It's the basis of everything and yet, it is invisible. It is beginnings, roots and soul... yet it is fading into obscurity, at least within the realms of social media.
Because we are continually sold The Ideal; the picture-perfect, fully-clothed, fully made-up portrait of Motherhood. The slim, trim, toned and smiling image of The Successful Mother...with under-eye shadows Photoshopped away and stretch marks filtered out.
And yet in the real world, motherhood takes a far more literal shape; a far more physical form. It may well be slim, trim and toned... just as it may be rounded, softened and stretched. And yet, this second and more common reality is hidden and censored by default, as if motherhood is somehow something to shelter from.
Luckily, there is a drive to pull away the veil of censorship and embrace reality. A quick search under the #StopCensoringMotherhood hashtag reveals an array of writers, photographers and mothers, all on a mission to embrace and promote the true variety and beauty of real-life Motherhood. And even though Facebook and Instagram continue to shut down accounts for pictures showing breastfeeding, childbirth and even postpartum bellies, these empowering pictures keep on coming...
Because breasts are normal.
Because using breasts for breastfeeding is normal.
Because stretch marks are normal.
Because body fat is normal.
Because lines are normal.
Because under-eye shadows are normal... particularly after breaking up with sleep.
Because strong arms and big hearts are normal.
Because skin is normal.
Because motherhood is normal.
Perhaps with less censorship, more women will come to identify with the images that we see in the media. Perhaps with less censorship, more mothers will find the courage to embrace their bodies as the miracle-makers that they truly are. Perhaps with less censorship, we will celebrate a new Ideal, one whose beauty is diverse and changeable and real... because motherhood is normal, in whatever shape it takes.
This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.