Photographer Jade Beall of Tucson, Arizona, did more than just show off her work when she created "A Beautiful Body" project. She captured motherhood on film, didn't use Photoshop, and filled women everywhere with confidence. We are beautiful -- whether or not we have stretch marks, c-section scars, or skin that just isn't as tight as it once was. We created life and our beautiful bodies housed that life. What could show more beauty than that?
Her work is inspiring, makes us realize what beauty really is.
Beall says on her Facebook page:
Thing is, these labels "skinny" and "fat" have no meaning for me. I photograph that which moves my heart: Sacred life in all divine shapes. May we always remember that no matter our shape, most likely because of how we have been taught how to think and perceive ourselves and others, we do not love our physical temple as much as our bodies deserve. May we re-learn how to think: we are divine and our sisters are too. May we offer love and support so that we may heal from these energy draining un-true stories of un-worthiness. We are ALL worthy to feel BEAUTIFUL and HAPPY. We all have known pain. Let us hold hands and celebrate each other!
I'm reaching out my hands to hold yours virtually.
Sometimes we women need to reminded that beauty is everywhere -- it's within us and it is us. That c-section scar is the loving pocket our babies came out of. Those stretch marks are like tiger stripes we earned. The so-called body ideal needs to be banished.
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This all started when Beall, who is a mom of one, got such a great response from her own self-portraits of her postpartum body that other women wanted to be photographed as well.
The book "A Beautiful Body" serves to rid women of that self-loathing too many of us have. It's to help us overcome that shame we feel for not bouncing back to our pre-pregnancy weight fast enough. We don't need to fit into some sort of skinny mold. We are women. We are mothers. We have bodies that come in all shapes and sizes, some decorated with scars, and every one beautiful.
Beall's Kickstarter campaign for A Beautiful Body Book Project exceeded its goal! The book will happen. And I cannot wait.
What do you think of these photos? Does it help your self-confidence? Do you think mothers are too hard on themselves when it comes to their postpartum bodies?
Image via Jade Beall