How the conversation went...
Danielle: So im going to pop out a model call to ask mothers to show a little skin to show case my new Motherhood unwrapped package
Husband: Great idea but I don't think anyone will want to do that, no one will want to get semi naked for a picture or show a little skin.
Really I could just stop the blog here and let the pictures finish that conversation but I have a lot to say on unsung post partum bodies. I always say photographers encourage couples shoots, engagement shoots, weddings, maternity, newborn, toddler, families...see what we missed right there..good old MUM!
As I stood in the mirror wearing my nursing bra, granny pants and slipper socks. I was shocked. Who the hell was this. She sure wasn't that woman that wore heels to work pregnant (first baby only I stopped kidding myself by the second and third). I thought after the baby the weight would shift quickly and I would look more like 'me' WRONG. I was now just deflated looking emotionally and physically.
Now im not saying by any means, hey have a baby and I will come take your picture 48 hours later in your undies if you want, so you can feel great about yourself. What I am saying is these ladies that you see in these photographs are all mothers. All have hang ups about the way they look after babies but all wanted to feel a little bit like the lady before the babies. Not one person said im doing this for my husband or I want my husband to think I look sexy again.
One mothers statement was..."I'm doing this because I want to fall in love with my body again". Did she you ask?
Hell YES she did. Before she had even had a glimpse of the images she walked away feeling amazing just by doing the shoot itself.
Societys not so quiet opinion about what you should snap back to after a baby really nags at me. After having my children I remember being asked when I was going to loose the baby weight or why my stomach (swollen uterus) hadn't gone down yet. These comments were all made by mothers around 2/3 days after giving birth. Did they say it to upset me? To feel better about them selves? Or just over time grown ignorant to the struggles and changes you body Is going through immediately after having a baby. I often excitedly look forward to the days when my non mother friends have children and they realise the almost impossible tasks that as a mother I faced just to comply. The more children I had the more each task became not easier but muscle memory kicked it. I would laugh at the third night in a row of being awake before waking with my toddler in the morning as my newborn went to sleep. You change you adapt and you survive. My third son almost broke me. His intolerances were completely alien to me and I was just sort of wadding through home life with a baby that cried quite literally all the time and two other children to care for.
What nags me more than societys snap back expectations....New mothers 5/10 day postpartum pictures holding their baby with a almost flat tummy. Obviously im completely jealous but also not everyones does that so lets not normalise of glamorise it. I don't want to deter or shame mothers for their hard work in getting back into shape but sometimes a uterus is just a uterus and no matter how fit you were pre pregnancy or during it will not snap back quickly. Each baby I have had my body has taken longer to get back to its new normal. Sometimes even a year has passed and I've only just then grabbed the pre pregnancy jeans to try. Right now I wouldn't even be able to slip a thigh into my wedding dress that I only wore less than a year ago. Our bodies are constantly changing and adapting. One pro to the extra lockdown weight is that the girls sit fuller and the breastfeeding deflation is much easier to ignore. I know im cracking jokes about it all but in all honesty all I want is for my photography to make people feel great again.
I want the unsung post baby bodies to be out there and proud. To celebrate the changes that have come from our children. To take the picture even if you're 10/20lbs heavier than you want to be. To jump in front of that camera with your messy bun and no make up because other wise your child will always ask why is mummy never in any of the family pictures when they grow up. Im not someone that has ever outwardly been seen to struggle with confidence but that doesn't mean that there are things about myself im not completely happy with. But I feel content. Im trying to teach myself to look after myself a little better and the physical changes will follow. I think the neglect of ourselves after having a baby is a big factor in why we don't love ourselves as much anymore. Less time for even the basic women's maintenance without all the luxury extras which just adds insult to injury of our already struggling bodies that need time to heal.
Coffee is not a substitute for water is the first lesson I need to learn when it comes to looking after me again!