Emma Mustich – Huffington Post – Friday, 05 July 2013 (originally published Jun 24)
When Jade Beall published a series of self-portraits of her semi-nude postpartum body online — and a followup semi-nude photo of a friend that got thousands of “likes” and shares from her photography studio’s Facebook page — she realized she’d struck a nerve. Hundreds of mothers wrote to her, hoping Beall would be willing to take portraits of them “just as they were” as well. The photographer, and mother of one, was so moved by these intense reactions that she complied, in a big way.
Now, these women’s photos (Beall has captured more than 50 moms and counting), and written accounts of their journeys from self-doubt to body confidence, will appear in “A Beautiful Body,” a book that Beall is bringing to fruition via crowd-funding and help from volunteers. Put together, these images are meant to show mothers as they really look, imperfect but no less beautiful for what society might consider their physical “flaws.”
“We are facing an epidemic of women who feel unworthy of being called beautiful,” Beall told HuffPost, describing a world in which “nearly all of us struggle to feel beautiful in our own skin.” And the expectations faced by women who have given birth are particularly harsh. “Shaming mothers for not ‘bouncing back’ after childbirth can cause feelings of failure when being a mother is challenging enough and when a big number of us have already lived a life of feeling un-beautiful prior to giving birth,” she says . . .