Being pregnant changes us. It changes us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes it is for the better, sometimes as we change, we lose ourselves. Some women find strength and courage in knowing they have been blessed to grow a life within their womb. There is an inner strength that all women find as they carry a child inside them, it is a state of empowerment to know that we are the vessel in which new life is formed and created. This gorgeous mama is due to have twins any day. ~Tawny Campbell
When asked what they love about their post pregnancy body, most women have a very short list. There are a few, however, who proudly say "My stripes." Stripes that come as skin becomes tight from the rapid growth if the child within. Loving the skin we are in, stripes and all, is hard to do. Remembering that those stripes are our badges of honor and our visible reminder of our sacrifice to bring children into this world.
There have been many days that I have cried to my husband on account of not feeling beautiful in my own skin. In the midst of my tears he has always told me, "a truly sexy woman is one who presents confidence." Even though it's hard some days, I truly believe that. Stretch marks and my stretched belly might not be sexy to the world, but it is to my husband and that's all that matters! ~Anonymous
Sometimes it takes a miracle to realize how blessed we are to be mothers. It was 13 years after having her last child that his proud mama found out she was pregnant again. She chose to celebrate this pregnancy in every way possible and to embrace all that it brought into her life. ~Tawny Campbell
Each line, each wrinkle, each love handle tells a story of who we are, what we have done and how we have lived. At 11 days post-pardum this mother is embracing every story with pride.
...After my husband and older children went to bed, I took my newborn baby girl and I went into my studio, stripped off my outer clothes and made myself vulnerable in a way I had never done before. When I was done with the self portraits, I felt empowered and beautiful and confident in who I was and what I looked like...
This is me. I am 3 weeks post pardum and without this saggy, stretched out body, I would not have a gorgeous little girl to hold and love. ~Tawny Campbell
This gorgeous mother of two was brought to tears when her oldest daughter told her how much she loved her squishy belly. The daughter didn't see the flabby skin or stretch marks, she saw a soft place to lay her head and a fluffy, squishy place to hug and kiss. ~Tawny Campbell
I know that I still have some weight to loss and toning to do, but I'd wouldn't trade anything for my kids! Doing these photos just helped me realize how blessed I am to have carried and delivered two beautiful boys! Wow, how blessed am I? ~Anonymous
As our bodies change during the process of becoming a mother, we can either choose to embrace the change or fight against it. When we embrace the change we can find a new, deeper love for ourselves, our bodies and our children. This 6-foot tall mother of a 3 week old baby has found joy in her new body and all the new curves it has created. ~Tawny Campbell
At 4 months old and almost 20 lbs, this big boy makes his mama proud. Her body had to do some major changes to accommodate him, and yet every mark left behind is a testament to the unconditional love a mother has for her child. We would sacrifice everything for our children, including our bodies. ~Tawny Campbell
Pregnancy and delivery doesn't always go as planned. As mothers we often have wonderfully high hopes for the perfect pregnancy, the perfect delivery and the perfect, peaceful, healthy newborn. Sometimes we have complications that change all of that. This mama had an unexpected C-section followed by an additional surgery just a week later. Her daughter is perfect and healthy, but it wasn't the delivery of her dreams and she had to alter her plans a bit when it came to post pardum goals. She came to see me just an hour before the stitches in her abdomen were removed. I love how her shorts said, "Pro Combat" because she went through quite a battle to have her little princess, and even though things didn't go as planned, she had a gorgeous little girl to show at the end of the day, and that right there was worth every stitch.
At 12 weeks pregnant this gorgeous mama she was already showing. The weight came on very fast as did her belly. The stretch marks create a 360 degree circle around her waist and her skin stretched so quickly it lost much of its elasticity and hangs over the waist of most of her pants. "My husband still thinks I'm hot," she proudly told me. ~Tawny Campbell
After wanting children so bad, hearing you are not only going to have one, but two babies, is a dream come true. Now, imagine the doctor telling you that there is a problem, and only a 20% chance that both babies will survive. You have two options, try to beat the odds and see if both babies will survive, or abort one so the other has a 40% chance of survival. The choice is heartwrenching, but this mama chose to beat the odds, and she did. The pregnancy was far from easy, and when the babies were born they had a long fight for survival still ahead of them. Last month, they celebrated their first birthday, something that 18 months ago, would have been almost unimaginable.
The stress, weight gain, surgery and many other issues have made this mama of two miracles, struggle both physically and emotionally, but she, like her daughters is a fighter. She knows her body will never be the same, but when she looks at her gorgeous twin girls and their 3 year old brother, she sees the miracles that they are, and knows that the stretched out body she sports is a vessel that carried out a miracle and defied the doctors and the odds. Just knowing that, makes it easier to accept what is and not reflect on what could have been.
"Honestly the way I see myself in the mirror is not the way I really look! lol I know I am far from skinny but its not bad!" ~Anonymous
If you know me, you'll know that (photos like) this was not something I easily could do. Since high school, I've dealt with eating issues... from not eating, to over eating to taking copious amounts of different drugs to lose weight even at times when I didn't need to lose weight. It stems from having a horrible body image. Fast forward ten years later, I have two little girls that I don't want them to see their mom struggle with acceptance. I want them to not deal with what I did and to love themselves no matter what shape they may take. When Tawny came up with the idea to do the project "AS I AM," I saw this as a chance to have the opportunity for my daughters to finally see me being "okay" with how I looked. I wanted that to rub off on them so that perhaps when they are older they can look back and see maybe that inner beauty we all do have. This was a very difficult thing for me as an introvert but Tawny truly did make me feel comfortable with myself. I've had 3 children in 3.5 years. I have a long way to go but the smile on my face is because this body is a result of those amazing little monsters that have changed my life for the better. ~Anonymous