If you’re fed up with seeing unrealistically perfect images of women in the media, you are definitely not alone, and this is no more apparent than amongst mothers who often feel at the very least completely inferior to their celebrity Mum counterparts who flaunt their perfect bodies like their most prized achievement is the fact that they still have the body of an 18 year old 3 weeks after having a baby.
Funnily enough, most celebrities are as insecure as the rest of us, and only hurl themselves at a personal trainer and dietician no sooner than they have left the antenatal ward because they too feel this pressure to look flawless 24/7, only they have it worse because a) they have the means to (money and knowing the right people) so there’s no excuse, and b) unlike us who might feel a little bit awkward at a social gathering if we still can’t do up our favourite trousers yet, their ‘shortcomings’ will quite possibly be on the front cover of a magazine. Talk about pressure.
Leading the rebellion Stateside is pinup and boudoir photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson with her ‘4th Trimester Bodies Project’ – photographs that embrace the post-baby body in praise of the incredible accomplishment of having created a life.
“I see beautiful, inspiring, real women on a daily basis who struggle with their body image because they don’t feel they measure up with who the media tells them to be. I feel like this is even more poignant in mothers who often feel like their bodies have been ruined when they should instead be respected for creating, sustaining and nourishing life. So much more needs to be done in our society to embrace body positivity and normalize breastfeeding. … So, I started with my story and it has exploded into a beautiful thing from there.”
Jackson is inspired by Renaissance art, where curves and breastfeeding were portrayed and embraced everywhere, whereas today “most people simply have unrealistic expectations because they don’t know any better.”
We’d all agree that carrying excess weight and being unfit is not going to be good for anyone, not least from a motherhood point of view when being in good shape will vastly increase your energy levels and ability to keep up with motherly demands like sleepless nights, and making the effort to look in some way presentable can go a long way to increasing your self-esteem.
However let’s also not forget what your body has been through – you created a human being! Inside you! That’s going to take it’s toll on anyone’s body, and it’s unfair to think that you are going to bounce back to being exactly as you were before babies. Your body is amazing, so take a leaf out of Jackson’s book and let’s celebrate that.