#inspiring: 4th trimester bodies project

I have never been completely happy with my appearance, and it never helps when people say, “but you’re skinny!” or “you shouldn’t feel that way!”  Luckily, my late twenties have brought a certain amount of self-confidence that I’ve never experienced before.  But, I swear, for the last 15 years I’ve hated parts of myself and longed to be able to afford the surgery to change them. Whether it be my tiny breasts or the stretch marks that outline my butt and hips, or my thick ankles, I’ve dealt with my fair share of body-image issues.

As I peek around the corner into the realm of motherhood, I can’t help but think that I’m going to destroy my body and my new, hard-fought confidence will also be a casualty.  My adolescent stretch marks are now faded, I but dread the stripes that will come with pregnancy. My thin frame will become heavy with even more cellulite.  My small, perky, boobs will gravitate south and look a lot less happy. Not to mention the toll on my other lady parts….

But, what if all of that didn’t matter?  Can you imagine a world where our bodies were judged on their functionality rather than on outward appearance?

I detest the restrictions we have on our idea of beauty. I have spent the last ten years of my life making peace with my “imperfections” and I don’t want to have to feel bad about myself when I become a mom. I think few roles, if any, are more beautiful and heroic than that of mothers. Although I know that it is normal to feel gross after having a baby, I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves to get back to our pre-baby bodies.  Much of the damage done during pregnancy is permanent, but why do we have to look at it as damage? Our bodies do beyond amazing things for us on a daily basis, whether our boobs sag or not. They keep us alive, safe, and carry us from place to place. They take nourishment and distribute it to some 100 trillion cells. They bring pleasure through our senses. They allow us to make new life! They give affection and nurturing to our loved ones. Does all of this stop if we go up a couple of sizes, or if we don’t look like Kate Middleton?

I came across this project a few weeks ago and have been dying to share it with you.  I was so inspired by the awareness that this photographer is bringing to the way real moms look.  It is called the 4th Trimester Bodies Project by Ashlee Wells Jackson. Take a look and please click the link to the gallery on her website.  The images are truly beautiful and inspiring!

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See the whole gallery here!

 XO, Tobi