Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From Type A to Type DD: On loving our real mom bodies

I stared at a lot of butts at the Type-A Mom Conference. And boobs. And hips and bellies and legs. It happens every time I go to these blog conferences and I'm in the company of hundreds of women: I talk a lot, I learn a lot, and I am awed by the variety of body shapes and sizes a lot.

In New York, the vast majority of moms are Size Perfect. Some are naturally that way, some work at it. Me: not working at it. I am basically comfortable in my skin, but at times I get a little self-conscious about my size 12 body (10 when the cut is kind). So I wear Spanx on occasion. I'll slip on a sweater over a sleeveless dress. I walk down the street sucking in my post-baby gut (I'm allowed to use the words "post-baby" until the kids are in their twenties, right?).

Then I come to these conferences and I see a glorious gamut of bodies—curvy, hippy, busty, bitty, tall-y, short-y. I don't think twice about my shape because there's such a heartening variety of them. And I most definitely don't hold in my stomach because I'm too busy laughing or, as happened this weekend, downing Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies (a sponsor).

I think I may have unintentionally offended a few friends when I asked to include them in my post on real bodies, as if it were code for "Would you like to be in my roundup of love-handled mommies?" But, really, I just wanted to show that gorgeous comes in all shapes and sizes.

Maricris from ZensibleMama

Lisa from Mommyality and
Megan from Sweet Sadie Marie

Leticia from Tech Savy Mama

Valerie from Charmed Valerie (at an '80s par-tay)

Jill from Musings From Me

Me with Julia Roberts from Support For Special Needs

Megan from Velveteen Mind

Laura from ChambanaMoms

Carol from NYCityMama with Ron from
Clark Kent's Lunchbox (dad blogger and honorary mom body, though he probably doesn't wear Spanx).

How about you: Do you compare your body to other moms'? What's your relationship with your body—friend or foe? Anyone got a Little Debbie Oatmeal Pie?


  1. I'm feeling *very* post baby! Thanks for sharing this, I think I need the reminder to just enjoy being me and live now rather than putting things off for 'when I've lost the weight'!

  2. definitely foe. I was 135 pounds/size 8 when I got pregnant with my almost 15 year old.I am now around 200 pounds :(

    I have been as small as a snug size 10, but that was before I had my almost 11 year old

    ...and the last 5-6 years have not been kind to me. After my youngest broke his leg badly at age 19 months, I went into a depression and gained 30 pounds. For the last 3 years I have (sorta) been trying to lose it, but it hasn't been working as well as I wanted it to. I did lose 11 pounds last fall...but I gained it back :(

    I will say I like my post baby boobs. I went from a decent B cup up to a D or DD cup. Some women lose volume after nursing, but I didn't.

  3. I've always been a big girl all my life, and I'm just fine with me. You gotta work with what you're given, that's my attitude! I couldn't be thin unless I stayed in a continuous state of starvation. I couldn't stay much busier or active, either, though I could probably eat a little less.

  4. Thanks for including me in your post. I'm again at my heaviest and this conference didn't help! LOL
    But yes...I too look at all the different sizes and shapes and wishing I could wear "those" clothes and "those" high heels - hence why I do "shoe envy" lol
    I think it is pretty natural for us woman to do.
    It was great meeting you (again I think....I am sure we have probably met before - but we didn't talk as much as this conference).

  5. I do look at other bodies and sometimes I'm relieved when I'm not the heaviest person in the room, but mostly I'm self conscious about my body and wonder if everyone notices that my arms have wings or that I could do with a few thousands situps.

  6. My youngest is 7...oldest is 14. I'm clinging to the "postbaby" excuse for dear life. I wasn't thin prebabies, but at 160 I would be closer to my recommended height-weight. I can only dream about being 160 again.

    Just out of curiosity...did you get any moms who didn't want to be photographed? I'm guessing Yes! Too bad, because this is the type of post I want to write. Honest and true.

  7. It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, "The Shape of Me and Other Stuff". I love that there is such a variety of shapes and that you wrote this post celebrating the various shapes of these lovely women.

  8. Jill, nobody said "no"! Although like I said, I think people might have taken my request the wrong way. This little project is a celebration of bodies, not a condemnation!

  9. There is a reason everyone in New York is size perfect. Why do you think there are so many plastic surgeons?

    Thank you for including my silly face in this pictorial. Of course, that wasn't my best side. Don't you know who I AM????? :-)

  10. I love this. It was a vast collection of beautiful women, wasn't it!

    I found myself very aware this weekend of the weight I haven't lost since becoming a mom. Thanks for reminding me of the beauty in all of us!

