The transition into motherhood can be one of the most drastic, yet most beautiful transitions that exists. As women, we transform emotionally, mentally, and physically when we become mothers, often feeling little like the people we were prior to having children. Motherhood is a paradox: Rewarding, yet challenging. Happy, yet terrifying. Our greatest joy, yet also our greatest struggle.
ACMB’s series, “Motherhood: More Than Skin Deep,” celebrates San Antonio mothers in all stages of those transitions. Regardless of how each of us came to be called “Mom”—whether by giving birth, adopting, becoming a step-parent, or other journeys —the common thread is that motherhood changes both our bodies, minds, and hearts forever. We applaud the local women who volunteered to share their thoughts, experiences, and changes, both internal and external, as we honor the gift of motherhood.[hr]
Amy—four children (ages 11, 8, 6 & 4); four pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? I rarely see women like me represented in the media. There are campaigns that pop up from time to time showing real women (which we all are, by the way), but the standard is still one of smooth, unscarred bodies. That’s not me, and I’ve always felt ashamed of and hidden my body. I’ve had some eye-opening events in my life in the past year, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that we have to fully love ourselves. We only accept the love we think we deserve, and that starts with loving and honoring who we are, flaws and all.
What was the hardest transition into motherhood for you? Becoming a mother was not something I planned at all. I was 18 when I became pregnant, and 19 when I had my oldest son. But I knew it was the right choice. It was hard facing the world and not being able to relate to the women around me for the longest time. Having three more kids later on was a whole other kind of hard, mentally and emotionally. It’s extremely difficult to give up so much of yourself—especially if you’re not taking care of you. I’d always hear people say, “I don’t know how you do it,” but by the grace of God I did—and I do.
Use one word to describe your body. Powerful.
Coda—one child (age 11 months); three pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? We don’t do things like this enough for moms. Becoming a mom is like becoming part of another family, one where we understand each other through the bond of motherhood. I wanted to participate to share a small part of how becoming a mom has changed me in hopes that it will resonate with other moms.
What will you tell your daughter about her “mom body”? One day, I’ll tell my daughter that her “mom body” is perfect and beautiful; and that what some people call scars or flaws, are but memories and reminders of how amazing a mom’s body is.
Denise—one child (age 6); one pregnancy
Use one word to describe your body. Strong.
How would you describe yourself as a mom? Tenacious.
What is one thing about your body of which you are especially proud? My legs are amazing, especially when I work out.
Christy—two children and one on the way (ages 4 1/2 and 23 months); 27 weeks pregnant; three pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? Because moms come in all different shapes, sizes, personalities, etc., and it is important to celebrate that!
What will you tell your daughter or your future daughter-in-law about her “mom body”? I grew up with a mom who engaged in fat talk. She was, and still is, constantly talking about being fat and has unhealthy eating behaviors. I was a competitive swimmer throughout college, so luckily, I really couldn’t follow in her restrictive eating patterns; however, I am well aware of my body image, which can be distorted. One of my biggest goals to help my children grow up with healthy body images and maintain healthy relationships with food. I actively avoid the fat talk and remind my mom every time she is visiting to do the same. We should love our bodies and what they are able to accomplish!
Shanti—two children (both age 2 1/2); one pregnancy
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? I have always had body image issues, and I am trying not to pass them on to my daughter. This is a step toward my “love my body” campaign.
What is one thing about your body of which you are especially proud? I am strong. My body will move as hard, long, and strongly as long as my brain tells it to.
What do you want your children to tell their children about you? “Mom made me a better person. I always knew my mom loved me.”
Bridget—two step-children (ages 11 and 9); four pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? I wanted to share and document my journey into motherhood—struggles and all.
Use one word to describe your body? STRONG.
What will you tell your daughter or your future daughter-in-law about her “mom body”? “Love and cherish it. It is a gift that should not be taken for granted!”
Kalyn—three children (ages 4, 4, and 6 months); two pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? I wanted something to later show my girls. Our bodies are amazing! They grow and support LIFE!
What do you want your children to tell their children about you? “My mom was loving, present, and fun.”
What will you tell your daughter or future daughter-in-law about her “mom body”? “Love it. It gave you the greatest gift of all. And you can work to get comfortable in it.”
Crystal—two children (ages 8 and 6); four pregnancies
Why was it important to you to take part in this photo shoot? I’m settling into a new decade and trying to love my body as it’s changing into a more mature version of myself.
Is there one part of your body that has changed significantly with motherhood or of which you are particularly self-conscious? Stretch marks! My first born was 10 pounds, 3 ounces, and I have the stretch marks to prove it.
Erika—two children (ages 2 and 8 months); two pregnancies
What was the hardest transition into motherhood for you? The emotional aspect, because I feel I was born to be a mother.
What is one thing about your body of which you are especially proud? Enduring breastfeeding.
What will you tell your daughter or future daughter-in-law about her “mom body”? “Embrace everything that has changed. We are blessed as women to give the miracle of life.”
Dana—three children (ages 3, 3, and 1); two pregnancies
How would you describe your body? An amazing work in progress.
How do you see your own mother in your mothering style? She made us feel like life is an adventure. She always said, “Go for it!”
What will you tell your daughter or your future daughter-in-law about her “mom body”? “Our bodies are amazing. Don’t ever feel like you are less because you don’t look like someone else. You are beautiful!”
We look forward to featuring two other “Motherhood: More Than Skin Deep” posts in the coming weeks.
A big thank you to ARG Photographs & Mewborne Photography for donating their time and talents to this special project. If you are interested in a photo shoot showcasing the beauty of your post-baby body (moms only, no children please), both photographers are offering a special mini-session rate of $125 through June 2015.