A Mother’s Beauty 2017
As always, we are beyond grateful to have such an amazing community of women who are brave enough to put themselves out there and help us bring our vision to life. Our hope for this project remains the same as when we first set out to capture this series of images five years ago…to show mothers that they are enough. There is beauty in us all – in the marks on our bodies, but most of all on our hearts that care for, worry over, and love beyond measure these little humans that have been gifted to our lives.
xx Aimee & Jenna
“…The biggest postpartum struggle has been a mix of mental and physical. As a gym owner and personal trainer, there is added pressure to “bounce back” quickly and return to my pre-baby physique. This is partially self imposed and partially socially imposed. I’ve really had to pump the brakes on this mentality so I am able to focus on practicing what I preach, which is taking care of my body and giving my body the respect it deserves in the healing and postpartum recovery process.”
“I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression. I was a candidate for postpartum depression. Motherhood got be out of the ruts I was in. It gave me purpose and joy and love. Whenever I felt a downward spiral coming on, I always had my kids to pull me out of it.”
“I always struggle with my pregnant and postpartum body. I want to love it. Some days I look in the mirror and can appreciate the new curves, the pregnant and then soft belly, full breasts. Other days I fight with myself about my image. However I think the biggest fight is knowing and reminding myself that I only feel this way because of society’s image of what a beautiful body “should” look like. I photograph women and see the beauty in them, I should also see the beauty in myself as well.”
“Motherhood to me isn’t the journey so many speak of. It’s the fortunate opportunity to influence the next great thinker, activist, and positive change in our world. To bring about a person of compassion, strength, awareness, and to arm her with the knowledge she seeks, voraciously, in an unbiased & fact-based manner.”
“I’ve come to appreciate my healthy body, regardless of however it looks. Having loved ones who live with chronic illness has helped me become so incredibly grateful for all that my body does for me. Everyday my perfectly imperfect body does everything and more…”
“My body has always been there for me–whether during 10 km runs, playing soccer, hiking in the mountains with my husband or dancing for hours with my girlfriends. But my body really showed its strength when, at the age of 40, it went through the emotionally and physically gruelling process of in vitro fertilization. It helped me to become pregnant with our twin boys after years of trying to conceive. How can I talk negatively about my body when it’s done so much good for me? When it’s helped me to realize my dream of becoming a mother? It’s nothing short of amazing and deserves only praise. “
“Becoming a mom at the ripe age of 19, I felt as if I could not be proud of the miracle my body was growing. I should shy away, not yet worthy of this journey. As a young single mother, I had to work twice as hard to prove my value to myself and others. I was cut out for motherhood, this was my journey, I was enough. Now 25, wonderfully in love, happy and ready to embrace everything my second pregnancy had to offer. That’s exactly what I did. I had the most amazing, empowering, beautiful home water birth. Washing away all the years of self doubt and feelings of unworthiness…So for that I am grateful for you, for this experience, for this journey, for this body. This safe place that holds, nurtures, heals, loves and grows with the ones who call me Mom.”
“It’s a privilege, not a sacrifice, that my body was able to give birth to my children.”
“I am so grateful to be the mother of three incredible girls. My oldest daughter was born by an emergency caesarean after my planned home water birth went awry. My recovery was both physically and emotionally challenging and although the experience left me scarred, I healed as I watched her grow. A couple days before her third birthday I discovered I was pregnant again. I was so excited to pursue the natural birth I wasn’t able to have during my first pregnancy. I started instilling confidence in myself and my body by researching and preparing for the months to come. In the fourth week I developed hyperemesis gravidarum and at six weeks I experienced an intense subchorionic hemorrhage leading me to believe I was having a miscarriage. It was at my ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage that I discovered I was not only still pregnant with one baby, but two! I erupted in tears of joy and relief. I knew I would have to give birth in a hospital, but I was still determined to have my babies naturally. By my third trimester my morning sickness began to fade and at 35 weeks I went into labour. My twins were born 20 minutes apart by an unmedicated VBAC that lasted just over an hour. I am so amazed that my body has grown, fed, and nurtured three human beings, two of which at the same time. I am proud of my postpartum body, not only because it is a reflection of the amazing journey that brought me into motherhood, but also because it tells a story of resilience, healing, and strength.”
“I had never described myself as someone who felt empowered to do things. But being a mother to a baby girl has made me an incredibly fierce woman.”
“I had the opportunity to participate last year after my first was born, but my confidence and self love was not where it should have been…Not “Bouncing Back” quickly after having a baby was really hard for me. I always hoped I would be the mom who had a fit pregnancy, barely gain any baby weight, have no postpartum mental health issues. Turns out I’m not a “#fitfam” kinda mom, or fitting into my pre baby jeans. I’m finally completely okay with that!”
