USA Softball's Jessica Mendoza: Home Run Bump

10/09/2009 at 01:00 PM ET

Hitting newsstands today is ESPN The Magazine‘s inaugural ‘Body Issue,’ which honors athletes of various shapes, sizes, genders, races and — it would appear– stages of pregnancy! USA Softball star Jessica Mendoza, a gold medalist in the 2004 Olympic Games, posed alongside her teammates this summer while 8 ½-months pregnant with her first child.

“The bodies in this issue vary from super buff, to lean, to stocky … all exemplifying beauty in their own way,” the 28-year-old outfielder notes. “I was proud to be in this issue at a unique time of my life.” Jessica adds,

“I felt that by showing athletes in every shape and form, including those of us who have children and continue to play, ESPN The Magazine is trying to break those stereotypes.”

Her athletic background almost certainly came in handy just a few weeks later, when she delivered son Caleb Ashton Mendoza-Burks — after 41 hours of labor! Baby boy arrived at 6:51 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, weighing in at 6 lbs., 8 oz. and measuring 21 inches in length. He is the first child for Jessica and her husband, Adam Burks.

Courtesy ESPN for use on CBB

FILED UNDER: Births , Exclusive , Maternity , News

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Showing 80 comments

lulu on

I’m sorry, but that is just gross.

Anne on

I just ate breakfast, barf.

Elli on

It is not gross – it is NATURAL!!!

Summer on


MissMissy on

Personally, I think this photoshoot is awesome. I mean, we see enough nude “absolutely-airbrushed-perfect” bodies…it’s nice to, for balance, see some depictions of real bodies. And not just “real” bodies, healthy, athletic, confident, pregnant, womanly bodies.

I can see where people would have various reactions to this and various tolerance levels for nudity, but I think more power to them!

Anna S. on

Don’t get me wrong, I think the pregnant form is beautiful and all… but this just looks tacky, IMO.

Amanda on

I think it’s awesome and very tastefully done! It’s a great way to break the ‘perfect’ body model and show REAL people for a change!

Kait on

I have to agree with Anna S. It’s a great idea, but the way they did it just… seems unnatural and awkward. I wonder how comfortable the women were around each other – especially Jessica Mendoza for not covering up her crotch and standing sideways… it just looks weird.

Tia on

For the folks concerned about their “privates” not being covered – there is a good chance that they had on flesh colored thongs that were then airbrushed out of the shot.

Court on

I think it’s the setting that puts the awkward touch on this. If it had been done in the studio I would have had less of an instant shock to this photo.

J on

I feel kind of bad for post 2 who finds it nauseating. I can see someone being uncomfortable as another poster mentioned, but to actually say barf makes me wonder how old they are or what their maturity level is.

sandy on

THey are all on a team together aren’t they? Then I am sure they have showered at the same time in the locker room, they can’t be TOO uncomfortable or they would have chose NOT to do this shoot. Women tend to complain when the models are “too skinny” or “too perfect” and here they depict REAL women and your not happy with that either! Make up your minds!

Brianne on

The pregnant pose doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the nude girl sitting on the cooler. Hate to see what might show up in a drink pulled out there… lol

I kid, I kid. Just not my cup of tea!

Xan on

I believe that bodies (particularly pregnant ones) are indeed beautiful and should be admired, not just sexualized, and I honestly think that is what this photo series is trying to do. Still, as some other posters have said, I think this photo is rather awkward and unnatural (obvious, but still needs to be said). It also has been airbrushed in a way that makes the women look like they are made from plastic, not flesh and blood.

That said, Jessica Mendoza looks lovely and happy.

nks on

this is creepy and a little weird. not what i want to see. more power to them, but please CBB, don’t show these things. maybe just the pregnant one, but the other women- really?

mandii on

Awww…I think it’s a great picture. This is their place, on the field…not in a studio. I’m sure they felt very comfortable, they don’t look uncomfortable or embarrassed. Good for them!

Unknown on

Wow sometimes I really cannot believe some of the posts, especially the first two. I am completely speechless. It is comments like that, that harm young women’s self esteem. I know how hard it is to be comfortable in your pregnancy body and then have comments like 1 and 2 to really make you feel like crap.

Jen K on

I think they look awesome, what a cool photo! I love Team USA softball and have watched the ladies several times. They are amazing roll models for young girls on the field and off. A great, tasteful way to show that you have a good body image.

momof4 on

Why are these young women posing nude (albeit, strategically covered)???

