July 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM ET
When a group of Connecticut moms recently bared their real-mom, post-baby bellies for all the blogosphere to see, a funny thing happened: People loved it.
The photo gallery created by the CT Working Moms group – which featured the moms wearing sports bras and pants and showing some less-than-perfect skin – was a source of inspiration for many.
As one poster, Chalice, wrote:
This is amazing! What a wonderful way to celebrate… nothing is the same after having a child. including our bodies. Thank you for showing that change is not a sacrifice.
The CT Working Moms, who called their photo shoot a Goddess Gathering, have decided to take the concept a step further by encouraging others to hold their own gatherings and do photo shoots, which will be featured on their blog.
Dena Fleno, of the CT Working Moms group, says the idea is more than just about baring your belly or coming to terms with your post-baby body.
“It is about creating a positive image of ourselves, together with other women, that will have a lasting effect. I think I can speak for the other ladies when I say this is how we all have felt coming out of this experience,” says Fleno.
So Fleno, along with her Goddess pals, have now come up with a Goddess Gathering How-To plan.
The tips range from advice on how to pull a guest list together to picking the appropriate venue to making sure you enforce a “No kids or husbands allowed” rule.
(We particularly love #7, which deals with food and refreshment. The group suggests doing a potluck so that you “can have fun and not have to worry about the delivery guy seeing you in all your sports bra glory -- though you may not have to give him a cash tip.”)
The group also suggests having a dress code (a certain color or theme or a certain kind of clothing) and be prepared to take full body pictures.
Fleno knows this may be a deal-breaker for some, but reassures women: “You are more than just a body part, you are a Goddess and we want to see YOU!”
Fleno says that while the lives of the Goddesses in her group have gone back to normal – working, driving kids to camp, doing laundry -- after all the media attention, some of them are occasionally recognized.
“I went to a wedding recently and a few new moms came up to me and said "thanks" for our post, and that it made them feel more normal and less hateful of their bodies," says Fleno. "That is the best outcome of all of this. If one woman feels better about herself then we accomplished what we were looking to do.”