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Pregnancy and Beyond: The '4th Trimester' Bodies Project (PHOTOS)

I admit to fat-shaming myself, especially when pregnant. My personal blog, The Girl Who, is filled with posts bitching about my exploding body. Gaining so much weight so fast can be difficult to accept. Especially when faced with a society that ferociously mocks celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson for gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy as well as the resulting parade of starlets bouncing back from pregnancies by posing on magazine covers in bikinis mere months after giving birth.

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project is the antidote to cover after cover of Tori Spelling yukking it up in a teeny bikini seconds after giving birth. The project is an ongoing photo documentary created by photographer and mother Ashlee Wells Jackson dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding. As the site states, “Our only guideline is that you are a MOTHER and are willing to {tastefully} bare it all in the name of honest beauty.”

When looking at these photos of healthy, strong, happy women holding their babies I feel a shift happening inside of me. I’ll never be able to look at my body without a slightly critical eye toward my weight, it’s too deeply ingrained in my psyche. But at least I can also feel proud that my body housed my babies for nine months. That right now my body is creating a human being. As I type this I can feel it thumping and bumping. A baby. A person who I will know and love for the rest of time. Some stretch marks and even a couple belly rolls are a small price to pay for that.

As Jill Smyth (whose photo you’ll see below) says, “Because I am a woman. Because I am a mother. Because I was raised by a woman who was also a mother. Because mothers everywhere have had a hard time being themselves…”

All photos used with permission from The 4th Trimester Bodies Project

  • Valentine Wolff Baines 1 of 10
    prego

    It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Corina Klein 2 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Christine Costabile 3 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Monica Zibutus 4 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Jessica Ewald 5 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Cora Shaw 6 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Jasmyne Ross 7 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Jill Smyth 8 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Ashley Dodd 9 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

  • Jennifer Vanderschaegen 10 of 10
    prego

     It doesn't matter how you've come to motherhood or how old your children are. The 4th Trimester Bodies Project would love to photograph you. See their website for more info.

    Image source: 4thtrimesterbodies.com

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