This is ridiculous. They are sports figures. Why objectify themselves in a men’s magazine?

Kara on

I think this is a great picture. It shows beautiful, strong, athletic women of all shapes and sizes. There’s nothing “distasteful” showing and those of you talking about the weird poses, you have no idea what actually happened during the shoot. For all you know they did each woman separately and then photoshopped them in. For all the complaining I read in these comments about the female form being too this or too that, I would have thought this picture would have been celebrated. Huh.

mary on

Why do they have to be nakes to admire the human body? We’d get the same idea if they were wearing a sports bra and shorts. Maybe this was done for shock value but like someone else said, not my cup of tea.

Robyn on

I do have to wonder about the maturity level of the posters on here finding this ‘disgusting’ and ‘gross’, and even those who merely don’t like it because they’re naked. Grow up and be better role models for your childrens’ views on the human body, otherwise the whole world will grow up finding nudity to be wrong. It’s NOT.

Elli on

The second comment is just improper and impertinent, especially coming from a woman.
So well said “J” (no 11) and “unknown” (no 17)! Couldn’t agree more.

Philippa on

Seriously, some of the people who post here are so bl**dy uptight! Personally I don’t see anything wrong with this picture, it’s just skin!

Mariel on

The girls are just beautiful,,, but i just do not like this picture. Its kind of, i dont know, i dont like it…

Kim on

Just a quick comment to momof4 – the new ESPN body issue features men and women, alone and with their teammates. The whole issue focuses on athletes and the work and wear and tear that goes into their bodies, it’s not about female athletes objectifying themselves in a men’s magazine.

Also, if anyone is on twitter and gets the chance, read the tweets from Natasha, Cat, and Jessica. They were all very nervous about doing this shoot but felt it was for a very good reason. We shouldn’t be judging them or calling it ugly. I personally think it took a lot of guts.

Moore on

I’m not a fan of this shot either. Nothing about it is appealing.
I’m glad to see that its not just the women who had to strip down for the issue. It was everyone and it was not all done in a sexy manner. It really did show off their muscles. They’re athletes and it shows.
This shot sucks to me, honestly, compared to the other shot of them. They were all shot at the same time and its still awkward looking. I can see the barf part on the way its shot and when comparing it to others but not about the bodies. But if someone wants to say barf on their bodies or the fact that they’re naked then that’s their thoughts and nothing to boohoo over. Like one of the women said in the video. She’s celebrating this for herself. Her muscles pay the bills. I doubt she cares if someone says barf.

Sheila on

I am not a huge fan of this picture. I personally don’t think it is flattering for any of the women. To me it kind of looks like they posed in front of a green screen with some props and too harsh of lighting–they look waxy almost. And I think the way they are all positioned is awkward. I think they could have done a better job as far as the photography goes–basically, it could have been better IMO!

Mary on

Enough already of “breaking stereotypes”, so sick of hearing it. The picture really looks dumb.

Kaylee on

Gross! I hardly think not…LOL! I always read these comments some people write on here and I laugh to myself, some are very hatefuland rude! They all look beautiful in this photo!

mamabear on

Hey, I’m all for beautiful pregnancy photos…but this is not one of them, in MY OPINION. It just looks tacky.

Katie on

oh please. They are all beautiful. I agree the lighting seems off but the picture is awesome. Good for them!

Carrie Jo on

People have some weird attitudes about nakedness. Kinda makes me sad.

hillary on

How can anyone not care for this picture? These are REAL women, not photo shopped and such. Just real. LOVE it. Wish more pictures were of REAL women like this, not stick skinny Nicole riches! WAY TO GO!

Doreen on

Sorry but these are NOT decent and nice pictures….NOT good at all!!! We ALL could do without looking at this picture.

tabby on

I think this picture is brilliant, I have no idea who these women are but I understand that they are athletes…and looking at the lady sitting on the coolbox, its nice to know not just my legs squish like that when i sit down!! I commentd these ladies for posing like this, women are women and no amount of airbrushing and dieting makes the general lady public feel any better! Well done, this has ben a breath of fresh air amoungst the ‘perfect’ pregnant and non pregnant female pose!

felicity on

All I can muster is BLECH. It’s all pretty bad, but the giant naked belly is beyond words.

Liliana on

While I understand this picture may not be for everyone, some of the comments in regards to it sound as if they were made by nine year olds.

