sad, isn't it? I was pregnant, for heaven's sake!

Oh, and Mia and my youngest share a birthday :) Saturday, right?

Your belly is beautiful. I wouldn't even be able to tell you had a baby if I didn't know better.

Heavens... I so want to participate in this, I even thought about doing so the other day, but I'm only 5 months into this motherhood gig, and not quite sure if I could do it.... yet, you inspire me... (even though I loath, hate, and despise the fact that you're BELOW your pre-prego weight... with me, still 20+ lbs above mine). I love that site though, and it's really been helpful to see that there are other women out there like me... and it helps me love my own body the way it is.

Heavens... I so want to participate in this, I even thought about doing so the other day, but I'm only 5 months into this motherhood gig, and not quite sure if I could do it.... yet, you inspire me... (even though I loath, hate, and despise the fact that you're BELOW your pre-prego weight... with me, still 20+ lbs above mine). I love that site though, and it's really been helpful to see that there are other women out there like me... and it helps me love my own body the way it is.

Yeah that's great and all, but it is the *boobs* I came here to see. ;) Only kidding! That took a lot of courage. I really admire you for 'putting it out there' as it were. :-)

I don't have a blog, so I can keep my post baby belly under wraps. But my c-section scar is kind of neat. :-D

Jeez I was wondering what in the hell kind of c-section you had! The big ole smiley face kind.
LOL
You're belly looks FABULOUS!

(I will never ever ever ever post a picture of my belly...ever..never ever ever ever ever ever ever)
(never)

Let me just say, I've never had children so my belly got this way because of pure laziness, some genetics, and lots of chocolate, so I'm incredibly jealous of your belly. You look amazing! I do like how your pants made it a smiley belly. ;)

Yep, you've got one of the "I'd hate her if I didn't like her so much" bellies! My daughter is one of the "no stretch marks, no flab...if she didn't have a c-section scar you'd never believe she had a baby" women. I, on the other hand, ended up with stretch marks that go on forever and a permanently saggy belly. It's amazing how differently our bodies managed to do the same thing.
Love the site. Thanks for sharing the link!

At first I thought, man she had a shitty surgeon. Glad it was just a pant line.

that second picture, i'm sure i don't have to tell you, is absolutely beautiful. if that were my photo, i'd print it, frame it and hang it in my child's room. it is simply too fabulous to not see it every single day.

I have to say how incredibly brave you are to post pictures of your stomach on the Internet. I could never in a million years do that. Of course I have stretch marks and flab galore and I've never even been pregnant. I'm so jealous!

Holy crap, are those...MUSCLES? Oh dear god.

Um, my belly is a little in awe of your belly, but you are awesome for posting this. High five, sista.

Very nice pictures (and abs), Beth. I've visited that site a few times, and have been trying to work up the nerve to post a picture for it.

I love that pic of you right before giving birth. And happy birthday Mia. You look fabulous, sweetie. You really do. And kudos to you for your aims for your daughter. She is blessed to have you as a mom.

You look amazing! Only one year ago...wow.
You should be proud of yourself! No reason for being afraid of hitting the publish button!!

I always liked the picture of Chris kissing your belly before Mia came. So sweet!

You look amazing before and after........

Here is another link you may find interest in: http://www.breastfeeding.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=183750&page=1&fpart=1&vc=1&nt=21

I have never lookd that good.

Ok. I USED TO like you. Now, I hate you. (just kidding) You look like you never had a baby! But, I have friends who are, let's call them, "tiny people" (people who wear single digit sizes) and they told me, "It's about not having the body you had." I guess it's all relative. But, seriously, you look great! And if I had the nerve to publish pics of me, I think I'd realize I shouldn't worry about my post-pregnancy body as much as I do. Thanks!

I think you look great in all the pictures.

I can wear a bething suit like a pro, but im afraid there will no showing of the belly...at least not for another 40 lbs.

If I had your belly, I'd wear a bikini every day.
Seriously.
My youngest is 6 - but my belly looks like your first picture.

...and I hate you!
Now that aside, Seriously, its amazing! You belly looks very toned to me. You are one hot Mama.
And no stretch marks? WOW, whats the secret to that?

Beth...your stomach is awesome. :)
really.

quite the ballsy move...putting it out there for all to see....
although, if mine looked like yours (and i'm pretty sure it did...once upon a time...before i had three babies...) i'd be plastering it all over my website.

