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A New Photographic Project Celebrates The Beauty Of Motherhood

A photographic project has been launched to show case and celebrate mothers exactly how they are- beautiful!

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project was set up by Ashlee Dean Wells and Laura Weetzie Wilson in the US and shares the ‘’uncensored reality of childbirth and beyond.’’ They say “the project exists because women are judged too crudely on the way we look and are often told we don’t measure up.’’

Images of fitness mums have become the norm on social media, especially showing off their post pregnancy bodies. While there is nothing wrong with that because they work hard to look great, it can be disheartening for someone to see those photos, especially if they look completely different.

The new hashtag on Instagram has inspired women to share photos of their bodies both pregnant and postpartum, in hope of inspiring and reminding women just how beautiful they are.

The tremendous Megan Tran, Nico (2), and Hana (3 weeks). Megan had a wonderful pregnancy but a complicated birth with her first daughter. Her water broke three days prior to labor and she developed a chorio infection due to prolonged rupture and multiple vaginal examinations. Megan was transferred to the hospital from the birth center she intended to deliver at after spiking a fever. She progressed to 10 cm at the hospital, and was told while pushing that she had 45 minutes to get Nico out. 15 minutes later, an OB who had taken over care came in to tell her Nico’s heart rate was now over 200 bpm, and she needed an emergency cesarean. During the surgery, Megan’s bladder was cut, and improperly repaired. Nico was born very small for a full term baby, with a collapsed lung as well as the chorio infection. She saw her for a minute before she was rushed off to the NICU, where she spent the next 6 days. Megan couldn’t hold her baby for 48 hours while she recovered under an oxygen hood. She never heard her cry, and they both needed IV antibiotics. After Nico was discharged, they were able to spend one night together before Megan had to be taken to the emergency room and admitted to a closer hospital. Her bladder, had reopened and she now had a blood clot the size of a tennis ball in it. Megan spent 3 very painful nights away from her new baby while they cleared the clot. She had two procedures and a blood transfusion. When she returned home, Megan says her baby felt like a stranger, like she’d been replaced with someone else. Her relationship with her husband crumbled and it took four months for her to realize she had postpartum depression. She struggled to feel anything for anyone and says she was too embarrassed to seek help. She instead told herself she could just work through it on her own but she couldn’t. {continued} #4thtribaltimore

A photo posted by 4th Trimester Bodies Project (@4thtribodies) on

The #4thtrimester hashtag has been widely praised as an honest and realistic way of depicting the impact pregnancy has on a woman’s body.

The amazing Toni-Ann Price and Leo (3). Toni chose to terminate her first pregnancy in 2009, just before her 29th birthday and it’s a decision that brought her a lot of grief for a very long time. She had been loosely involved with someone when she learned she was pregnant and was very scared about what to do. Toni-Ann didn’t want to end the pregnancy but her partner at the time was adamant that he didn’t want to have a baby at any point in his life and he was unwilling to have any discussion about options or possibilities. Toni considered having the baby on her own and allowing him to be involved on his own terms or not at all, but he said no. He didn’t want to have any role or any responsibility, but also told her that he couldn’t live knowing his baby was growing up and living life without his involvement. Her former partner put immense pressure on her and made threats that he couldn’t live with any decision other than an abortion. Because she cared about him and was worried about what he would do, she decided to have an abortion. “It ruined me. I cried for months on end. I hated myself for being so careless and not being strong enough to stand up for what I wanted and for what I knew I could do for myself and for my unborn baby. I hated myself for putting him before myself and my baby – for giving so much weight to the feelings for someone who clearly didn’t have any feelings for me. I was in a constant state of grief for a long, long time.” Once Toni-Ann was able to begin to mentally heal from the abortion, she realized how desperately she wanted to become a mother. She never thought she wanted children but two years after her abortion she reconnected with a special person from her past got married and decided to have a baby. {continued} #4thtribaltimore

A photo posted by 4th Trimester Bodies Project (@4thtribodies) on

 

The stunning Sarah Khalily, Joshua (10), Milo and Elliot (4), and Olive (10 months). Sarah is a previous project participant, you can view her photo and story here. Sarah’s first pregnancy was unplanned. She was 20 years old, had recently dropped out of college, and felt completely unprepared to become a mother. Her immediate reaction was abortion but she had to wait two weeks for her appointment and in that time she realized two things: that she loved her baby and did not want to abort him and that she was feeling him kick, so it was probably too late anyway. Sarah carried Joshua 13 days post dates and had a natural, uncomplicated birth. She struggled to breastfeed him for those first few weeks and felt such relief when she switched to formula. Joshua was an easy baby who grew into a difficult toddler/preschooler/child. It wasn’t until he was seven that they finally got some answers as to why: Joshua is on the Autism spectrum (PDD-NOS) and knowing that has helped her understand him better and learn how to parent him better. She was with his father in the early days but always felt alone. He was verbally and emotionally abusive to Sarah and she struggled to make it work for Joshua’s sake. Sarah finally found the strength to leave when Joshua was 3.5 because she realized that she was miserable and Joshua deserved a happy mother. {continued} #4thtribaltimore

A photo posted by 4th Trimester Bodies Project (@4thtribodies) on

 

The amazing Annie Gates, Kalon (6), Abram (2), Miriam (6 months). Annie had three miscarriages before conceiving Kalon. Her first in high school and two with her husband. After her third miscarriage, Annie’s doctors were finally willing to look into things and were able to give her supplemental progesterone through her first trimester which she repeated with all of her pregnancies. Annie says that she didn’t know much about birth or have any solid plans and agreed to induction with Kalon which led to a long and difficult labor. With Abram, Annie really wanted to do things differently but her water broke without labor starting and soon she found herself in the hospital with an epidural and says that she remembers crying to her husband. Feeling like she had failed somehow. Annie says that because her baby was healthy, she didn’t feel like she had the space to acknowledge that she was sad about her birth or that her feelings were valid. While she never sought medical attention or treatment, Annie knows that this contributed to her struggle with postpartum depression. Annie and her husband had decided that they were done with two kids but the week he was scheduled for his vasectomy she found out she was pregnant. She was really sad and struggled to accept the pregnancy until she was about 16 weeks along when she realized that this was perhaps another chance for her to have the birth she desired. Annie hired a doula and found a birth center she felt comfortable with. Her water broke near term and almost immediately she had intense one minute contractions two minutes apart. They headed to the hospital and Miriam was born about 20 minutes later. Annie describes the experience as redemptive and says it was exactly what she needed. Breastfeeding is going well as it has with her boys and she is thrilled to have this experience as part of her journey. {continued} #4thtriChicago

A photo posted by 4th Trimester Bodies Project (@4thtribodies) on

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project now travels around North America, collecting images of mothers for this project.

Find out more by clicking here.

 

Images via Instagram.

 

Chrystal Lovevintage

Chrystal Lovevintage

Chrystal is a writer and blogger who loves nothing more than watching back to back episodes of crime shows. Should she ever find herself needing to cover up a crime, she'll know exactly what to do! Her dream is to one day live in Palm Springs where she can do her writing poolside while drinking endless gin and tonics. Mum to the cutest twin boys in the world, she loves nothing more than the sound of their laughter (usually heard when they're conspiring against her). Entertainment writer and pop culture junkie, she will be bringing you all the celebrity gossip and news that your brain can handle. You can follow her blog at https://lovechrystal.com.au and on Instagram at Chrystalovevintage

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