The human body is an amazing thing and above all, is completely natural. Saying “barf” in regards to the photo makes me question a person’s maturity level.

mom to 3 boys on

the body itself is beautiful and the pregnant body is beautiful. BUT…………… this picture is not ‘natural’. I don’t get it. They look ‘staged and posed’ (which they are) but it doesn’t look natural. One girl is wearing shoes? is she a runner? I just don’t get it. Sorry.

JustMe on

Totally unnecessary

Vanessa on

Hooray! Real women’s bodies! This is refreshing and not at all repulsive. These women are beautiful and proud to show it off!

Chris on

I like the concept but something is off and it’s not because one of the athletes is pregnant. I think it’s the photographer’s fault.

megan on

Oy vey. I am not one of those people who feels “eww, pregnant bodies.” However, that picture doesn’t come across as celebrating different body types so much as “hey look, we’re naked on a sports field!”

Jen on

I don’t think its a particularly high quality photo. They could have done a better job with the posing to make it look more natural and less staged, but….

…. I see nothing disgusting or anything wrong with any of these womens bodies to elicite the kind of response it’s gotten here.

MissMissy on

I think that the perception that the lighting (or something) is “off” or “not natural” in this picture are reacting to the fact that this is lit like an outdoor softball game in the middle of the day, not a photoshoot. It’s not what one normally sees in glamor photography and glossy magazines. (And it probably fits in with how they lit the rest of the shoots as well.)

I’m still loving it.

sinclair on

“I’m sorry, but that is just gross.”–lulu
“I just ate breakfast, barf.”–Anne
“this is creepy and a little weird. not what i want to see. more power to them, but please CBB, don’t show these things. maybe just the pregnant one, but the other women- really?”
“All I can muster is BLECH. It’s all pretty bad, but the giant naked belly is beyond words.”–felicity

I hope the repulsion and disgust that many of you expressed is not reflective of your own feelings about your bodies (*but your comments probably do reveal how you feel about yourselves). A team of young women poses and some of you are ready to jump off a cliff.

To some of you, grow up; to others, you have bought into some serious misogyny, expectations of female perfection and self-hate. It is sad, really. We can’t expect men to be the only ones to change their mindsets…sigh.

I hope none of you have daughters that you pass this mentality onto. Such attitudes perpetuate womens’ body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia, bulimia,etc.


Evy-Florida on

You know I was kind of disappointed when I heard words gross, it makes me understand why the women’s bathroom is always worse than the mens! We as women should respect each other more and stick up for not always being posed in a sexual way. Remember the post about Kendra’s breast hanging out? All I read here was Oh she looks so good and this and that about a woman who was I am sorry in a sexual show with the founder of Playboy. This picture is different and I agree with Eli, post #23. This is just my opinion.

zeezee on

I really like the concept of the issue, but, photographically, I’m not a fan of the processing, the colors, the treatment. It’s not gross to me at all, I think it’s a great idea. I just don’t like the actual presentation. There’s a ton of different ways they could have shot a baseball-themed scene that would have looked a lot cooler. This setting and the awkwardness of the poses doesn’t make me think professional ball players, it makes me think of a cheesy tailgate party for some reason. It just is not a professional photo, IMO.

CTBmom on

I agree w/ you Sinclair. While I respect everyone’s opinon,some of the comments are just rude. I happen to think the picture is fun, and I like that the women don’t look like Victoria secret models.

Ava on

Brianne, You have me on the floor dying about the cooler….LMAO hahaha

Mia on

I understand the concept, but I do think the picture is really random. And I really don’t like these type of photo shoots..they just look tacky to me.

nks on

sinclair, i think you’re the one who needs to lighten up. why are you defending this picture so much?
i don’t have anything wrong with the concept of the female figure at all, believe me. it’s just the forced, awkward posing and seemingly awkward feeling the women appear to have. to each their own, and i would die for any one of their bodies. but seriously, this picture is a bit inappropriate. they’re softball players- why do we have to see them pose nude? we’re not gaining anything from it.
jessica mendoza posing i understand, it’s a beautiful pregnant body. but the rest? it’s a bit odd and pornographic. what if every woman everywhere posed naked and the pictures were online? how would you feel about that? because they have different body shapes and are “celebrating” it, does that make it ok?
calm yourself, sinclair.

Lorus on

I think it’s a great message to send to other women. I feel bad for those women who are so immature (or insecure) they can’t see it for what it is.

Lea on

Damn there are a lot of prudes here. They’re just naked people. You yourselves are sometimes naked, I’m sure. Get over it.

