Pippa's blog

Our Mums' Poems: On Film

As part of our Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves tour, two wonderful poets have already interpreted the words you have shared with us as part of our communal Mums' Poem

Their 'curated' versions of the poem, very different in style, are below.

At our last Mums' Make Date in Penzance, Sally Crabtree created a song inspired by the words submitted to the giant Mums' Poem, including more submissions from the mums in the room that night.

It was genius and hilarious and comes with a heartfelt guarantee to make you feel better about yourself.

 

Sally Crabtree is an international songwriting poet and children’s author who has become well known for her unique brand of interactive poetry installations and performances such as her Poetree, Poems in a Tin, Phone a Poem, The Poetry Postie, Poetry Bingo and  "I'll Eat My Words" edible poetry.

She has been described as “one of Britain’s richest inventions “ (bu Lars Gustafsson, nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature) due to her innovative approach to presenting words in ways that delight and inspire all those who engage with them. You can find out more about her on her website, and watch a snippet of a song from Magic Train Ride here.


In Milton Keynes, Caroline Davies stayed true to the form of a Kenning - using some the lines submitted by mums to describe ourselves without using the word 'mother'. It's a beautiful and touching response to our submissions.

 

Caroline Davies is a poet and blogger as well as being the mother of two sons. Her first collection, Convoy, based on the experiences of my mother and grandfather during WW2 is published by Cinnamon Press.‎  Website:  http://advancingpoetry.blogspot.com/
Next up will be the ever inspiring Hollie McNish - come and join us in London at The Photographers Gallery on 18 October. Bookings open soon... I can't wait!

Mummy is Creative

What does it feel like to create as a child? Or as a mother, alongside your child?

Our second Story of Mum: Mums Making An Exhibition of Ourselves event at The Exchange in Cornwall was our Family Make Date.

In our kiddy distraction toolkit were butterfly and chrysalis-making with the fabulous Annie of Creation Station, along with animal paper-chains and playdough (lemon-scented no less) made by my lovely school-gates buddy Karen.

Plus, we had lots of books, beanbags, a baby discovery basket of textural goodies, and the conch-blowing story-telling force of nature that is John Brolly.

Last but not least, were cupcakes, baked and iced by the finest mama-bakers of Penzance.

It worked.

We created with our children. We had posh coffee and more than sufficient cake. We caught up with old friends over gluey fingers and strips of magazines.

We made Identity Parades and Mama Mash-Up collages of our mashed-up mama identities and took a few precious moments out to remember who we are.

We stepped away from the hubbub of the cafe to put our collages up on the gallery wall. A little ritual. Choosing to take our space amongst all the other collaged stories of mothers from around the world.

We read the stories collected by Proshanti, watched My Mum Story films, and added lines to the communal mums' poem.

My children lay on the floor, fascinated by the rolling gallery of images of mothers from around the world bearing I'm a mum and a... placards. Squeals of excitement whenever they saw anyone they recognised on the big screen.

As well as taking more I'm a mum and a... photos, Chris Webber captured some other images of beauty.

Of our children held in the heart of a story.  

Our children caught in a precious moment of creating.

kids creating

There is something powerful in creating side by side with your child. It feels quite different to moulding the playdough with them, or setting them a task. It is you and them, as creative equals. Enjoying the freedom, exploring your own individual stories together. 

girl in creative thoughtAnd as we took this rare time to create something for ourselves, we remembered a little of what that used to feel like. To be a child again. To believe in the possibilities of our own creations, to dream, to believe in stories.

To believe that our stories deserve to be told. In playdough, scribbles, collage or words, however we feel like creating them right now. 

Which of course is the beat at the heart of story of mum. A space where mums can come together to enjoy creating, to connect with who we are deep down and to be heard together. Join us.

 

Come and see us at our next two events in Penzance, or in London at The Photographers' Gallery on 18/19 October where we'll be holding another Mums' Make Date and Family Make Date. You can also join in with the exhibition online any time by trying any of these activities.

If you'd like to find out more about our events, take a look this post on our evening event for mums too. You can also find out about our events in Milton Keynes for mums and families.

