Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union and extra share uncooked poastpartum images
A new book aims to rewrite the narrative of childbirth with intimate stories and photographs of remarkable mothers.
Motherhood begins when that faint line shows up on a pregnancy test and sets in motion a series of transformative changes, both physical and emotional, ugly and beautiful, raw and relentless. We’re so used to seeing Instagram versions the postpartum experience through rose-tinted glasses, but a powerful new book aims to change that – with the help of famous mothers like Amy Schumer and Gabrielle Union.
“Men are cool and whatever, but women are bloody warriors and capable of anything,” Amy says in Life After Birth: Portraits of Love and the Beauty of Parenthood, alongside a photo of the actress weighing the newborn baby Gene in the hospital . And for parents who feel the weight of this new chapter, Gabrielle Union has words of encouragement. “To everyone who feels alone, scared, insecure, insecure, without hope. . . hold on, “she says. “You are loved and you are not alone.”
The book celebrates the early stages of motherhood through a series of raw, personal photographs and intimate stories from 250 mothers including Christy Turlington, Ricki Lake, and Jillian Harris. It gives an idea of the many ways we experience motherhood, from a woman 42 weeks pregnant to a military mother guiding her family and career. What all these stories have in common is the strength and resilience of these mothers.
With a foreword by model and body positivity icon Ashley Graham, the book is the product of a collaboration between Joanna Griffiths, founder of Canadian Intimates label Knix, and Domino Kirke-Badgley, co-founder of the Brooklyn-based doula collective Carriage House Birth. When she surveyed her customers, Joanna realized how ubiquitous and harmful the culture of eating and exercising can be postpartum parents– Half of the women she spoke to had experience postpartum depression and 76% felt pressured to “sit back” after the baby. This inspired a traveling exhibition called The Life After Birth Project, which first captured these stunning, very real images. The overall message of the exhibition was simple and powerful: “You are perfect like you, you are supported and you are seen.”
Life After Childbirth: Portraits of Love and the Beauty of Parenthood, published by Rizzoli, is available on September 21st. Scroll down to see some of the impressive pictures from the book.
“The healing connectivity of postpartum motherhood should be protected at all costs. When we honor the mother, we honor her children. She is just as new as her child. Protect the mother. ”-Kirstie Perez
“This is a moment, a few hours after I was born, when I had never felt so proud, powerful, and dizzy as the dose of oxytocin and overwhelming love flowed through my veins. I said to my husband, “Take a picture so that I can remember that moment later, that magical feeling of having met another love in my life and feeling strong after I was born according to my requirements and not according to them around me. ”I hated being pregnant, but I thrive after giving birth and I think women are incredible beings who have more strength, resilience, and power than they often think. And yes, I stole this underwear and I still have a pack unopened as a sign of a time that is passing so quickly and that I wished to be bottled. “
“The blessed gift that always passes on. For anyone who feels alone, scared, insecure, insecure, with no hope. . . wait. Wait. You are loved and you are not alone. Been there, wait. Love and light for everyone. “
“My husband took this picture because we had to go home in the middle of the night to pump because I was stuffed. We danced salsa in 100 ° F weather (why I was naked). Every time I look at this photo it feels like an amalgamation of my two selves: the woman who feels sexy with red lips dancing around town and the dedicated mom who has to pit stop to pump. “
“Okay, here are my souvenirs from pregnancy. Women suck. Men are cool and whatever, but women are bloody warriors and capable of anything. I was lucky enough to have a doula. Her name is Domino Kirke-Badgley. What do doulas do? I don’t quite know. But she made me and Chris feel absolutely safe and supported during my pregnancy and the birthing process. “
“Live for these moments. The still journey is real. I definitely didn’t find out, but one thing that saves me is laughter! Every time I get spat on, or spill my haakaa in milk, or have to spend 20 minutes blowing in his face to wake up that sleepy boy, I take a deep breath and let him roll off my back and giggle because that’s who they are Moments I’ve been waiting for so long. “
“Whether you decide to breastfeed your child or not, whether exclusively or mixed with other feeding methods, whether for a short time, in between or for a long time, please know that breastfeeding is always about you and your child. Nobody else should have a say or force their opinion on you. You are the mother; dive into yourself, follow your intuition. And I encourage you that nobody takes that away from you because it belongs to you. “
“What was expected to be an easy birth turned out to be traumatic for both me and Jones. Even in natural unaided delivery, Jones suffered a subgeleal hematoma, multiple cerebral haemorrhages, and jaundice. I suffered from third degree tears, spent a fair amount of time in a wheelchair, and expected a two month recovery. Then there is the emotional roller coaster. Postpartum was a mix of the happiest moments of my life as well as some of the lowest. The hormones are raging, I cry tears of joy just looking at my son, and the next moment I’m scared of how I can ever go back to work and become a mother. This new role as a mother is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. “
“I took this photo during a hospital visit with a lactation consultant three days after the birth. She told me my breasts were the same size and as hard as “soccer balls” and handed me two ice packs to relieve the swelling. Elsewhere in town, a team member stood in for me in the same minutes as we were honored with one of our biggest industry awards to date. Mentally it was a struggle. I was able to start a company, but I struggled to feed my child. I felt like a failure. The nurse provided me with nipple shields that I didn’t know about, but that saved me that first month. Every picture of breastfeeding I saw looked natural, peaceful, and happy. I shared this photo and my feelings on Instagram and was overwhelmed when over 100 people responded with their own struggles. At that moment the idea for the Life After Birth Project was born. At that moment my eyes were opened. “