This Is Postpartum
My journey with postpartum photography started over a year ago last June. As a newborn photographer, I spend a lot of time around postpartum moms, so I really felt drawn to the concept of putting images out there on social media that showed the real, raw, beauty behind the postpartum body. I did my original model call with this awesome and inspiring set of mommas that wanted to help me spread this message which you can view on my blog: https://www.petitecheriephotography.com/new-blog/2018/6/16/the-postpartum-body
The blog really captured a lot more attention than I expected, and a few months ago, I was contacted by The Today Show with a chance to spread my message on a national level.
As with anything, you can’t 100% control the content that gets chosen or put into a story upon editing, so I just wanted to take some time to elaborate on a few things that got left out on here. One thing in particular, is the story of one of the bravest and strongest women I have met through this project, Sarah. Even though she didn’t make the cut, I feel that her story is so powerful and should be shared. It meant so much to her to be able to reach out to others battling with eating disorders and addiction through this project so I am going to help her do that any way I can! You can read about her journey here: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.weitenhagen/posts/10217908976295449
Someone else that I think deserves a shout out, that I didn’t see on our video was Amy. I want to mention that Amy volunteered to fill in as a model for me with literally less than 48 hours notice, after my original model had to drop out due to medical issues. Amy was 5 DAYS POSTPARTUM from a C-SECTION. If anyone deserves the title of superwoman, it definitely is her! I couldn’t leave my house much less volunteer to be a model 5 days after my cesarians. Amy spent a good two hours at least, hanging out with us waiting, being photographed, and doing her interview. I remember the light not quite being right and her getting in and out of her chair a few times and being moved around just during the interview portion. Not one time did she complain. She fed the baby, changed diapers, and really was just a rockstar! Her images give me chills so I am going to share every single one!
The final thing I would like to share with you guys that isn’t covered in the video is a little bit more about me. There is a scene in the video of me flipping through some clothes in my closet. Those are literally ALL the clothes I currently own. I talked about how I recently went through and purged everything that didn’t fit because of how awful it made me feel. I have been dealing with medical issues over the past two years and have been struggling with weight gain, hormone issues, and infertility. I am super uncomfortable in my own skin and talked about how inspiring it was to see these other mommas bearing it all for the camera. So of course, the only bit of this that ended up on there was me (weighing the most I’ve ever weighing in my life) cooking lunch for the kiddos, and talking about how I love food! To be completely honest, I had a breakdown when I first viewed it. I sat on this article for a while before sharing it with friends and family, but this message I am trying to spread is so much more important than my own insecurities and I have got to be a part of the change I want to see in the world. I suppose at the end of the day I just have to laugh it off because what else can I do, right!? I am super excited about an upcoming surgery in June that will hopefully help me get back on track, and pain free, so that I can get finally get back to a healthier lifestyle and maybe just maybe lead to another baby Worthy.
So, with that being said, I would love to get into the nitty gritty of this project: the beauty of our bodies after pregnancy. All shapes, sizes, and ethnicities of people come into my studio but one thing that mostly remains is the self consciousness I see. I get asked to hide double chins, tuck tummies, and slim down arms. There is so much pressure to look and feel beautiful after your body has just undergone one of the most dramatic changes in any woman’s life. I spend a lot of time presenting people with this retouched, smoothed over portrait of themselves, when reality of what is on the other side is hidden. Postpartum bodies have stretch marks, swelling, dimples, and scars. It’s raw and scary, but it’s real, and in my opinion beautiful. I think there is so much pressure put on us by today’s society to “bounce back” after baby, when the reality is that a lot of women are permanently altered in some way, and that is OKAY! Women need time to heal, emotionally and physically and the stress of losing that baby weight is the last thing that any of us need to be worried about immediately after birth. Postpartum bodies should be celebrated for the life and the miracle that they have created. I would love to encourage everyone to be a part of this movement of normalizing the postpartum body and sharing REAL images of yourself, stretch marks and all. Together, we could empower so many women to accept their bodies exactly how they are.
Lastly, I just want to say a huge thank you to The Today Show from the producers and crew (love you Meg and Lauren), to the writers, and editors, for giving me the opportunity to reach so many people through their social media platforms, I will forever be grateful. Also to my amazing models, past and present, for their courage and inspiration to share their stories and their images with the world. And to my tribe of people from my ever encouraging husband, to my friends and family who’s support and help mean so much to me! There are so many beautiful images that came out of this project, a few can be seen on the video but you can scroll through my personal favorites below as well!
You can view the completed article and video from The Today Show here:
If you would like to follow me and my photography journey feel free to stop by my social media pages:
Thanks for reading!