You can find more of Chris Webber's gorgeous photographs here.


Under the busy-ness into the heart: Penzance Exhibition

Our Penzance Make Dates were so wonderful it has taken me almost a week to recover. I was so completely terrified, and yet they were so powerful and inspiring, and full of such wonderful women, families and children, that I now have absolutely no idea what I was worrying about.

Four brave mums joined me in sharing their stories and you can watch four of the five films online in the My Mum Story gallery already.

Danielle shared her experience of being a mother to a beautiful child with Cystic Fibrosis.

Kari talked about coming to motherhood later in life,  balancing a freelance working life of travel with precious mummy time.

Hayley shared her journey through loss to parenting two daughters, one of whom has Downs' Syndrome - and her new-found life as a blogger and activist.

Helen's story captured her promise to run a marathon when her fifth pregnancy stablised after three miscarriages, and the fulfilment of that dream for 'the ones that got away'.

There was much weeping. And cake. And wine. And margheritas. And more cake. And more wine.

           

As we wiped our eyes, we were transformed again by the inspirational Sally Crabtree, sharing some of her poetry and a truly wonderful song about being 'just a boring old mum', made up of words from our giant Mums' Poem, encouraging us all to add more.  

         

Within a few minutes, Sally had somehow got us singing along, (and even had the whole room flapping our arms about at one point, there is photographic evidence...)

She also brought her edible poetry genius along to encourage mums to create some beautiful biscuit poetry - you can see some mums' inspired creations at the bottom of this post.

Photographer Chris Webber and his partner Tamsin chivvied mums charmingly into having some lovely I'm a mum and a... photos taken, as well as capturing fabulous photos of the event, many of which you can see here - there are lots more fabulous mamas in the gallery.

Lots of us also had a go at making Mama Mash-Ups to add to the exhibition. (You can still add yours - any time...)

Huge thanks go to the mums who shared their stories, to Sally, Chris and Tamsin, Miranda and the B-New Project, Bettina and The Exchange, Mitch of Three S Films and Steve and Georgia of Apple Crumble for their last-minute technical heroism, and of course all the wonderful cake-baking mothers of Penzance!

             

What has stayed with me most is the profound impact of our stories. The visceral proof that sharing our stories and hearing those of others can bring up powerful emotions, sometimes unexpected ones. It's cathartic, and rare. And it's important.

Most mums spoke afterwards about how lucky they felt, how it reminded them of how much we have to value in our lives. It gave us a sense of a bigger sisterhood. Some had a more difficult time, and I was grateful to hear that side of the experience shared openly too. It isn't easy. We don't often create supportive spaces to share and to be heard amongst others who care.

           

For me, the evening was a joy. And I feel very lucky to have shared a unique evening with mums I know, and with mums I'd never met before. We don't value mothers' contributions to society enough, and that impacts on our sense of self. We need to remind ourselves of how valuable we are, mistakes and all. Most of the time, we don't see the story layers of those around us as we go about our daily business. This was an unusual and affirming chance to see under the busy-ness and into the hearts of mothers. It certainly swelled mine.

 

Come and see us at our next two events in Penzance, or in London at The Photographers' Gallery on 18/19 October where we'll be holding another Mums' Make Date and Family Make Date. You can also join in with the exhibition online any time - we would love you to join in with any of these activities.

You can read about our Family Make Date in Penzance here. You can also find out about the events we held in Milton Keynes for mums and families.

You can find more of Chris Webber's gorgeous photographs here.

Mamas get Mashed on Twitter

Last week was SO busy! First up, a quick update on our online #somum Make Date, where we got together to talk identity and make marvellous Mama Mash-Ups - like this one by Georgie St Clair.

You can read a storify of the fun we had below. Big thanks to the Craftivist Collective for giving away copes of their fabulous Little Book of Craftivism (find out what I thought of that here) and to the lovely Suzi Banks Baum, our inspiration for this activity, who also joined us to play!

So what did we talk about as we collaged together? We described ourselves before and after motherhood - how much had changed...!