  11. Definitely something I have to work on. I do compare and (in my mind) always come up short - and not just because I am 5 ft tall! I started this year at the heaviest I have ever been (not counting 9 months pregnant). I have lost some weight and I am now at my pre-pregnancy weight. That seems cause to celebrate, but I am still not happy. Wish I could say that I was comfortable in my own skin!

  12. Thanks for asking me to be part of this post. I decided to train for a 5K with a bunch of local blogging friends which has served as the kick in the rear that I sorely needed to get back into an exercise routine. I'm definitely feeling more fit and healthy these days but would still love to be more confident about my body.

  13. Nice post! I noticed the same things and it made me feel 100% better about myself. We're all mom's and it shows and well, my excessively stretched belly skin is just my badge of honor. It means I'm a mom!

  14. This body is what it is, a little more or less some days and I generally love it. A new body is a small price to pay for the little girl I know get to spend my days with. So much more to worry about than this body...and yes, I really do have LD oatmeal creme pies in my pantry!

  15. Love

    sorry we didnt connect in Asheville.


  16. Thanks for writing this post and including me in it (AND especially for clarifying that it was an 80s party).

    As a self-published "authority" on fashion (lmao) I'd like to say that confidence is your best accessory. I grew up being extremely self-conscious about my pear shape and learning to love it really ended up being beneficial in EVERY area of my life.

    My body is my friend, it has done some really really amazing stuff and I pledge to love it no matter what.

  17. Entering my 30s, I finally have the best body image of my life. Like Valerie said: confidence is the best accessory. :)

    Becoming my son's champion has given me more important things to focus on than what people, including myself, look like.

    (Just yesterday I noticed a woman's attitude but not that she was in a mobility scooter! Do you think I would notice anyone's butt? I think not.)

    Now, whether my body is friend or foe... my knees are my foe but I am reluctant to replace them. Severe cartilage loss and osteoarthritis are not fun but a 6 month recovery sounds less fun.

  18. I'm a little one but honestly, I don't think I'm any more comfortable in my skin now than when I was holding on to extra weight. I wish I had that self-confidence, but I never will.

  19. I'm the heaviest that I've ever been. This after losing 25 lbs three years ago and then putting it right back on. I do not love my body like this. But I did run for the first time in months traction today.

  20. I think I got post-partum euphoria. Not b/c I'm crazy or firstborn E was 33w, and has mild cp. My secondborn, thanks to many hospitals and no small miracle, made it full-term. Even after my preemie I was in awe of what my body did--granted, born too soon--but it made another person!

    That is AWESOME!

    I still have that feeling today. I feel like women are amazing, powerful beings that they can create and/or nurture another life.

    Any body that can do that deserves reverence.

  21. You are awesome for doing this! It's like reality tv w/o the pretenses. It is larger than life itself. This is what we are and though we're not proud of our appearance sometimes, it's what makes us unique - if I can put it that way. Thank you for including me in this wonderful line-up of real women who attended Type A conference! I hope to see you again soon. YOU ROCK woman!

  22. This kind of reminded me of the Dove commercial, but with clothes on! *love it*
    Love things that celebrate the vast diversity of all of us. We are all so worth it.

    Me, I gained 90 lbs with #1 but only around 20 lbs with #2. But I hadn't lost all of the 90 lbs from #1 yet. Sigh. I'm now about 40 lbs up from my starting weight, but it doesn't bother me TOO much. The main thing is, I'm not smoking anymore (quit when I found out I was pregnant with #1). I'm very, very happy about that.
    And I'm quitting my job soon. The weight tends to come off a lot easier if I'm not sitting on my butt in an office all day...

  23. I love this post so much. Body image is a huge deal to me with two teenagers in the house and watching how they are affected by societal expectations on how they should look.

    Thank you for writing this.

  24. Awesome post! I have on occasion been concerned about my fat butt whenever I am in a sea of 20-somethings who are size 2. And truthfully, before the conference I was concerned about my size since I had to stand up in front of a bunch of people and speak. Then I arrived and discovered PFFFT no one cares about my size. And even if they did? OH WELL! I shall be comfy in my skin. Until an airplane tells me I need two seats. Then I will stab someone.

  25. I love you for doing this post (well - I thought you were fabulous BEFORE the post too!)

    What a beautiful celebration of the amazing women (and few men) who were at TypeA and such a tribute to a much needed reminder about self confidence.

    So delighted to chat with you!

  26. Oh, you have always loved those Little Debbie oatmeal pies.

    Ever since I had Margo a year ago, I feel like my body is not the same. I have more of a belly. Maybe part of the problem is that for about a year and a half, I was able to eat whatever I wanted because I was pregnant and then I was breastfeeding, and I guess I am still in that mode.

    I guess I look pretty decent considering that my body was not that great even before I had the baby and I was never in love with how I looked.

