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If you’re a woman who has given birth, held life within your body, had the satisfaction of becoming a mother, you’ll know that what you see in the mirror is not what you saw before the pregnancies. Your body changes. It has battle scars. It has marks. It’s stretchy and loose and saggy. And it’s a badge to be proud of.
Victoria Beckham has said she’s proud of her post pregnancy marks. A slew of celebrities have talked about their stretch marks and showed them quite unselfconsciously. Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears are just a few of them. Back home, Aishwarya Rai took her time to lose her baby weight and hasn’t talked about stretch marks as far as I know. But then, the media talked a lot about her and in singularly unflattering terms. The western media was kinder to her. It’s rare to read a post that is as insightful as Sujata Reddy’s on Zareen Khan.
What inspired me to write this post was the discovery of a fabulous news item about a photographer, Jade Beall who took photos of her own semi nude body after giving birth. She posted them on facebook without touch ups or photoshop. The photo was hugely popular and was shared all over the internet and given many likes. Delighted with this trend and people’s obvious interest for real bodies as opposed to plastic perfection she started taking photos of women’s post partum bodies. You can view the post here. I would love to hear your reactions to these photos. Please do comment and discuss in the comments section.
I for one was stunned by how moved I felt to see those real stomachs, those proud Mamas. They are absolutely marvelous.
Another thing that surprised me was how much I changed in my perception of my own body. I pride myself on being sensible and intelligent. Also on being unaffected by the way popular media portrays women’s bodies in a perfection dictated by men and a competitive, cruel world. But I know I am also a little vain. I like to look good. What it means to ‘look good ‘is now decided by those who photo shop and by the underage, underfed teen models whom they promote and mould into stick like thinness and who have taken over the ideal of beauty. The fact is – there are many ideals of beauty but women’s body image has taken a nosedive thanks to advertising, Hollywood, Bollywood and, and, and…
After looking at these images by Jade Beall I felt so much more accepting of my own body and how it has changed to accomodate my babies.
I’d like to add that I didn’t let myself go and stop doing yoga or eating sensibly because I do that to maintain good health and an ideal weight. But I did cast a kinder eye over my self. I felt proud to be part of the tribe of mothers world over.
What about you?
Pic credit: Jade Beall Photography
A freelance journalist and teacher, Kalpana is a feminist, an animal rights activist, passionate about
I think Tamil films are the only ones that appreciate a woman as is – of course, today we have skinny heroines, but we still do have our share of normal sized and shaped heroines who are doing well.
Haven’t seen any Tamil films Gouthami 🙂
I think there’s no such thing as ‘normal’. Women have different body shapes and a young woman who hasn’t had children is usually thinner than one who has. But it varies doesn’t it. It’s important for women to accept their bodies as they are and be happy with them.
Great to be breastfeeding Chaitanya! I found I lost all my baby weight through breast feeding and caring for the baby. I’m sure you will too. I didn’t diet because I knew I needed all the nutrition I could get to keep those hungry babies satisfied. Being active is good. I’m glad you feel good about your baby belly now. It’s a badge of honour.
I have got a 7months old baby and i am still breastfeeding her.Hence i couldnt start on diet to loose my pregnency weight But every now and then when i see my self in the mirror I say myself “as soon as i stop breast feeding i am going to do a diet to loose the weight” . After reading this article…I am really proud of what i am now.Yes to gain gud health i could start doing it once i stop breast feeding.;)
Well, I think it depends on how mature and accepting we are of the changes we go through. Vanity aside, it’s a mom’s openness to the new role and willingness to be able to physically change with it decides a lot. Once you hit closer to 40s it’s more about fitness and how well you are able to do things, looking good comes along anyway, but looking groomed and smart is more important then.
am there, I know 🙂
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Yes Rads – it is all about maturity and whoever said you couldn’t be a Mom and still look good? Even in your 40’s and beyond. My Mom is 76 and can fit into her grandchildren’s clothes plus is active as me and quite as proud of her looks. It helps to be accepting of the changes to your body, whether it’s pregnancy stretch marks or menopause, if society and the media stop glorifying the teenage body as the only ideal of beauty. Photos like these help.
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