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New book shows beauty of women's post-pregnancy bodies


It's not unusual for new moms to struggle with body image issues.

Giving birth can do a number on your tummy, your breasts, your thighs – all those trouble zones that are already a concern for many women before they even get pregnant.

Yet even with stretch marks or scars, one woman is trying to show that post-pregnancy bodies are still beautiful. In her new photography book, Jade Beall shows intimate portraits of women who have just given birth – imperfections and all – and shares the stories of their journeys from self-loathing to self-acceptance.

Unworthy of beautiful?

The inspiration behind the book, "A Beautiful Body," is the challenge to see beauty where others might see flaws, Beall explained to the Huffington Post.

"We are facing an epidemic of women who feel unworthy of being called beautiful," she said.

Beall started the project after semi-nude photos of herself postpartum – posted on her photography studio's Facebook page – went viral. Hundreds of mothers wrote to her, expressing their support and asking Beall to take pictures of them "just as they were."

"A Beautiful Body" portrays some of these women, including written stories about their struggles with self-doubt and body image.

Beall has done all of the photoshoots for free.

"Shaming mothers for not 'bouncing back' after childbirth can cause feelings of failure when being a mother is challenging enough and when a big number of us have already lived a life of feeling un-beautiful prior to giving birth," she said.

Changing expectations

Beall recalls how she struggled with poor body image as a teenager, and how putting on 50 pounds during pregnancy exacerbated her "personal history of oppressive self-loathing." She hopes to help change the unrealistic expectations put on women to look perfect – especially after having children.

Ultimately, Beall wants to do follow-up projects of a similar nature, exploring themes like eating disorders, aging and cancer.

"My dream is to be a part of a movement of being kind to ourselves and to others and witness a generation of young people that no longer waste years of precious life on self-loathing like I have because they think they are un-beautiful," she concluded.

"A Beautiful Body" will be published in January.

Source: Huffington Post

Image via Jade Beall/Huffington Post