Mums proudly showing off their post-baby bodies has become a bit of a thing, but we’re rewinding to take a look at the latest pregnancy project. Mums-to-be of all shapes and sizes tell of their fears, hopes and dreams, and these quotes are paired with stunning maternity photography, for an eye-opening journey.
Photographer Natalie McCain began The Honest Body Project in a bid to help women learn to love their bodies, and in turn, themselves. In her latest venture The Maternity Series, women are photographed during pregnancy, and asked to reveal a little about themselves.
“I photograph these amazing women, and have them write to me to tell me their stories. I ask them to speak from the heart, no limitations. The raw stories they provide are the backbone of this project. The portraits show their joy, their beauty, their imperfections, and their love for their children. Paired with their stories, it paints a beautiful, honest picture of motherhood,” she explains.
The project is also a show of solidarity – so that no woman ever feels alone in her struggles with motherhood. There are stories of loss – of pregnancies and sense of self. There are stories of hope and love beyond comprehension. Here’s a snapshot of pregnancies as seen through the lens, and told by real mums:
“After my son was born, I experienced secondary infertility for several years, then the loss of a long awaited and very much wanted pregnancy. Those experiences have coloured the way I’ve felt about subsequent pregnancies. I fell in love with my son, unreservedly and completely, the moment I saw the second line on the pregnancy test.”
“I’ve always been the type to value my freedom and independence. So when I found out I was pregnant, both times I cried. Not because I was filled with happiness but because I was overwhelmed with these feelings of my life as I knew it, being over. I knew that I could no longer live for just myself and that was one of my biggest fears, being forced to love someone more then I love myself and my freedom.”
“I love my body, I love my baby bump, my tiger stripes, my curves, my imperfections, my loving man, my supporting family and friends, and I’m done letting others influence how I feel about myself. I am beautiful, strong, and intelligent.”
“I never truly focused on the things I put into and on my body until I became pregnant. Lotions, deodorants, processed foods, etc. Not a second thought of how they might affect my health. Until I was pregnant. The moment I learned I had a child growing inside of me, I became very aware that the choices I was making for myself would have a lifelong impact on my child(ren) as well.”
“In 2009 they found a growing mass in my abdomen. My left ovary was extremely large and due to a history of ovarian cancer needed to be removed. I was under the care of an oncologist and it was a very stressful time for my family. I had just moved in with my (now) husband and the future became very uncertain. After four months of care in early 2010, I had surgery and my left ovary was removed. All of my biopsies came back negative, there was no cancer. I was at that point diagnosed with endometriosis. Due to the severity of my endometriosis we weren’t sure if I would ever be able to have kids.
A year later I was getting married and trying to get pregnant. It took Clomid and six months to conceive and the pregnancy ended at 16 weeks. After recovery we started trying again, and after seven months, and more medication, we succeeded once again. I lost that pregnancy at 12 weeks. After another 15 months I got pregnant with my daughter. Never in a million years did we expect seven months later we would find out we were expecting our second little girl! So after four years and two miscarriages I will have two little girls 14 months apart, and it blows my mind!”
“My husband joined me at the first ultrasound. Before the doctor could even say anything, we both could quickly see that there were two! We were taken aback, but weren’t totally surprised with having so many risk factors, quick symptoms and a very high HCG. Regardless, it was still hard to really grasp and accept that there were two! Within 24 hours, we discussed how it’d be best for me to close my in-home company and we started discussing all the logistics we could think of. We know life will be crazy and we are hoping to be as prepared as we can be!”
“I cried and threw up when I saw the positive pregnancy test- my life literally flashed before my eyes and I cried like I lost a giant piece of myself forever. I couldn’t imagine even being happy about having a baby. The second time I found out I was pregnant, my first baby was… just that, still a baby, still needed me. I still needed her. I cried and cried because I wasn’t ready to give up my time to another yet. I just wanted to hold onto her being a baby for as long as I could and I spent every moment with her like it was my last. I didn’t think it was fair that I would have to split time that my first child deserved to have all to herself. How could we do this to her? I liked it being just me and her everyday.”
To see more, head to The Honest Project.