Flick through any mag next time you’re at the supermarket checkout and you’ll inevitably come across a ‘Body After Baby’ article. You know the kind where a recently pregnant, heavily airbrushed, bikini-clad celebrity declares hand-on-heart that her baby-weight simply dropped off while she was breastfeeding her offspring. Yeah right.
Those of us who’ve had children – and everyone else with a brain – know that these people are lying through their very, very white and perfectly shaped teeth. Because you only need to visit your local beach, swimming pool or gym to know what the bodies of women who’ve just had children really look like – if you dare to look, that is.
It’s not that we’re scared of what we’ll see. But we certainly don’t want to get caught staring in wonder at someone in their swimmers who’s probably still getting used to their own newly evolved physique.
But we all have a natural curiosity about the bodies of others. And the bodies of women who’ve recently had kids are especially fascinating. For those of us who’ve already borne children, comparing and contrasting our bodies against other mothers can be a source of comfort, acceptance, aspiration or understanding. And those who one day might like to have kids simply want to see the reality of what might happen to their own bods – sans Photoshop and without an Instagram filter – once that baby is out and spending its days cradled in its mum’s arms.
That’s why the 4th Trimester Body Project is so lovely
Photographer and mother Ashlee Wells Jackson has been capturing beautiful images dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought about by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding.
And happily for the curious cats among us, she’s shared these pics online so we can stare with fascination to our heart’s content.
Below is just a small selection of those photos. Take a look and you’ll notice all the women have something in common: a special smile of acceptance, as well as obvious joy at being with their offspring, regardless of their own shape or size.
For a full gallery of photographs and for more on this project click here.
Yes, our bodies do change after we have children. We may have scars from caesareans, or tiger-stripe stretch marks across our breasts and tummies. Our skin might be a little saggy, and we may have extra curves that weren’t there before we got pregnant. And yet as those babies grow and time passes we may indeed become fitter and stronger than ever before as we become more in tune with our bodies and its capabilities. But these changes are simply part of the journey of motherhood. Changes that are as beautiful as bringing a child into the world.
And while you’ve still got that smile on your face from seeing these gorgeous images, I urge you to take away these two thoughts, along with that grin:
- Accepting ourselves for how we look, and being confident about our appearance post-baby, is fundamental to being a great mother. Because our children will ultimately learn self-acceptance and confidence from the way we model this to them.
- Being healthy by eating well and exercising regularly is equally important. Because the greatest gift you can give your children is being there for them. And the healthier you are, the longer you’ll be around. ‘Tis that simple. For realistic tips and ideas on how to get and keep your bod healthy post-kids, check out the ‘Body’ section of Fox in Flats here.
How do you feel about your post-baby body? Have you embraced and accepted the changes that may have occurred, or is this an ongoing mission for you?
And would you ever pose for photos like these?
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