“The success of “The Shape Of A Mother” has changed my mind completely. I see diverse bodies daily and it’s literally changed my opinion of “beautiful”.
Have you ever heard of the website The Shape Of A Mother?
Well, unless having kids was completely out of your plans a couple of years ago, chances are you have.
When Bonnie launched her website in 2006, it took the world by storm. Women suddenly had a place to see and share what happens to the female body after pregnancy. And as I am sure you all know, a lot can happen!
Personally, I love what Bonnie has created. Having children is wonderful
but a huge change and what happens to your body sure doesn’t help the
situation. Sharing it with other moms, on the other hand, does help!
I am very happy that Bonnie wanted to take her time to share her thoughts and experiences with us.
Enjoy the interview!
1. I remember that there was quite a lot of buzz about The Shape Of a Mother when you started it. You were featured in a lot of newspapers. It sure says something about how well you struck a need when all that it really does is to let women show their true bodies. Amazing and sad that this can be so controversial. Anyway, do you feel that your site is less controversial now?
I was completely shocked by its explosion in that first month. It went from not existing at all to being featured in the London Guardian in just about one month – I was linked from all sorts of websites and even interviewed on Canadian talk radio.
I knew from that reaction, exactly as you said, it was deeply, deeply needed by women worldwide.
I’m not sure I’d say the controversy, or the interest has died down so much as I would say it’s a revolutionary idea the first time a mother sees it – I think during that first month we had the most women seeing it for the first time.
It still comes in waves as the link is passed around new message boards from time to time and we are still featured in the media from time to time – tomorrow, in fact, I’m working with a British TV crew for a documentary they are doing.
2. How has the success of The Shape Of A Mother changed your life in the past years?
It has changed my mind completely. I see women differently now, I see myself differently now, I see my daughter’s future differently now. My
view of what women should look like is different now – I see diverse bodies daily and it’s literally changed my opinion of “beautiful”.
3. Since you are mom, how has your web site helped you with accepting your own post-pregnancy body?
Well, I am still on that path – it’s a long one – but I think the sisterhood I feel with the women on here and the women I talk with about
this is healing. Every time I make that bond again, it helps to heal a little crack in my heart.
I’ve learned that how our mothers see their bodies directly affects how we see ourselves – and learning that helped me begin to break out of my mother’s body issues.
I’ve talked with women about little things we can do to change the way we think about ourselves and I’ve taken their wise advice and it has truly helped – simply stopping the verbal abuse against one’s self can go a long way to make you see how beautiful you truly are – I was shocked by how very much that simple act made a difference.
I find solace in the fact that women worldwide are dealing with this – and empowerment in the thought of the change we can effect if we really TRY.
4. You have been married for many years now. What is your husband’s view of your website?
He’s pretty proud of me, I think. He supports me in working on it and I believe he likes the change I’ve made in the world, no matter how small.
5. On your website, you mention that you want your children to grow up with a balanced view of what women should look like. You also run a project there called “Save Our Daughters”, could you tell us a bit more about that?
I have asked mothers to share their thoughts and advice on trying to spare their daughters from body issues. It has grown beyond that to also include our own experiences as children, our struggles, and growth. I would dream that within a generation or two, these issues will be long forgotten.
6. With all Spider-Man dolls, violent PC games, plastic surgery for men increasing, etc, have you ever considered starting a “Save Our Sons” project too?
I think the media portrays everyone as one-size-fits-all, boys and girls certainly would benefit from a balanced idea of what humanity looks like. For themselves and for their future partners.
7. I was a bit surprised that you haven’t made that site a members-only site; thinking that there would be a lot of peeping Toms browsing around. Is that not a problem? Or – – maybe – is it just good if they do, to find out what women really look like?
I have often considered making it members only, but I feel it’s more important to keep it open for everyone – even if membership was open to everyone, that wouldn’t stop people from being inappropriate.
I’ve done what I could to stop it – I delete inappropriate comments before they are published, I have disabled the right-click to prevent photos from being stolen… I realize none of it is fool-proof, but it sends a message anyway.
So, yes, I wish the freaks would leave us alone, but, as I said, I feel it’s vitally important the site be easy to access for the women (and men) who truly need it and benefit from it.
8. Personally, I absolutely love what you do with The Shape of A Mother. Do you have any future plans for it? Any expansion plans or other dreams that you want to share?
We are going to expand this year to include a sister-site which would focus on womanhood in general – from the young to the old, all shapes and sizes. I am also working on publishing a book related to SOAM – I think it would be a beautiful thing to share with the women in your life.
Thanks so much to Bonnie for taking the time to interview with us. Please stop by and visit her website The Shape Of A Mother.
- What happened to my post-pregnancy breasts?
- Poll: When did you start having sex after childbirth?
- Poll: How does breastfeeding affect your libido?
- Your post-pregnancy body – What you (don’t) want to know
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing are based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians who assist in reviewing and writing articles.