Not many of us are prepared for how our body will look post-birth. During pregnancy we mostly enjoy our swelling tummies, knowing we are creating a life.
Shortly after giving birth we are left with the scars, the stretch marks and the extra weight. Many women find it difficult to cope with, especially as it can be months and years before our bodies begin to resemble our pre-baby bodies, if they ever do.
Photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson is the mother of three children, including a 7-year-old and 2 twin daughters, 10 months old, one of whom died. She explains that her pregnancy with twins was difficult and she was left physically and emotionally scarred. "My body was devastated and I found myself months afterwards unable to accept the changes and the new body I was carrying around."
It was during this time that she realised other mothers must be feeling this way too. She decided to try and make a difference.
Ashlee launched the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. She and many others have donated their time and are travelling around the US photographing as many mothers as possible. The end goal is a book that mums can buy and share. She's also asked mums to contact her through her her website.
"We live in a society obsessed with perfection. The goal of this project is to shift that focus to the beauty of who we really are," Ashlee explains.
The photos are truly stunning and capture everything that is beautiful about being a mother.
Watch Ashlee discuss her project here.
We at iVillage feel exactly the same about post-baby bodies, which is why we started the Mummy Tummy Pride gallery. We'd love to add your photos. Send them to [email protected]