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Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum body

We teamed up with Ashlee Wells Jackson of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project to feature moms who are embracing the changes in their post-baby bodies.

By Cara Smusiak

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum body

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum body

Ashlee Wells Jackson

"I had developed this ability to ignore my body from my breasts to my knees, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks: I was buying into the media standards of what bodies should look like—what makes you whole and what makes you worthy. And that's the day I said, 'I'm going to change this.'" —Ashlee Wells Jackson, founder of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project and mom of Xavier, Nova and Aurora

Read Ashlee's Q&A: Postpartum body: Ashlee Wells Jackson found beauty in grief>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Raechele Lovell

"I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I did growing up. I had a lot of body issues—being a performer and a dancer, I was always criticizing my body or looking at it as an object. Using it to produce life kind of gave it greater meaning and made me stop nitpicking." —Raechele Lovell, mom of Emett

Read Raechele's Q&A: Postpartum body: I always criticized my body, but not anymore>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Brie Jepson

"Having had a girl makes me much more aware of how accepting I need to be of who I am and the body that I have so that it doesn’t influence her when she grows up. My mom has always been cautious about how much she weighs and how she looks, and that fell on me. I don’t want her to grow up the same way, focused on the number on the scale." —Brie Jepson, mom of Olivia

Read Brie's Q&A: Postpartum body: I want to be body-positive for my daughter>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Jessica Birak

"I do have days where I feel really insecure. I grew up in a really broken home, and there are some days where I feel like I’m not worthy. I’m working on that and going to counselling to work through the childhood trauma. But I feel confident and thankful for my body—that I could nurse and be pregnant. I can’t bring myself to shame my body when I look at my kids." —Jessica Birak, mom of Noah and Declan

Read Jessica's Q&A: Postpartum body: My beauty and worth aren't defined by how I look>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Kayla Tumangday

"I did have a lot of acne when I was pregnant—all over my body, all over my back—and it scarred. They say your stretch marks are your tiger stripes and you earn those for being a warrior, but I also have these awesome leopard spots on my back, so I feel double fierce." —Kayla Tumangday, mom of Henry

Read Kayla's Q&A: Postpartum body: My scars tell a story>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Samantha Garcia Gagnon

"After I gave birth I got the belly hang. Even though I was always bigger, I’d never had a big belly. All of a sudden, there’s this hang that goes over my underwear. When I started working out again, I lost everywhere else, but still not that hang. So I’m just learning to accept that that hang is OK." —Samantha Garcia Gagnon, mom of Estelle and Joseph

Read Samantha's Q&A: Postpartum body: Learning to be OK with the belly hang>

Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum bodyPhoto: Ashlee Wells Jackson, 4th Trimester Bodies Project

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