Sunday, September 28, 2014

Learning to Love Your Post-Baby Body

3 days post partum with my firstborn and still under the illusion that I'll be thin in a week.

Everyone knows that becoming a mother changes one's life immeasurably. In the two and a bit years since giving birth to my first child, I've practically become a new person. My standing Sunday pub date with a girlfriend has become Value Village dates to shop for our kids. The weeks are filled with gymnastics and dance classes, play dates and park trips as opposed to the monotony of a desk job. I can't even remember the last time I stayed up until 3am drinking wine and watching Doctor Who with my best friend, then going McDonalds and pretending to be British. My life is awash in changes, most of them extremely positive.

I'm pretty sure our David Tennant shirts made them buy the accent.

And then there's my body.

I'm only 4'11" to begin with, so not exactly your towering Amazon. A couple of pounds makes a big difference on my frame. I've never been thin, by any means, but I have never really ventured into "chubby" territory. Prior to having my son, that is. After a long, very difficult pregnancy capped with the birth of a nearly 9lb baby, I was certainly not svelte. My formerly 36B breasts swelled up to a 36EE, and have stayed firmly put ever since. I became pregnant with my daughter right around my son's first birthday, and never really had the chance to lose all that baby weight before piling more right back on. So now I'm definitely carrying around a good 30lbs more than I'd like to be. TMI alert: My boobs sag so much that I can nurse my daughter next to me while lying flat on my back. I was lucky when it comes to stretch marks, but I now have a deep purple cesarean scar marring my wiggly belly. Honestly, sometimes I feel like a whale.

I'm trying really hard not to give into the pressure to feel crappy about myself, because I know logically that these preconceived notions of beauty are garbage. Nobody looks like the women in magazines, and I don't want to give my children- and particularly my daughter- the impression that I'm unhappy with my body or aspire to some unachievable goal of beauty. Some days, like when I have a rare occasion to dress up, are harder than others. Which is why it's so refreshing to see  an initiative like The Beautiful Me Project underway.

The Beautiful Me Project is to compile a series of photographs and stories from real life mothers, giving those who are having a hard time adjusting to the realities of motherhood a bit of a self esteem boost. By showcasing the beauty inherent with becoming a mother, the hope is to lessen the pressure to look a certain way and put focus back where it belongs: on celebrating the new life created.

She's way too pretty for anyone to notice me anyway.

The Beautiful Me Project was started by a local-to-me mompreneur named Candice Tizzard. In her work as a doula and birth and lifestyle photographer, Tizzard has become well familiar with the struggles that women encounter in learning to love their postpartum bodies. The dissatisfaction with living in a body that is not what you want, nor what you once had, can be a large contributing factor in Post-partum Depression. An estimated 1 in 6 women suffers from diagnosed PPD, as it is commonly known, while many more suffer without a diagnosis.

Tizzard herself is no stranger to the condition, having struggled with PPD following the births of all three of her children. That's why she plans to donate all proceeds from the book to the Pacific Post Partum Support Society, an organization instrumental in helping her with her own battle.

Says Tizzard about the project,

"I hope to increase the awareness that surrounds the stigma that many postpartum women feel about their bodies. That we should lose weight and regain our pre-baby bodies immediately after our children are born. So many women feel alone and undervalued. I hope the Beautiful ME Project will create a community of support, love and understanding." 

So how can you be a part of this fantastic project?

Currently, Tizzard is offering opportunities to be featured in the book! For a donation of only $50.00, you can participate in a 20 minute photographic session, with your photographs and quote included in the book. When the book is released in December, you'll receive a free copy.

If you're not comfortable sharing your photos, you can also come in for a specially priced private session at $75.00. The book is not included.

For other donation options, and to read more about the project, please visit the website. Information is also available on the Beautiful Me Facebook Page and Twitter


  1. Definitely checking out the fb page

    1. It's really cool, hey? Too bad you're not down here, or else you could enter!