“My entire life I have struggled with self image. I always tucked myself into the back of pictures so no one could see “how fat I am”. Since I have had my baby I have finally fallen in love with my body. She doesn’t see my stretch marks, or how squishy my belly is, she sees a comfy place for the best cuddles.”
“Postpartum depression has stolen too many days away from us. It comes in waves; beautiful and radiant highs, but also suffocating lows. Who am I outside of Motherhood? I feel beaten down by my own self talk and just like that – I’m stuck on autopilot. But with each new milestone, gummy smile, and “I love you Mommy” I am reminded of my purpose. They chose ME. Out of all the strong, loving, deserving women in the world, those two precious souls chose me as their Mama.”
“The perception that we should be happy and grateful. Somedays are hard. Some days all I wanted to do was cry. Some days all I did was cry. Some days I walked around with bleeding nipples and I kept thinking that I should be so happy but I was frustrated and tired and helpless. Most days were great. But some days are hard.”
“The moment I first felt Victoria move inside me I knew that I would do anything and everything to protect her and prepare her for the world.
Motherhood for me means providing my children with not only food, shelter and clothing but all the love, emotional support and knowledge to navigate through this life. It means standing back and watching them fail when you want to rush in and do things for them. It’s wiping away the tears and sharing in the giggles.”
“I have always battled with my self image since I was a teenager. Always comparing myself to others, thinking I was never good enough. My self hate spiraled further and further until it turned in to a years long battle with bulimia. What finally got me on the path to recovery was our decision to try to conceive our first baby. I wanted to be healthy and strong for the life that was going to grow inside of me, and to start a new chapter in my life. As luck would have it, we have been blessed with two beautiful little girls. It would seem the universe has sent me a crash course in self acceptance, as it is my duty and responsibility now to raise these amazing little humans to know that they are perfect no matter what shape or size they are. That there is so much more to their value than what they might see in the mirror.”
“It’s given me no choice but to love myself. When I’m getting ready in the mirror and my 2 year old daughter is standing there watching me intently, I smile. I know she is watching my every move, sometimes mimicking the way I apply my lip gloss or mascara, other times giggling as I make a silly face at her. But she would also be watching if I pinched the extra chub on my hips or said “Ugh, I look so awful today!”. I need to set the example, and I need to believe it to be true.”
“I have learned to love and embrace my body since having my two kids. I work everyday on making it stronger, not skinnier. My body housed two littles and I am extremely grateful for that.”
“As a mother, I felt extremely guilty that I wasn’t fully enjoying this precious time with my girl. I think there is huge pressure (mostly self-inflicted I suppose) to be grateful, to be energetic, to provide “perfection” on a platter for your children. It is a balancing act for sure to learn how to love them in a way that doesn’t consume you. For every time you hear, “put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others”, there is a mom out there sacrificing her own well being and health for her children. In the end, you have to learn that there is no way you can be a good mother without prioritizing your health, mental and physical.”
“I was always extremely insecure about my body. I have always been a bigger girl and being naked, or in anything other then long pants and a baggy shirt was a no go for me. After having my daughter all that changed…because I want her to know that you are beautiful the way you are, you are unique as you and I want her to always feel beautiful in her own skin.”
“My biggest postpartum struggle was dealing with the overwhelming amount of guilt that came with our breastfeeding struggle. Prior to delivering my son, I had dreamed of being able to breastfeed and share that bond and precious time with him. He ended up having a tongue tie, and despite the all consuming work of trying to work through this, multiple lactation consultants, hours of tears, and a lot of pain, he just wasn’t able to latch well enough to get what he needed. I could have never imagined that I would struggle so much with feeling as though I had failed him. Prior to this experience, and to this day, I truly believe that fed baby is best, be it breastfed or formula fed. Yet somehow, I ended up in a place where I was measuring my worthiness and ability as a new mom by whether or not I could live up to the standard set that “breast is best”.”
“A year ago I would have said most of what I said to myself was negative and I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying it to another woman or my daughter. I have worked hard over the last year with positive self-talk and speaking positive affirmations. It is amazing the positive influence it has had on me and my daughter.”
In the upcoming year, we are taking A Mother’s Beauty on the road! If you are interested in participating, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram, for locations and dates!
If you loved this blog post, you might want to check out A Mother’s Beauty 2016
If you want to see more inspiring, body positive images of motherhood to give you all the feels, one of our amazing mamas from a past session runs the A Mother’s Beauty Facebook page and brand new Instagram account – @a_mothers_beauty On Instagram, share your story and tag #amothersbeauty to be featured.