We talked about the things that motherhood had added to our identity - strength, compassion, patience, empathy, love (on a good day!). What had we let go? A pressure to succeed, perfectionism, needing others, vanity and insecurity.

We talked about the bits of our identity that now feel the most contradictory. For most of us, these were work and mothering. That shift from a high flying (or low flying!) meeting to dealing with tantrums, packed lunches and power rangers.

Where do we feel most heard, as ourselves? Surprise surprise, twitter (and blogging) came out tops! Along with talking with other mother friends, partners and family.

Most of all, I loved the advice offered to new parents who feel they've lost their identity. I'm sharing some examples below - do take a break to read through the storify for more compassionate advice.
 

"it's not lost, just hidden for a while. It'll come back & reshape itself, so just concentrate on enjoying your baby " @IHaveCards

"don't be scared to be selfish every now and then. can't teach your child to be an individual if you have lost yourself" @mummygadgetgeek

"always believe, even if hard to, that you will forge your own way; listen to others but trust in your own inner voice" @leoarnawrites

"you are reborn when you give birth. You just need time for the new you to connect with the old you." @bluebearwood

 

Story of Mum at The Exchange, Penzance

Come and join us at our next Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves event and exhibition at The Exchange in Penzance.

You can find all the exciting details below. And it's all free! 

Mums' Make Date

On Thursday 12 September from 7.30-10pm, we would love you to join our Mums' Make Date in Penzance.

Mums will be coming together to share our stories, get creative, and eat cake. Not only will we be reminded of all the brilliant things we do every day as mums, we'll be reassured that every one else does all the rubbish things too.

There will be a chance for mums to have our very own "I'm a mum and a..." photo taken, make a Mama Mash-Up to add to the exhibition, and contribute a line to our mum-poem (all optional of course!).

Five brave and inspiring local mums will be sharing their own My Mum Story films (like these here), and the wonderful Sally Crabtree will be performing, including her own interpretation of our giant Mums' Poem. Add your own line here and you might just make it into her poem!

All of the events will take place at The Exchange, Princes Street, Penzance. Find it here.

Family Make Date

On Friday 13 September, we'll be having a Family Make Date at The Exchange. Join us for family crafting fun, mum-themed storytelling for kids, and of course, more cake. Dads, grandparents, carers, all welcome!

11am to 12.30 pm 
A drop-in crafting session for parents and little ones, with story-telling from the very entertaining John Brolly at 11.15am to distract the kids so parents can have a cuppa and/or get creative and make an exhibition of themselves. That's the plan anyway...

If you fancy lunch at The Exchange, they now have a kiddy menu!

2pm to 5pm
More drop-in crafting and opportunities to eat cake for adults and children alike! John Brolly will be returning for some after-school storytelling from 3.45pm and the lovely Annie of Creation Station will be getting creative with the kids.

There will even be a free cupcake and a cuppa (and they do very lovely coffee at The Exchange...). 

The Exhibition

Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves will be on show to everyone in the Engine Room from 13 September to 10 October. The gallery is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Sunday, so tell your friends!

The exhibition explores motherhood and identity, celebrating the good and bad of motherhood. It's a space for mums to come together to be seen, heard and valued. It features contributions from mums from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds. Hopefully it will feature YOU soon too.

We'd love you to make an exhibition of yourself too. Come and visit! 

We're very grateful to our friends at the B-New Project for kindly providing the computers for the exhibition. They'll be hosting a special event for working mums during the exhibition period too - more news on that soon!

Join our #somum Make Date on Weds 11 Sept - 8.30-10pm

exhibition logoJoin us on twitter for some live craft tweeting! We'll make Mama Mash-Ups and explore our mashed-up mama identities together.

We have fabulous prizes from our Craftivist friends too - hot off the press, you could win your very own copy of their Little Book of Craftivism. You're welcome to join us wherever you are in the world - to find the equivalent of 8.30-10pm in your timezone, go here

This month we're linking the Make Date to our touring exhibition Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves. So we'll be making Mama Mash-Ups together as we tweet. It's a simple but beautiful collage project. We'll also be talking about how motherhood has affected our identity, finding our voice together, and connecting with other lovely mums around the world. You are all very welcome. You can find out more about the usual #somum Make Date here.

mama mash-up collageIf you want to join in and craft with us on twitter (you don't have to, you can just chat if you prefer), all you need to do is find two images that capture different aspects of YOU. They don't have to show us everything about you, just two bits of you.

