12 Honest Photos That Capture the Raw Beauty of 'Motherhood Unfiltered'

Liz Alterman | Oct 20, 2016 Being a Mom

Motherhood UnfilteredWanting to capture the beauty in everyday life as a mom inspired photographer Eran Sudds to pursue a creative and inspiring project she aptly titled Motherhood Unfiltered. Recognizing that all too often we obsess over creating the "picture-perfect" moment, Sudds's breathtaking photos illustrate the gorgeous splendor in the ordinary day. What she achieved is beyond stunning. 

Sudds, who helms the blog/online community the Good Mother Project, told CafeMom that when she came up with the idea she didn't initially realize what a "brave act" it would be for these moms to share their stories with her.

Eighty women applied and, in what had to be an extremely challenging decision, the photographer narrowed it down to a dozen. 

"These women invited me to their homes and let me really see them -- and then photograph them," she said. "And then share their stories online. And each one of them was excited and totally willing to share their lives and their stories. That was amazing to me. It made me realize that I think so many of us just want to be seen, and to share our stories and to find connection in our honesty and truths. It was pretty powerful."

These portraits, and the lives they represent, will move and inspire you with their courage, strength, and unflinching honesty as they prove what Sudds set out to -- that "motherhood is totally beautiful, even in the mundane and ordinary moments."

 

Image via eran jayne photography

  • Aimee & Her Daughter

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Four months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexa, Aimee was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. 

    "Being a mother has taught me what is important in life -- family, friends, kindness, love, and community. It has also given me a fierce drive to beat the odds and be there for Alexa as she grows up," the brave mom told Eran.

  • Jenn & Lindsey

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Jenn and Lindsey are a two-mom family, co-parenting a spirited 5-year-old daughter.

    Jenn shared with Eran how motherhood has changed her:

    "She has made me braver. I can't expect her to try new things, unless I try too, and I can't teach her without learning. My expectations for HER have become my expectations for MYSELF: consistently respectful, disciplined, and deliberate. She has slowed me down out of a 'tizzy' and inspired me to be more grounded -- a 10-minute walk with a tiny human quite literally involves stopping to 'smell the flowers' ... often every single one of them."  

  • Jess & Her Daughter

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    For Jess, being a mom is "a giant slap of reality." So well said!

    "It puts all things into perspective and quickly aligns them behind the new #1, your child. My empathy for other parents has increased tenfold. From the mom yelling at her kids in the grocery store, to dads trying to put in a mini ponytail, to panicked pregnant moms making sure they have 'everything' they will need, I am just so much more aware of what they are going through than I was previous to having a child."

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  • Christine & Her Daughters

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Christine shares her journey to motherhood with Eran and it will bring a tear to your eye.

    "My husband and I always wanted a family. After years of trying to get pregnant without success, we decided to pursue adoption. It was a long and difficult process, with several devastating heartbreaks along the way. Thankfully, in the end, we found our incredible girls. I marvel at the way that our families connected. I became a mother the moment I saw my eldest daughter's photography pop up on my computer screen, a bond that only grew when she was placed in my arms six days later by her birth mother."

    So beautiful!

  • Ashley -- Mom of Three

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    "I've always wanted to be a mother. However recent events left me a single mother to three kids under the age of 5. Being a mother was harder than I thought it would be. My ex-husband wasn't involved too much with helping me from the beginning. I guess due to my current situation I see the world and myself a lot differently. I am a very kind person.

    "But I no longer have the time or patience for people using and abusing my kindness. I am teaching my kids to be kind, but also not to be used because of their kindness. I've realized I'm so much stronger than I ever thought I was and I am teaching my kids that as well as forgiveness, grace, and the importance of family and faith. My kids are my life and I would do anything for them."

  • Liz

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    For Liz, becoming a mother changed her outlook on life completely.

    "I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life. For a very long time, the world seemed like a dark, lonely, and painful place. I couldn't see happiness and beauty in anything. Having Fynn made me feel and see so much light and love in the world. You really don't know true, unconditional love until you have a child. You don't really see beauty in the little things until you're looking through the eyes of someone who is seeing them for the first time."

    More from CafeMom: 13 Things No New Mom Wants to Hear (Like Ever ... for All Eternity)

  • Carmel

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    "My girls have become my inspiration. When Eva was born, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Having a child with a disability has made me much more patient and comfortable dealing with everyone -- especially people with disabilities. I am much softer to the world and yet strong in defending and supporting those who need it. My girls have given me strength and compassion," Carmel shared with Eran. 

  • Nancy

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Nancy describes herself as "an older mom who suffered through miscarriages and a termination, who embrace the wonders of fertility treatment and was blessed with multiples." She shared that the reason she wanted to participate in this project was because she knows firsthand how fertility issues and pregnancy losses can be very isolating.

    "No one wants to talk about them. I am trying to be more open about it myself. And if my story could shed some hope on someone else or show another mom-to-be that she is not alone in her struggles, then I would love the opportunity to do that for someone," she told Eran. 

    How brave.

  • Roberta

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Roberta shared her unique situation and how her sister helped her become a mom.

    "I married my husband and was blessed to become the stepmother to two amazing boys three years ago, ages 7 and 11. However, we wanted to have a child of our own, and so we underwent IVF to have our daughter, Aava.

    "I have (as does most of my family) fragile X, which is a genetic disorder that affects the X chromosome and can produce autistic-like characteristics in people. As a result, my egg supply was very low, was of very low quality, and most carried the defective gene. After many tests, the likelihood of being able to conceive my own child, with my own eggs, was estimated to be 1 percent.

    "My sister, Marika, is the only female in my family who does not carry the defective gene. At age 20, my sister underwent the process of donating her eggs so that I could have a child of my own. After several attempts, we finally became pregnant in September of 2014 and had our daughter in May of 2015. Without my sister, my family would never have been able to be. Words cannot express my gratitude towards her for doing this for me."

  • Leigh Anne

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Leigh Anne's story proves that it truly takes a village.

    "I can only be a good mother because I have the support of a community: a supportive husband; amazing daycare providers; a manager who encourages me to go home and take care of my daughter when she has an ear ache; supportive friends that listen to me gripe about my kids still not sleeping through the night and the fact that I'm 15 pounds heavier than I was before I had kids.

    "I am a good mother because when everything goes wrong, I'm still able to be guided by gratitude for these people who support me and for my two children who look at me -- unshowered and harried -- with pure grace."

  • Andrea

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Andrea's honesty about her condition is something many moms can relate to.

    "I suffered from postpartum depression with my son, and am struggling with anxiety and sleep deprivation 4.5 years later with my daughter. I always fear that my struggles with mental health will affect my children negatively, that it will make me a bad mom.

    "I'm concerned that I'll develop full-blown depression again and that I won't be able to properly take care of my kids. I want to be present for them, but depression makes that difficult. Depression and anxiety are the ghosts that haunt me, every moment of every day."

  • Erin

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    Image via eranjayne.com

    Erin shared how motherhood improved her connection to her own mom and gave her a new appreciation for her.

    "Becoming a mother has also completely shifted my relationship with my own mother. The love I feel for my daughter has exponentially expanded the love I feel for my mother. To know that she went through her own version of this experience, that she felt this depth of love for me. That her life was transformed as well. We have a lot of similarities to our stories. She also suffered from PPD and we had our first child around the same age. Plus I live with her mother, so that's added an often hilarious spin to things. To have context for her own stories of joy and struggle, it's brought us closer than ever."

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