It’s time we start embracing our bodies for exactly what they are
Most women struggle with body image at some point in our lives. Never more so than when we get pregnant and have children. After struggling with her own postpartum body, a Chicago yoga instructor and mother of two sons, ages 19 and 8, decided it was time to celebrate her body and all of its beauty with a photo shoot.
Sabrina Ewell teamed up with photographer Aaron Turner of Expressions Untold for the shoot. “All I could see was the negative aspects of my stomach when I looked in the mirror. I let societal influences reduce me to less than what I really was,” Ewell tells Scary Mommy. But when Turner reviewed the photos afterwards, it was a photo of Ewell’s post-partum stomach that stuck out from the rest.
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Deep breath… So this is me… in all my 19 year postpartum glory… I thought this was baggage for so many years. Contemplated tummy tucks numerous times. Had people give me home remedies to "fix" it that never worked. Felt ashamed because I didn't look like societal norms… But I've been on a journey of self-discovery for the last 2 years, and the universe has lined me up with thoughts, circumstances, and people that have allowed me to connect with my authentic self. I no longer look to societal norms to define who the fuck I am. I am unapologetically me in my bikinis as I do handstands on the beach because I'm the shit. Fuck your photoshopped imagery because your bullshit no longer applies to me. ✌🏽 #Repost @expressionsuntold___ with @repostapp ・・・ Why be ashamed? A life grew inside of you that gives humanity hope of change. You felt things that I as a man will never understand. Even when you first held your baby girl or boy it was nothing similar to when they lay in their father's hands. Your body changed and so did you. It became a look into the past of what you went through. You grew mentally and emotionally and your spirit was taken to places you didn't think it would ever go. Your breasts may sit differently. Your ass may not be as thick as it once was. But why should it be when you gave so much of yourself to help all of us. A sacrifice of sorts if you choose to see it that way. But to me your body now is exactly how it's supposed to be. So don't be ashamed. Don't hide your changes from the world that you and your sisters helped create. Be proud of your story. Be proud of your lines. Be proud of who you've chosen to be.. . . Muse: @sereneradianceyoga Photo by @expressionsuntold___ #sereneradianceyoga #blackgirlmagic #notashamed #motherhood #stretchmarks #society #selfhatred #selflove #blessed #tigerstripes #badgeofhonor #postpartum #postpartumbody #pregnancy
“Deep breath… So this is me… in all my 19 year postpartum glory… I thought this was baggage for so many years,” Ewell writes when she shared her photo on Instagram. “But I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery for the last 2 years, and the universe has lined me up with thoughts, circumstances, and people that have allowed me to connect with my authentic self. I no longer look to societal norms to define who the fuck I am. I am unapologetically me in my bikinis as I do handstands on the beach because I’m the shit. Fuck your photoshopped imagery because your bullshit no longer applies to me.”
And that, folks, is how it’s done.
According to the National Eating Disorders Organization, 40-60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about becoming fat. Let that sink in for a moment. We are allowing our six year olds to comprehend what it means to be “too” something. These are real numbers impacting children who will go on to be adults fighting constantly to feel comfortable in their own skin.
“I want women to embrace and love themselves, focusing on all their haves and not the have nots. I want to help open up society’s view on normality and diversity. Seeing photos like this in media gives women the permission to be exactly who they are without having to compromise themselves,” Ewell explains to Scary Mommy. “Do you know how many years of self-doubt I could have avoided if I saw a tummy that looked anything like mine on tv or the Internet?”
We are constantly bombarded with images in magazines and on television telling us we are not “enough” if we don’t fit into a certain pant size. Then we have kids and a new set of standards emerge telling us we should be back in pre-baby condition weeks after giving birth. For what? Whose timeline are we on? And why do we still allow others to define how we should look and feel?
“Enough was enough,” Ewell says. “I have a story to tell and there are people who will listen.”
Yes there are, Sabrina. And you have our undivided attention.