Then cut them into strips and make your collage on a piece of A4 paper. Give it a title (that's a crucial part) and share it with us here. You can see some of the fabulous collages that have been shared already on the right.

If you'd like to send me the real life version too, to add to our touring exhibition, we'd love that - contact us and we'll send you more information.

You can see lots more fabulous examples in the online gallery - or come and visit us at one of our exhibition events (Penzance on 12/13 September, London on 18/19 October, New York in early December...) where you can meet up with other mums face to face to make your own and add it to the gallery wall immediately.

This project was inspired by the lovely Suzi Banks Baum - you can read more about her here.

#somum Make Date prizes: The Little Book of Craftivism

The Little Book of Craftivism is due to be released at the end of the month - it's a perfectly formed little package of inspiring craftivism projects, stuffed full of beautiful pictures and thoughts.

Sarah Corbett shares some wonderfully inventive ways to use your creative skills (basic or otherwise!) to make your voice heard and get people thinking. Which is pretty much what we're trying to do with story of mum and our travelling exhibition, so we're all in favour of that.

my daughter with A Little Book Of CraftivismWe're giving away three copies to lucky mums joining the #somum Make Date on Wednesday - just add #somum to your tweets to be entered into a random draw as we go. It won't be available to buy until early October, so it's an extra special treat.

And here's a picture of the perfectly formed little book in the hands of my perfectly formed little daughter... Because what are we trying to change the world for, if not for our children?

We want our children to know that mothers are amazing, that our daily mothering work and love for them is inherently valuable, that the attitude with which we mother them is the attitude with which we can mother ourselves and the world around us - learning from our compassionate mistakes, accepting the different parts of ourselves, the dark and the light - and doing our very best anyway.

Sarah quotes Betsy Steer (who coined the term craftivism in 2003) defining it as "a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper". At story of mum, we're voicing ourselves through creativity - and together we are stronger. We understand each other better. Our opinions and experiences differ, but our compassion for ourselves and others holds true.

So let's make our Mama Mash-Ups. Let's display just some of those valuable different complex parts of ourselves here - and put them on the walls of high profile galleries around the world. Let's give our experience of motherhood a voice.

We'd love you to join us on Wednesday, even if your voice is still very very quiet. Come play.

Six Steps to a MmmmMama-Body You Love (and no diets!)

Just over a year ago, we launched our Love Mum Body project, encouraging mums worldwide to bare all and share the bits of our bodies we’d like to love more. The project had an incredible response and touched mums worldwide. I never expected that it would also mark the start of my journey towards a mum-body that finally makes me go Mmmmm.

This last year has transformed how I feel about my body. My shape has changed too. But losing weight has been far less impactful than finally losing those fat-girl voices in my head.

All those flashy diet claims and 1000 calorie meal plans tend to ignore the deeper issues – and it’s only by shifting my core behaviour and beliefs that I’m finally getting in touch with the Mmmmm in me.

It’s not that I’ve lost a huge amount of weight. While I don’t weigh myself, I can see the change. It’s not that my body now conforms to the unrealistic proportions in those magazines I don’t read. It’s simply that I see my body’s beauty in a way I never have before.

And that means I can think more about how much fun I’m having instead of about my thighs as I finally chase my kids across a beach in my swimsuit.

Most of all, I can look at myself in the mirror and say Mmmmm I love my body. Of course there are still days when I don’t, but there are so many more days when I do.

So thank you for sharing your Love Mum Body story, your photos and your words.

My gift in return is to share the six simple changes I’ve made. It’s not a 2 week weight loss programme or a quick solution, but that’s why it’s working. I hope it works for you too. 