Now THAT is a belly to be proud of. I love what you said - "this is the body that gave me my daughter and the body my daughter gave me." And I am loving the shape of a mother website - somewhat frightening for those of us who haven't gone down that road yet, but I love that women are owning the bodies that brought them their children, with every stretch mark and pooch!

And I love the picture of you the day before Mia was born. What a magnificent belly!

Hi Beth What belly? Are you sure you had a baby? :-)

Happy Birthday, Mia. I feel so fortunate to have virtually shared in her first year.

P.S. your belly looks fabulous.

HA! Don't want to pull your pants down that low huh?!?! LMAO Ah c'mon! lol Your belly is flat and looks great after having her!! You'd die laughing looking at my battle scars since I look like a freaking globe with all the latitude and longitude lines all over the place. Yikes! We won't talk about all the extra skin and flab I just can't get rid of.

Beth.

I have never had a belly as flat as yours. Ever. Not as a teenager. Not as a twenty-something. And surely, not after having two babies. It's official. I hate you.

Oh, who am I kidding. I don't hate you. But I am jealous of you and your flat tummy. You don't know poochie tummie until you've seen mine. I, actually, have a lot more in common with our one year olds (happy birthday, Mia!!) and their basketball-smuggling tums.

I love how you put it, "This is the body that gave me my daughter and the body my daughter gave me." Excuse me, now, as I go bawl in my coffee for so many reasons.

Beth, OMG, your belly is amazing!!! I had a c-section 2 years ago and, well, let's face it, it wasn't that good before I had my son. You look wonderful...be proud!!!

Yeah, shut up! Your belly is awesome! I don't even want to call it a "belly" because it's more like The Flat Stomach of Awesomeness! I look at my belly and am jealous of you! AND I'VE NEVER EVEN HAD A BABY!!! So yeah. You need a reality check, Beth: you look grrrreat.

Also? I totally thought that mark was from your C-section and I was like "Daaaamn that's a long incision!" and then I read that it wasn't the scar. Phew! So what are your pants doing hitched up that high?? Ha...

Wow, I love those pictures! Beautiful, even the one from now. My belly went back to normal and I don't have any scars, but I've had other odd leave behinds... I've thought of anonymously submitting photos on Shape of a Mother. I wonder if they do that?

You look great. And Bravo, that is a wonderful way to look at it.

As a father I am always working to instill self-worth, self-esteem, and an independent attitude in my daughter. Obviously I can't do what you did (or it would have been a long skinny kid) but one of the best things to do is seeking out role models, and that site is amazing. Kudos to you, and all who participate in it.

I think you look great! We are 23 weeks pregnant with twins and my belly is almost as big as yours at 38 weeks! my 22 week photo is at barrbabies.com if you want a good laugh and to make yourself feel better. =) You look fantastic!!

You are beautiful.

What a beautiful belly, both before and after.

be proud, Beth! You look amazing. I wish my belly looked like that! And congrats for taking a first step toward self-acceptance. I need to work on that, so you've definitely inspired me. :)

Happy birthday Mia!

You and your mommy both have beautiful bellies.

I'm 19, have never had any kids and I'd love a tummy as fabby as your. Been a lurker for a while but having to now speak out in protest.

Women's bodies are amazing things, aren't they? My husband and I are thinking about trying for a baby next year and the concept of my stomach protruding like that makes me a little queezy. And then the whole pain during birth... But I just remind myself that a lot of women do it several times, heck, my mom did it 5 times. I could handle it, right (imagine a really weak smile on my face)? I survive on the faith that it will be worth it. Your stomach now is beautiful and gives me hope. I love what you say about you wanting your daughter to love her body, so you must be the example. amen, sista.

Are you flashing not-benjamin?

You're sucking your tummy in, aren't you? Because if you are not, then I'm totally jealous. You are gorgeous! I *wish* my belly looked like that.

I know what it's like to not be happy with your body - whether it's only a little baby gush or 100 pounds, it's still unhapiness. But I hope you do realize that many women would KILL to look like you do.

you got nothing to worry about your belly looks great. I only wish mine looked half that good lol.

And here you had me thinking your belly was a separate entity. It looks great! :)

looking marvelous, beth. your post baby belly is in better shape than my normal every day belly, lol. :)

Thanks for sharing. You look beautiful (I mean that in a totally "non weird" way). Also, so glad that's not your scar. I freaked out for a second about that. Phew.

(and also, I don't have any stretch marks either. I know, it's crazy! So people can hate both of us!)

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