Shannon on

nks, it’s a body issue. They’re posed nude to celebrate that they have beautiful, strong, athletic bodies. To show women everywhere that you don’t have to be a rail thin model to look gorgeous. You don’t have to have plastic surgery and flash your boobs all over the place to be sexy and attractive. That’s why they did it nude. I think it’s fantastic. In a world where young women are constantly hearing they have to be super thin and perfect in order to be loved, I think it’s wonderful to see a shot of real women, who work out and take care of themselves, and look like women should look. Great job, ladies!!

Sinclair, right on!

sinclair on

“sinclair, i think you’re the one who needs to lighten up. why are you defending this picture so much?”

you’re right, nks..I have lightened up. I just wondered when we slipped back to the Victorian Ages. 🙂

I admittedly got worked up because this conversation is reflective of how poorly some women view themselves, and each other. While I completely understand that a lot of the commenters were not fans of the nudity, what riled me up were the expressions of disgust and near-horror. Really, people? Over one nude pregnant woman, which some of you barely gave a pass, and the others, which were deemed “pornographic?” Wow. Have any of you been to an art museum with nudity? Were you as grossed out by Rembrandts or Rubanesque reproductions?

Perhaps I am just more comfortable with my body and letting people be who they are. But I wish women would realize that supporting each other, sans the negative judgment, propels women a lot further than tearing us down. And I realize that for some women, introspection is a painful thing, but so much of our outward behavior mirrors our self-perception.

jane on

I know most women have goals to raise a family and all but showing us the stretch marks and added weight is something that comes with the price of pregnancy and should be kept to themselves. In my opinion, pregnancy is necesary to sustain life but is not flattering or sexy for any woman. Women just tell themselves that to make themselves feel better.

neubo on

oh come on, how “natural” is it to stand around naked with your sporting teammates on the sidelines? lol.. it’s just weird…

vicka on

If it’s really OK for them to be posing like that, then why are they hiding their private areas? It’s true that the body is a fabulous, amazing thing, but there are parts of it that are private and personal. I’m quite comfortable with my body, but nobody is ever going to see mine nude in public and I appreciate it when other people show me the same courtesy. Wouldn’t it have been a better example if they had refused to pose because they didn’t want to bare something so personal to the world?

Anne on


There is so much nudity in movies, TV and magazines and since Demi Moore, naked pregnancy photo shots in magazine are becoming popular. Now sports figures posing nude. Keep the naked pregnancy look at home and wear proper maternity outfits that cover the stomach. Being pregnant is beautiful, but who really wants to see pictures of them nude or anyone else because it is the cool thing to do nowadays. Next we will see men with big pot bellies posing for magazines-why not?

Anne on

Actually it is RE J not Jsays

nks on

exactly- vicka, neubo, and jane. THANK YOU!

Stella Bella on

Totally agree with Sinclair. It’s a lovely photo. Jessica looks absolutely gorgeous!!!

Stella Bella on

I have to add that my husband and I think this is easily the most beautiful pregnant nude photo we’ve ever seen.

Rach on

Wow…the first two comments really threw me..on a site dedicated on a daily basis to pregnant celebrities and babies..I stand firm in my opinion that women are the worst to their own.I sit here and I ponder about all the poor women that lost their partners for not being able to gain their prebaby body back or have cheating spouses. Do you not understand that this level of toxicity has a way of coming back to you in some form or the other.Karma man..its a beach..

Those of us that are mothers understand that when we see a pregnant woman, we see something more. The gift of life, the two new lives that will be made on that day, the mother and child. The miracle that is creation and life. It is like that quote “mother is God in the eyes of a child”, for many of us, it is the other way around when we see our babies, we see God and God’s work in the life that we made. When I was younger,I always thought newborns were ugly. Now as a mother and going through the experience, they are the most beautiful little creatures.

As far as the picture, it could have been better done, it does look as if they were all photoshopped together to form 1 uniform image and it does look unnatural. Who cares though, the world we live in, nudity is everywhere.To be honest, my eyes went over her body to the portruding calf muscle.I love it! Not little waifs that will blow away with the wind,or oversexed trollops..average fit, healthy women..what is so bad about that.Methinks some of you need to pay attention to the Dove campaign for REAL beauty..

gargoylegurl on

Cool concept…just not sure how successful it is.