1.     Move

Yes, just move. Whenever you get the chance

You don’t have to sign up for the gym and fit that in around your kids. I started by just envisaging being the kind of mum who runs around with her children. And then I started to become that person.

Now, I look at the bench I’d like to collapse on, and I look at my kids running gleefully across the park towards the swings. And I run after them.

Not all the time of course. Sometimes we all need the bench.

Find the kind of movement that works for you, and do more of it. I didn’t jump straight into exercising three times a week. I took it slow and added in more when I felt ready.

I love yoga, and now I do it for an hour and half every week. I love to dance but now that I’ve two little ones, I rarely get to go out dancing. So I’ve taken up zumba twice a week, and it’s perfect for me. It’s silly and funny and complicated enough that I don’t have time to notice I’m actually doing exercise.

Initially I felt guilty for taking time out for me, for spending money on my needs. And then I realised that it’s not just my needs. I need to be healthy for my kids. To safeguard me for them, I need to invest time in my body. I need to choose to spend money on that over other things. I need to make the space available to exercise, even if it means asking for help.

And for the first time in my life, I am enjoying exercise. It’s a complete revelation. I’d always seen exercise as a chore I needed to do to lose weight. And that never worked. Now I see movement as a gift to myself. One where I laugh a lot, leave my busy mind for a while to connect with my dear body, and end uplifted. Even better, exercise allows me to eat what I want.

2. Make MMMMM noises

Yes. Really. Appreciate what you eat when you eat it. Another staggeringly simple concept, but mind blowing when you actually do it.

As a mum, I was always eating on the go, hoovering up leftovers (with my mouth) and craving chocolate and wine as soon as the kids were in bed. Very rarely did I sit down and actually notice what I was eating.

Choose what you want to eat. I started to listen out for when my brain and body told me that I wasn’t actually hungry any more.

I realised that I didn’t have to eat everything on my plate. And because I had been going mmmm, my meal was already much more satisfying, even when I ate less of it.

Now, instead of just grabbing the first thing to hand, I think ‘what does my body most want right now?’. And of course sometimes that is still chocolate. And sometimes it’s broccoli and brown rice. And sometimes I forget completely and I hoof down a sandwich at my computer or suddenly realise I have just scoffed the kids cereal leftovers to save on washing up...

But I make more conscious choices most of the time, and every little choice helps.

Most bizarrely of all, I have realised that when there is cake on offer, it is not the only time in my life that I will ever be offered cake. And I think about whether I actually really want cake right now. Sometimes I don’t. THIS was a complete surprise to me.

3.     Model

Now I don’t mean flash your stuff on the catwalk or pose in a naked calendar. Although, feel free, all power to you.

I mean model a healthy happy lifestyle for your kids.

Our children are an incredible asset on the MmmmMama-Body front. Firstly, when they’re young, they accept us and love us just as we are – or at least until we tell them otherwise. Secondly, don’t tell them otherwise.

I don’t criticise my body in front of them, I talk about all the things I love about my wonderful purposeful functional body. I talk about loving being healthy.

And most of all, I walk the talk. They know mummy loves going to zumba. They laugh when I come back sweaty and red-faced to give them bed-time cuddles.

They would probably rather not see mummy dancing around naked at bath-time, but it makes them laugh. And one day, they will do that too.

4.     Magazines

Don’t read magazines. I just stopped reading magazines. I don't even look at them on the shelves in the shop.

Airbrushed versions of women who barely eat because someone somewhere has decided that is what beauty is?

Impossible expectations set up by advertisers to spur us on to spend money on trying to attain an impossible perfection?

No thanks. 

Instead I look at the beautiful women and mums I see all around me – I look at their eyes, their smiles.

I look for how their behaviour reflects an inner beauty.

I think about what beauty means to me. And it isn't about the clothes size, it's about the woman, or man, inside those clothes.

I decide what defines beautiful.

And I’m finding that a much healthier set of expectations to work with.

5.     Massage

Massage the bits of your body you’d like to love more. 

I listened to a body love specialist describe how she takes time to massage her body every day, with love. As she does so, she switches between feeling like she is the one giving the loving massage, and the one receiving it. And I thought, no way.

