In a world of airbrushed and photoshopped pictures, social media filters, celebrity postpartum transformations, and unrealistic expectations for postpartum women, there isn’t much representation of what postpartum bodies really look like.
But photographer Julie Worthy of Petite Chérie Photography is using her photography to highlight just how beautiful mothers’ bodies are. Her most recent photo series features strong, beautiful postpartum moms, complete with their scars and stretch marks.
Worthy lives in Augusta, Georgia with her husband (they both served in the military) and have two small children of their own. When I asked her how she came up with the idea for this series, she said it was from some of the other family portrait work she’s done as a photographer.
“I spend a lot of time creating family portraits that show waist up shots of a happy, smiling mom. I tuck in their bumps, buff out the blemishes, and present to the world this perfect portrait of a new mother. Reality, however, is so much more raw. New moms have scars, stretch marks, and leftover baby weight, and it’s so important to me that my clients (and all new mothers) know that their imperfections are every bit as beautiful as their perfect portrait, and more.
“I feel like all mothers, myself included, feel so pressured by today’s society to return to norm. I remember trying to suck in my tummy and put on jeans a week after a C-section for our own newborn photos so that everyone could see how great I looked. You hear so much about post-baby workouts, fitting into those old jeans, how breastfeeding burns calories. I feel like it really creates a stigma that your body ‘goes back to normal,’ when the reality for most of us is much different,” said Worthy.
She said she hopes to convey through this series that having a baby often permanently alters your body and that’s perfectly okay.
“Pregnancy and childbirth are the most amazing, scary, wonderful, life-altering moments of any woman’s life and most of us come out different on the other side, both mentally and physically. Your postpartum body is beautiful; it is a reminder of the changes you went through to give life to another person. It should be celebrated, not hidden,” added Worthy.
What she has created is a beautifully raw and honest series of postpartum women and their babies. Including these pictures of a mama and her nursing baby:
There are mothers with and without their children, embracing the power of bringing life into the world:
And so many cute babies that we definitely have baby fever now:
It’s about embracing our perfectly imperfect bodies, stretch marks and all:
As it says on her website, “These photos are real, they are raw, and they are powerful just like you! Every mark, pound, and wrinkle are a result of growing and nurturing those sweet babies you hold in your arms. Be proud and embrace who you are. We come in all shapes and sizes. We have different ethnicities, upbringings, and beliefs but one thing remains true: we love our babies. Now it’s time to love ourselves!”
You heard her, mamas. It’s time to love ourselves, stretch marks and all.