Lately it seems like more mothers are embracing their natural postpartum bodies. Yet the pressure for new moms to “bounce back” to their pre-pregnancy size and shape is still hard to escape. Still, there are trailblazers out there—like Canada-based photographer Meagan Elemans. She's using her platform to create a dialogue that encourages women to love their after-baby bodies.
Elemans, who is also a mom, captured the reality of postpartum life in a raw photo series. Since September, she's turned her Instagram account into a gallery of stunning photos of new mothers and their children, displaying the stretch marks and loose skin that come with motherhood.
This is it y’all. The culmination of a big labor of love, published as a webpage for your viewing pleasure. Click the link in my bio to see the rest of these amazing, perfect, beautiful mammas. Thank you for participating, thank you for this project, thank you for this life. Postpartum is hard, but I see you, and I love you. 🥰 . . #takebackpostpartum #postpartum #postpartumbody #effyourbeautystandards #bopo #bodypositivity #bodypos #loveyourself #motherhoodthroughinstagram #motherhoodrising #clickinmoms #tribearchipelago #mothershape #womenirl #momunity #mother #birth #studiophotography #yql #lethbridgephotographer
“Going through my own postpartum journey inspired these photos,” Elemans tells Health of the series, which features more than 30 photos. “Postpartum hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt really unprepared and really sad how no one talks about how hard the days after pregnancy are. I heard all about pregnancy but not enough about trying to breastfeed, the soreness, the fear of intimacy, and my soft, empty body.”
Elemans explains that the pressure put on a woman to get her pre-pregnancy body back is harmful to her mental health. She wanted to create a series that showed real women’s bodies after birth, encouraging women to embrace their new shapes.
Part 3/3; . Children aged 7 months and 3 years. 🌸 . . #womenirl #postpartum #mammabod #effyourbeautystandards #tribearchipelago #takebackpostpartum #loveyourskin #motherhoodunplugged #motherhoodrising #mothershape #love #children
“Women go through an evolution after birth, I think especially after the first one—and your postpartum body is a part of that,” she says. “During my last few days of pregnancy, I finally got stretch marks. I remember feeling so devastated…but I’m like, for what? My body housed my perfect daughter and I would go through war for her again and again. So the photos were really an opportunity for me to join with fellow mamas and see and understand that the postpartum body varies so much, and that there really isn’t a normal.”
Do you love squishy baby bums as much as I do? There’s more if you click the link in my bio! This project has been so fun to share – can’t wait to hop on my next one. Any guesses what it’ll be!? . . #takebackpostpartum #effyourbeautystandards #womenirl #momunity #motherhood #bopo #bodypositive #mothershape #mamma #babybum #tribearchipelago #backdrop #empoweringwomen #postpartum #bodypower #identityofshe #embraceyourmotherhood
Elemans hopes other women are inspired by her series, and that it will help them feel more comfortable in their own skin.
"I want to get this series under the eyes of other mamas, so that they can see how much bodies vary," says Elemans. "The confidence of these women I know has inspired me to be proud of my new form and feel no shame about it. I want women to say, 'Oh I have stretch marks too,' or 'I have loose skin too.' I’m not the only one and I deserve to be seen in this new light."
Check out the rest of the photos in the series on her Instagram page.
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