As a mum, I barely have time to brush my hair, let alone lavish cream all over my body. But I’ve started to spend a minute, just one minute, applying some body cream each morning after my shower.

Not my whole body obviously, that would take too long, just choosing one small bit that needs some attention each day and connecting that to the rest of me.

At the weekends, I can make time for a little bit more.

And as I’m massaging that cellulite on my thighs or that wobbly stretch-marked tummy or those dry elbows, I tell myself how much I love that part of me, how grateful I am for all that it does.

How I love that wobbly tummy because it carried my children. How I love those strong thighs for carrying me through my day. How I appreciate my elbows for moving my arms so I can hug my children.

It feels pretty silly at first, but it starts to work. Slowly but surely, I’m seeing my body less as a collection of ‘problem areas’, and more as a wonderful whole that supports me to live a full and fabulous life.

6.     Mirror

Love yourself in the mirror. Now, this was really hard at first, and sometimes it’s still hard.

After I had been doing all the other things for a few months, I started to look at myself in the mirror. In my underwear. And then, naked.

And as I looked at myself, I tried to see the beauty. That same beauty I can see in my children, in other women who have shared their photos here, in the people all around me.

In the mirror, I gaze at myself with kindness.

This took a while you understand, but I can genuinely do it now, with ease. (Apart from a couple of days a month, where I’ve learnt to keep my clothes on, and stay out of my own way…)

In that mirror, instead of noticing all the things that I’m not, I now notice all the things that I am. Healthy. Flexible. Miraculous. Warm. Lovable. Mmmmm.

The last thing to share is that I don’t even do these things all the time. I forget. I fall back into the old patterns. And yet, it still works.

Because my mindset has changed. I’m not giving myself a hard time when I mess up. Instead, I’m celebrating every little success. And I’m seeing the Mmmmm in my mumbody more every day.

And that’s it. No diets. No giving up cake forever. No crazy exercise regime. Just a slow and steady change for the better. So here they are, my six diet-free steps to a MMMMMmama-body you love:

Do you do any of these things already? Could you start trying to add one of these into your life today?

Maybe you could add a line to our Ode to Mum-Bodies as a first step...

And of course visit our wonderful Love Mum Body gallery stuffed with pictures of beautiful real mama-bodies and mama's own stories.

If you'd like to pin any of the lovely blackboard reminders above, we would really appreciate that - you can use the 'share' buttons on the left :)

Body by Baby - inspiration from I Like Beer and Babies

I recently discovered another fantastic Love Mum Body project that's been happening this year - The Body by Baby series from I Like Beer and Babies. As we're revisiting our Love Mum Body theme and activities this month (including our giant Ode to Mum-Bodies, it seemed the perfect time to share some more inspiration with you all.

Here's the post originally shared by I Like Beer and Babies in April this year. Visit here to see all the other posts in their series so far.

Body by Baby

"Many of us feel embarrassed of our post baby bodies. Some of us are surprised that we didn't snap right back to our pre-baby bodies. The truth is, no matter how fast you bounce back to your pre-pregnancy state, you will never be the same. Be it from stretch marks, wider hips, sagging breasts, or just a new state of mind about your body, you are now forever changed by the miracle that is childbirth.

So, because Gisele and all her friends make it seem like stretchmarks don't happen, I started Body by Baby. Stretchmarks do happen. So does saggy skin. And saggy boobs. And that is ok.

Because this is what my belly looks like. This is what having two beautiful babies did to me. And it is awesome. 

That's right. Drink it in. That is Grade A, 100% Mommy Beef right there. I earned every one of those tiger stripes. By growing healthy babies. Through healthy pregnancies. My saggy skin, stretched out bellybutton (you could fit a fist in that thing) and stretchmarks aren't the result of something I did wrong. They are the sign of everything I did right.

Should I be embarrassed to wear a bikini in public because I look like this? F*** no. I should be proud. If people don't like the way I look in a bikini, that it is their problem, not mine.

Now why on earth would I put my fat stomach out there for God and all of the internets to see? Because this is reality. 

