Post-baby bodies have become such a malignant obsession these days, and what is to blame is the unrealistic and sometimes phony comeback shots that are so publicized of celebrities. What they don’t tell you are the expensive and often secret surgical ‘procedures’ they undergo, as well the paid supervision of 24/7 personal trainers and dieticians. Nevertheless, the general public just eats up the whole ‘before and after’ metamorphosis, placing a near impossible standard on regular moms to look just as good.
Well some people are just fed-up with this media farce, like Ashlee Wells Jackson, a Chicago-based photographer. Jackson decided to showcase real moms for a change, being a mother-of-three herself. She conceived of and launched the 4th Trimester Bodies Project, a photo collection that will require her to travel cross country capturing real mothers the way they look; with sagging tummies, overweight, stretch marks… you know, normal.
Jackson intends to dispel and balance the celebrity fabricated ideal that baby weight should be shed instantly. It is a foolish notion that the general public has come to believe; that evidence of carrying a child for nine months disappears in several days to a few weeks.
“We live in a society obsessed with perfection,” says Jackson. “The goal of this project is to shift that focus to the beauty of who we really are.”
The mother’s appearing in the 4th Trimester Bodies Project proudly bared their post birth bodies revealing normal consequences of childbirth like weight gain, C-section scars, stretchmarks and even post-partum depression. Every image in which the women pose garbed in black underwear, with or without their children, comes with a vignette relating their personal circumstances.
Jackson explains, “The project is dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies through motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding.” Jackson relates she had her own “difficult pregnancy and childbirth experience” where she struggled to accept her post childbirth body. However, after learning that she was not alone, she was stirred to mount her 4th Trimester Bodies Project. “So much more needs to be done in our society to embrace body positivity and normalize breastfeeding,” Anderson said.
See the remarkable series, 4th Trimester Bodies Project, here.