  27. Ellen,
    I try to say my fat is baby fat, but my kids are 17-28! I will say I gained more weight during the teenage stressful years and ended up weighing WAY more than I did at the birth of last child. Making my way back down, now at that said weight of birth of last child (17 year old!)I want to get off another 20 if possible before menopause hits, grrr!
    I will agree with you though, overall this conference was nice because there wasnt a bunch of perfect people there. We all had our flaws, physcially, mentally and emotionally. I did not feel I had to pretend or hide. It was awesome. And my big butt fit right in, lol!

  28. Hell yeah Ellen! Love all of this. We all need to love ourselves more.

  29. I am going to try to cheer myself with a thought posted here in a comment - I made two whole people inside this big round body! And I nourished them with my milk, I kept whole people ALIVE - wow, that is pretty cool. But how did I get to be a size G cup size? I just posted about this and didn't tell the truth of my size on my own blog. I just dropped from triple D to double D in the last three months by going back to Jazzercise. And I feel, way, way better, getting a handle on some pain issues, etc. But I still can't say I could celebrate my body. I'll hope for detente.

  30. This was fantastic! Thank you for sharing all us in this post. I've always been a big girl and PCOS has made my life even more difficult on the weight loss front. I was so happy to be at Type-A when I saw the other women in all shapes and sizes.

    Felicia said it best "you gotta work with what you're given".



  31. Funny, I still think of this as my "post-baby" body. I'm pretty sure that we get to use that term until the end of time because, no doubt about it, this body is different then the one before.
    I have two rather strong thought about this body. First, I am pretty comfortable in my skin. That is to say that my body image does not take away from my having a good time. The second is sheer frustration. I remember when getting dressed didn't require checking for lumps and rolls, I remember when I felt heathier in my body and I remember a time when getting heathy didn't require extreme exercise programs or reducing intake to starvation.
    For now I am holding on to just being comfortable. There are bigger (but smaller) things (kiddo's) that require my effort right now. They don't care how squishy I am, so I will try to be a good healthy example BUT skinny is not happenin' right now!

  32. What a refreshing post and so true! I am feeling very tall though in our picture! Swak!!

  33. Thanks so much for including me with such an accomplished and fun group of ladies. What a great weekend, and wow did I ever get schooled.

    Now that I have stepdaughters and as the SAHD, issues like body image are not foreign to me. Already my 8 year old, who's skinny as a rail, thinks she's "fat." Sadly, it's because of a comment her father made (most likely unintentionally), but the thought of this has stuck with her for over a year. Kids don't need to be made conscious of this sort of thing so early. Luckily her mother and I have time to build her self-confidence in order to overcome it.

    Thank you ladies for demonstrating this same attitude in Asheville.

    PS. True story - When I was in the Army, we used to wear panty hose under our uniforms because it reduced chaffing and blisters during 15 mile road marches. (Don't let that get out)

  34. Love this! I definitely have a Real Mom Body. It bothers me sometimes, especially when I'm in ballet class with teenagers. But then, I'm really proud of it too. Like, "OMG, my body helped create three PEOPLE! And I'm still in a leotard and point shoes prancing around!"

    I won't lie, I'd like to shave 10 pounds and get a little stronger, but that's not WHO I am. And for a long time, I got caught up in that. How I looked was WHO I was, and it's not like that anymore. (unless I have a relapse)

    For the record, I would have totally let you get a photo of my healthy booty!

  35. MindfulMom aka Laura BaylorOctober 1, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    Great post! We are all different and our bodies help us to do the great things we do everyday! We should love them more!

  36. Thanks, everyone. I love hearing about your bods. And if I didn't catch you at this conference, I will at the next one, because I want to keep doing this!

  37. My everyday is surrounded by perfect yoga moms with nicely-tamed and highlighted blonde heads. Me, I am not polished by any measure, though I do try harder for work, and exercise is something that I have only brief and occasional flings with.

    My big "wow, I'm not alone here" moment came with friends this summer, when we all went swimming and even the "perfect" ones suddenly had some battle scars showing from their own years and childbearing. That was pretty amazing.

    I guess it is easier to see that bigger picture when it is placed in front of us and draws our gaze away from our own navels!

  38. I'm so jelous of that lanky Ron guy from CK_Lunchbox. You know his bodya toup doesn't represent all us das. :)

  39. I figured Ron doesn't represent all male body types, considering the unfair advantage he gets from wearing Spanx. And Ken, my new friend, you totally live up to your blog name (My Spelling Sucks).

  40. Yeah! A breath of fresh air.

    And when you mentioned Spanx, I had to laugh. They give me a stomach ache!


Thanks for sharing!

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