My body.... Disproportionate, irregular...
'I have breastfed my first son until he was 27 months and I now breastfeed my newborn. I bed share with my newborn like I bed shared with my first son, until he was about 2 and a bit. I love bed sharing and the contact/closeness it provides. My first son would not be put down at all until he was about 6 months old, so I carried him all the time in a sling or in arms, but that wasn't a problem (most of the times) as I loved having him very close to me and was not comfortable with the idea of having him in a buggy that small. I am doing pretty much the same with my second son, I carry him in a sling and he is carried at home whenever he needs it.'
'I feel very very proud of what my body has achieved... carrying children and giving birth to them. I enjoyed taking care of my body while I was pregnant: hydrating it, nourishing it with cream etc. Once I gave birth, both times, I enjoyed taking care of myself by eating good and nutritious food. After a few weeks, it is a bit harder to do all this and it feels it is a bit neglected. In fact, I felt really beautiful when I was pregnant, but I put on weight after giving birth (while on maternity leave the first time) and I feel often low about the extra kilos I seem to have. All in all, my role as a mother has made me more aware of the need and pleasure in taking care of my body (inside/out) but also about the lack of time to do it.'
'Why the rush?! They're only babies.'
'"How long will it take to be normal again?" "Have you lost your pregnancy kilos?" "You look tired, you should stop breastfeeding/co-sleeping/baby wearing."
Yes, I do want to find more energy.
I do want to be less achy from all this sleep deprivation and exhaustion of giving so much to my two children.
And it will happen, all in good time. Why the rush?!
They're only babies.
Also, my body pre- baby is from another life, this is my new normal.'
'My belly and broad hips have enabled my babies to come into this world. And I am proud of that.'
'I usually try to hide my belly... I feel it should be flat! Having this post baby belly is challenging to me. In the pictures I find it really beautiful and this is one part of my body I am ready to make peace with. It is beautiful. My belly and broad hips have enabled my babies to come into this world. And I am proud of that.'
As I get to know the women I work with, as they share their stories and their hearts, I am struck by the similarities. Every woman has a different relationship with their body and is at a different stage of their journey, but there are threads that repeat themselves, weaving their way through each image, each session and each story. Questions of our identities, as women and as mothers; of the contradictory nature of our relationships with our bodies; a constant search for balance and a desire to begin to integrate these different elements of ourselves.
As always I am so deeply grateful to the women who trust me to make these images and tell their stories!