With this revelation about my own body comes a challenge to you all to help me keep it real. Because we are real women. Our bodies aren't perfect. But they didn't get this way on their own. They got this way because we are f***ing awesome and CREATED A HUMAN IN THEM. What's a stretchmark or a muffin top when we actually made life?"

If you would like to join in with I Like Beer and Babies'  fabulous "Body by Baby" strand, email your words and pictures to ilikebeerandbabies @ gmail .  com (remove spaces).- See more here.

And if you'd like to join our Love Mum Body fun on Story of Mum this month, we'd love you to add a line to our brand new Ode to Mum-Bodies and share your mum-body pictures (or plasticine body sculptures!) right here.

You might also like to read our wonderful series of Love Mum Body guest posts from mums worldwide.

You can find some of the blogs on a similar theme from this month below:

Belly-flaps, spider veins, and Hobbit-toes
What do you love most about your mum-body?
Emergency! Send pants


Belly-flaps, spider veins and Hobbit-toes

This week's #somum Make Date was both an inspiring celebration of our mum-bodies and honest sharing of how hard it can be to love them. You can follow the whole chat in the storify below, and read some of the wonderful poems shared by mums as we went along.

We shared our belly-flaps, spider veins and Hobbit-toes. We learnt that different sized twins can leave a lopsided mum-belly. We heard how one mums' cerebral palsy scars helped her daughter to face her own surgery. We heard from mums who had come to terms with their new body, and mums who just couldn't.

We got sad and angry at how the media portrays mum-bodies and bodies in general, and admitted that mostly we saw other mothers' bodies in a more generous light than our own. We shared the projects that had inspired us recently - like Jade Beall's A Beautiful Body Project and Katy Hill's campaign against OK Magazine's rush to slim Princess Kate 24 hours after birth.

We talked about how we wanted our children to feel about their bodies - I loved how Adele at Circus Queen phrased it: "I want my children to feel the full, creative potential of their bodies - to look in the mirror and feel limitless."

We talked about modelling body love so that our children could love their own. 

Our three word descriptions of our bodies were little poems in their own right. 

As well as adding to the fabulous Ode to Mum-Bodies, here are some of the brilliant poems mums shared during the Make Date:

"Baby delivered but body grows on.
Softer & cuddlier without a doubt 
but I'm still searching for the zip 
so I can climb out" 
@Andiepowpow

"Who knew a heart could stretch so wide, 
until I had a child inside"
 
@storyofmum

 "Miracle maker,
life producer
Who cares if it's rounder or lower or looser
My body made life & from it flows love.
Love yourself mummy
unconditionally"
@more_than_a_mum

"My boobs, legs and bum,
grew as big as my tum,
then out popped a baby,
but that didn't save me
from the sagginess already done " 
@rachelgully

"Feeling baby kick
Stretching beyond its limits
incubating life." 
(haiku) 
@hosking

"There's a pair of testicles,
where my tummy used to be
And when I'm on my own
I let my windsock breasts dangle free"
@erickawaller1

"Mom 
Yields;
Bursting 
Open to 
Deliver 
You" 
@hosking
(originally written for the Museum of Motherhood)

 "Stretching tummies, toiling limbs.
Never the same - how wonderful to change.
My baby, my body, entwined."

@workitmamma123

"Bleary-eyed, Tangled hair, 
Wrinkles, everywhere 
Life-creating 
Nurturing 
My miraculous me"
 
@kittencat17

"My belly is quite flabby
my ankles are so fat 
my boobs are oh so saggy,
I can tuck them in my hat." 
@nortonmum

"My baby is a peach 
Like my bottom used to be 
Now it's like a sack of badgers 
F
ighting to be free" 
@erickawaller1

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the lumpiest of them all? 
"I am" I quickly shout back "
I said it first, so mirror take that!

