C-section scars, stretch marks and breastfeeding boobs, that are all usually hidden away, have been brought into the light and celebrated in an 'all shapes and sizes' photoshoot aiming to end unrealistic expectations of mothers' bodies.
The shoot, which took place over the weekend, was the result of a team effort by midwife and 'Positive Birth Jersey' founder May Bourne, and photographer Sophie Darwin, who are both aiming to promote body positivity among local mums.
The pair met when May delivered Sophie’s baby on Boxing Day and their different perspectives sparked up the idea of the photoshoot.
Pictured: May (left) delivered Sophie's baby on Boxing Day.
May explained that new mums are under a lot of pressure to look a certain way and, even though body positive messages are becoming more common, they do not always seem to apply to motherhood.
May and Sophie therefore wanted to show that mother’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes and devised the idea of a campaign featuring a group photoshoot on the beach as well as individual portraits.
“We want to celebrate the beauty of your post-birth body, and offer a realistic image of what motherhood looks like - the image that is rarely portrayed in the media and on Instagram!” the pair wrote in a post announcing the event.
Pictured: Photographer Sophie Darwin and her children.
“We want to celebrate everything that comes with motherhood - stretchmarks, a change in skin, C-section scars, breastfeeding boobs and all. We believe that all post-partum bodies are beautiful and women are amazing!”
“We want to end unreal expectations of women’s bodies,” May added.
“Some bodies have c-section scars, stretch marks … hopefully other mums will be able to identify with that and realise that it’s ok to look like that. We need to normalise that."
View this post on Instagram
She continued: “Of course, some women do get back to their weight really quickly and there is nothing wrong with that. But most women don’t! Everyone’s different, every birth is different, it’s normal to look different.”
In total, 50 local mums bared their undies for the campaign - 10 times more what Sophie and May expected.
“When we first started, because it is such a big thing to do [getting undressed for a photo], we thought, 'Let’s start with five women.' We had 30 replying for the one-on-one photoshoot. The response has really been amazing. ”
Video: A sneak peek of the campaign. (Becky Kinross Videographer)
Beyond the beauty of the photographs and the message they aim to spread, May was touched to hear “amazing stories from different mothers”.
This included a woman who had 19 rounds of IVF to get pregnant, and another one who had a one-sided mastectomy after having cancer in her 30s and who is still managing to feed her baby.
“So many different experiences,” May said. “This was such a huge thing to do. We are so proud of them!"
Pictured: A group of mums gathered on the beach at weekend to snap a few pictures.
The midwife confessed the campaign has already achieved its purpose with many women thanking them for the “much-needed confidence boost.” “One woman said this is the first time she has looked at her body positively,” May said. “It could not have gone any better.”
The photographs will go on display at Common Ground Coffee Shop in St. Brelade on 10 November, an exhibition May and Sophie hope to get sponsorship for after having funded the rest of the campaign themselves.
The pair is also exploring the idea of a calendar that would help raise money for local charities.
View this post on Instagram
While this would help spread the body positive message even further, May says the society also needs to change.
“We all need to be aware that actually what you can see on social media is not real,” she explained. “It’s just the highlights of someone’s life.
“Celebrities are not representatives of normal women. We need to stop putting pressure on women and to normalize motherhood and what comes with it.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.