What a mother’s body really looks like and how to start falling in love with yours again!

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Jade Beall's amazing photography shows just how beautiful a mother's body really is. Her photography challenges the very unrealistic body-image expectations for mothers that are promoted by the media. Get inspired by these wonderful images and learn about four ways to start loving your body - stretchmarks and all!

A mother’s body is an object of beauty. For nine months she carries life within her, then gives birth to a miraculous new life.

Her breasts and strong arms nourish, protect and carry her baby. Her heart cherishes and loves this little life like no one else can.

The world doesn’t always see the beauty in a mother’s body. So what it does is surround women with unrealistic body image messages – a false portrayal of true beauty.

The reality of pregnancy and post-pregnancy – wrinkles, stretch-marks, c-section scars, rounded bellies – are airbrushed away in images promoted by the media.

What are really brandings of power and love are turned into badges of shame, and these unrealistic body images have a negative influence on women.

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This portrait is perfect as it is. But many photographers would have made dozens of changes to it if they had their way. Image by Jade Beall Photography

Jade Beall, a professional photographer, has re-established what a mother’s true beauty should look like. She snapped and posted a semi-nude picture of her un-retouched post-baby body on Facebook, and was surprised by the flood of supportive comments from received from other mums:

“i love your project so much! ..and i’m gonna use your photographs and story for a group of adolescent girls with low self esteem and body image issues.”

“A beautiful showing of a proud mom. I applaud her attitude and beauty.”

“Wow… Beautiful, lovely, inspiring”

Beall was soon flooded by requests from other women requesting for their post-partum bodies to be photographed, which is just what she did.

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There is beauty in each stretch-mark. Image by Jade Beall Photography

Taking these pictures has turned into a mission for Beall, one that she hopes will help “redefine beautiful.”

She says she just wants to “empower…other women to feel authentically irreplaceable.”

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There’s no one as beautiful as a mum with her family. Jade Beall Photography.

Beall hopes to publish the series of photographs, named A Beautiful Body, into a book.

While Beall has taken steps to redefine what ‘beautiful’ should be when it comes to mums, we are still a long way off from changing how the world perceives true beauty.

One way to help make a change is to change our personal worldviews on what true beauty is, and start accepting our bodies as they are.

 

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Just beautiful! Image by Jade Beall Photography

1. Go easy on yourself: Don’t beat yourself up about how you look. Pregnancy has changed your body remarkably, and it’s not like it’s any easier to make time on getting back into shape now that your child is here. Here are some tricks to help you feel great throughout your busy day:

  • Put aside baggy pregnancy clothes and invest in a few classic, well-fitting pieces. Dark-coloured tops and bottoms are great at hiding baby’s spit-up and can be easily jazzed up with bright accessories.
  • Get a new haircut – one that’s quick and easy to maintain and still looks good – for days when you don’t have time to brush your hair.
  • A touch of lip gloss and a dab of perfume after your morning shower will make you feel human again, especially after sleepless nights from trying to make baby sleep.

 

2. Ease into exercise: It’s really hard to even think about exercise when you are looking after your baby. For a start, why not do some gentle walking with your baby in tow? Mum and baby yoga is another great way to stretch those muscles while bonding with your bubba. Getting a mum-buddy to exercise with makes for great motivation too.

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A great form of gentle exercise: mum and child yoga!

3. Stop comparing: It’s easy to see in another woman what you think you don’t have yourself as far as body image goes. Stop doing this; comparing your post-partum tummy with another woman’s flat stomach isn’t going to solve the problem.

5. Stop buying everything the media tells you: Many media channels have a way of making women feel they have to work so much harder than they already do to look good. What they won’t tell you is that the models they use have often been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives. Embrace yourself for who you are, stretchmarks and all!

Beall posts these wise words on her website:

I want to…agree to love my body more and more each day, to use kind words towards myself and towards other women, to be a role-model for future generations of mothers, and to choose to be empowered knowing that I am not alone, and that by coming together, we can reshape body image in mass-media, build self-esteem, and explore vulnerability as a collective” 

So very true, don’t you think?

This article is republished with permission from theAsianparent

Do you have any other ideas on how mums can help themselves to love their post-baby bodies? Share your views by leaving a comment!

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