“dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding.”
I started following this project right after I had my daughter. I found myself feeling so proud of the women who were participating in this project and continued to follow it on Facebook and on their website. It was several months later that they announced that they would be coming to Toronto. I so wanted to be a part of it but I really wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons. The spots opened up in March and I sat at my computer, with the confirmation button staring at me. I eventually hit confirm, perhaps by accident and a little bit on purpose. I realized that I was doing this for me, I was doing this for my daughter and I was doing this because it was important to me.
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I have been called names and have been made fun of and I realized during this process that I have put myself down, both in my head and out loud for my entire life too. This process really made me realize that my daughter would now hear all those negative comments I make about myself. I suddenly found myself worrying that she might go through the same things and that devastated me, no one should have to go through or think those things about themselves. So I decided that I was going to participate and change my way of thinking and speaking for myself and for her. Even if I had to bare my post pregnancy body … stretch marks and all.
Upon arrival, I sat in the lobby of the hotel, seriously considering leaving because I was so nervous. You know how you feel right before a job interview? Times that by a hundred. I got the text message that they were ready for me and off we went. My husband came with me because my little one is walking now and getting into everything! We entered the room and met Ashlee and Laura (the founders of the project) and baby Nova, Ashlee’s beautiful daughter. I announced my nervousness and was happy to hear that that was a common feeling among most women who participated. Laura got started on my hair and makeup, which surprisingly put me at ease. We had a wonderful chat while my husband played with the babies and then it was time to remove clothing. Shockingly, while getting changed, my nerves were almost non-existent. Ashlee and Laura have a way of making you feel incredibly comfortable. There are 3 components to participation. First, Ashlee interviews you, asking about your pregnancy and your delivery and whether or not you chose to breastfeed or not. Second, you have a head shot taken and third, the most fun, your baby/babies join you for a photo. Ashlee and Laura work this process like a well-oiled machine, while continuing to make you feel confident and beautiful. I left that day feeling something completely foreign to me. I felt beautiful, for the first time in god only knows how long, I felt proud and I felt valued and celebrated. I can truthfully say that since I took part in this project, I have not once had a negative thought about my body and I hope I never do again!
I want to thank Ashlee and Laura for doing what they are doing. I hope they realize the impact they are having on these women’s lives. For me, it was life changing and I will never be able to thank them enough. I am so grateful.
I haven’t told many people that I participated in this project, for fear of judgment but I guess this is my way of letting that go because now you know!