I was at my desk at work when I scrolled to this post. I hurried and clicked out of it, then quickly looked around to see if anyone noticed. I would have had some explaining to do it my boss had been around! lol

Nicole on

I’m right with the poster above me. CBB, I wish that you would have put this picture under a jump link, because I’m sure there were others like me who check CBB on their break at work, and if the person next to me saw this, they probably wondered what in the world I was looking at. That sort of Not Suitable For Work picture shouldn’t really be on the front page. Even though I understand the basis behind the picture, it was still shocking to have it pop up immediately.

My opinion on the picture is that this picture STILL doesn’t show NATURAL looking women. Those women in the photo are thin, in shape women, who are most likely under a size 10….isn’t the average woman a 14? It’s better than the super skinny models, but still far from a natural woman kind of look. I do think it was brave of them to do it, though.

CelebBabyLover on

Jane- Then how do you explain, for example, the fact that Angelina Jolie said while pregnant with Knox and Viv that Brad finds pregnancy sexy?

Sofie on

You Americans are prudes! LOL!

lulu on

I made the first comment! And I still find the picture disgusting. I don’t see why pregnant celebrities feel the need nowadays to whip it all out. Even if the parts are covered – WHAT is the point of this?? Is there anything special about it? To show us how beautiful their bodies are? Who needs that? I am in no way a religious fanatic nor overly moral, it is just that pictures like that bore the h… out of me – my God, thanks but no thanks Demi Moore – you and Leibovitz started this whole crap.

LB on

This is TMI…I don’t want to see other women naked let alone pregnant and naked(even though their parts are covered)! No duh pregnancy is natural, but why should it be natural to pose like this for Everyone to see? It’s just not.

Dee on

LMAO I just love the way people on this board is reacting to seeing women in their natural form.

WOW people go take a look in the mirror and embrace your bodies. Flaunt it and be proud.

North Americans are some of the most uptight body conscious people I have ever met in my life. Had it been someone with a gun posing it would be cool but women who are proud of their bodies….O…..M…..G lets call up somebody because a crime has been committed.

LMAO…..I’m so happy I grew up on an island. Stuff like this is not only natural, its beautiful!!!!

LOL…I’m just dying with laughter….

Nicki on

Just because the “average” size is 14 doesn’t mean it’s healthy! I am so sick of people saying “big is beautiful”… it’s not about that. It’s just not healthy. Period.

These women ARE healthy and are what should be “normal” in this world.

Rach on

Dee,I agree, I am from Trinidad and some of the clothes people well, they might as well not be wearing any. Not only that, you go back home from Carnival and you see gals of all sizes getting down and being so proud of themselves ! Self love and self respect and acceptance is a powerful thing.

Nicki,I agree with you also.By no way are these women anorexic or obese looking.They seem average and I wouldn’t doubt if the wear bigger sizes.People make up lots of excuses for not losing the weight.I did also and sometimes I still have my grump days.But then I think about all the things I don’t do or don’t do with my baby because I feel awkward (like swimming),and it makes me work even harder. I go to the gym 3 times a week with a trainer for 2 hours, does my son miss out ? Nope, that is usually his time with dad or grandpa.Is it that hard financially ? I have a payment plan that is about $93 a month for the membership and the trainer. That is less than some people spend on cellphone bills/cigarettes etc.I do wish everyone could see their potential and see that things are possible if you sacrifice or try 🙂

bella mama on


Terri on

Awesome photo!

Toni on

Ladies!!! Why? Why? Why? Would you present yourselves, nude, in such a publicity photo?? Your sport (softball) is your identity to many of us fans! Nudity is NOT a way of promoting softball to the younger kids! I am VERY disappointed! Your success as atheletes speaks volumes! This photo diminishes my point of view.
I’m sad!! I’m sorry!!

Chris on

I love it!! This is beauty in it’s finest.. I have much respect for them to do this, knowing miserable/jealous people would open there negative mouths.. Dont know the reason for doing it, but rock on girls! Your husbands are lucky men..

Angela on

I agree with Toni, personally as a softball player at a college level I believe being a women playing a sport at such a high level is enough to be applauded for.. I was more shocked because you do not see women athletes posing this way. when you are an athlete you are taught to be professional and i do not think this was a professional choice.

however i think that it is good that they are showing “normal” women ,like some of what the other ladies were saying in this blog, not the models in magazines. I think other companies should take a stand and do this kind of advertising, like dove etc.

Anonymous on

If you’re gonna do it, this is how you do it. Classy!