After I had my baby in July of this year, postpartum hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like I was overwhelmingly prepared for pregnancy - with all of the warnings about morning sickness, acne and crankiness. However, I felt woefully underprepared for postpartum. No one talks about it, really. The soreness, the tearing, the struggles breastfeeding, the sleeplessness, and my soft empty body.
There tends to be this narrative that women are supposed to 'bounce back' to their pre-pregnancy body, but I think that's an outdated notion. Going through childbirth and ultimately becoming a mother is an evolution, I'm not my former self anymore, so why would my body be? I got comments that I was shrinking back 'surprisingly' quickly, and that I should try and make breastfeeding work because it'll make the weight 'fall off me'. I kept thinking... what a ridiculous thing to put on a new mom. I'm over here crying constantly with blistered nipples and a torn vagina, but you're worried about my weight?
So I set out to produce a postpartum photography project to showcase the diversity and beauty within the fourth trimester and beyond. A remarkable amount of my participants felt lighter afterwards and were verklempt seeing such raw photos of themselves. It was received well after publishing, with other new mothers being thankful that their bodies weren't the only ones with tummies, with stretch marks.
The ultimate goal of this project is to get this under as many women's eyes as I can, so that they can see these imperfect but amazing women and understand that they too deserve to take up space, exactly as they are.