@rainydayboxco

"Oh saggy bum heading south
with a fierce determination I admire, 
Your travelling adventures expire, 
As I hoist you home" 
@andiepowpow

Island of Wonder
Some have scaled me
But I discovered me
My oceans and plains ravaged by those who lived off me
But tended and cared for
My lands recovered
My rivers and seas full once more
My island thriving, lush, abundant
Giver of life
@cateleven

 "I may have a big bum 
I may even have a big tum 
Not appealing 2 some 
But 4 those who call me mum 
Their opinion is minimum" 
@nortonmum

"The boobs could do with a lift, 
The tummy could do with a tuck, 
But if I'm totally honest, 
I couldn't give a ......"
@that_nice_woman

"Pregnancy stretched my tum with twins
But 13 years on the stress really begins
Now chocolate is stretching my bum, boobs and thighs
I've a balloon for a face and don't exercise
But that chocolate is Cadburys so it's not all bad you see
Cos their chocolate is British so I enhance the GDP"
 
@rachaelhodgetts

 "My body wobbles, 
It wobbles a lot, 
But I've got to love it, 
as it's the only one I've got " 
@that_nice_woman

We would love you to add your own line to our stretching Ode to Mum-Bodies. You can also read lovely things that mums wrote about their bodies for our Snuglo competition here, and come to our next #somum Make Date - we'd love to see you there (it will be a different theme...)

For more Love Mum Body inspiration, check out this amazing gallery of images and posts.

What do you love most about your mum-body?

To enter our competition on Facebook this week, mums had to tell us the part of their mum-body they loved best. And in return, one of them won a fabulous £100 worth of delicious baby and kids' clothes from our very generous friends at Snuglo. Here are some of my favourite responses as a little reminder of why our mum-bodies are worth loving...

LEGS

"I love my legs as they continue to carry over-tired, chubby me. Helping me march on (and run when needed)"

BREASTS

"I love my breasts as being able to feed my daughter so she grows big & strong is the best feeling in the world, a mums privilege!"

"I love my breasts for feeding children for 6 1/2 years (not continuously!)"

"I've always been a double A, so I'm enjoying having some womanly curves"

TUMMIES

"My squidgey belly of course - especially as my 5yo loves to pull up my top and shout squidgey belly, squidgey belly - but he tells me he loves to cuddle it too ;-)"

"It will be my tummy cos it is like a bouncing pillow for my children."

"My tummy because I carried my children there and I will always remember the experience of my children growing inside of me, feeling them moving, seeing a hand or foot moving through my skin. The most wonderful and amazing experience possible"

"My abdomen. It lovingly shared space, cradled and protected my babies. It stretched and shaped me for both my singleton and twin pregnancy. Then with time, just like me it slowly pulled itself together and although a little older, marked and ruffled became what it was before."

"My stretchmarks, because they remind me of my expanding belly that carried my little girl"

"The part of my body that I love the most is a tiny little line on my tummy....everytime I'm looking in the mirror and I look at myself I feel blessed that I had the chance in my life to became a mum when the odds weren't very high....and because every time my little girl looks at that little line she always tell her sister that "this is where my life started...because i was a star in the sky then i came out from here to became a princess"...."

And the rest

"My arms, because I can comfort with warm cuddles."

"My face, for watching, laughing, smiling, frowning, glaring and raising an eyebrow at my fab children!"

"I love all the parts of my body that hug and get hugged!"

"My feet, because they are the least ravaged by life!"

"Weirdly I love my ears - I have odd ears - one is the same as my Mum and the other is the same as my Dad - makes me a little different but a definate part of both of them :)"

"My eyes, to see my kids doing and learning so many new things"

"I love my smiley face the best as every moment of the day I just look at my little boy and it brings a smile to my face every time."

"It's a hard choice between my eyes and my hands. My eyes because they allow me to see they wonder in the world and the beauty of my growing child. My eyes let the ones I love see me as well as me see them. My hands because I can touch and heal with them, I can hold and caress, soothe and steady. With both my eyes and hands I can give and receive. They are the outlet for my soul, for my love."

If you're feeling inspired to love your own mum-body a little more after that, head on over and add a line to our Ode to Mum-Bodies. You could win some gorgeous organic goodies from Bloom Remedies.

And as a final thank you to our lovely friends at Snuglo, here's a picture of my kids in full Snuglo gear. 

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