#HeyBeautiful: Celebrating the beauty of the post-baby body

Editor-in-Chief Sasha Emmons shares the story behind our groundbreaking May cover.

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Did you notice our cover’s a little different than usual? For our Mother’s Day issue, we wanted to capture and celebrate the beauty of moms as they really are.

We’re surrounded by stories and images of celebrities who drop the baby weight in a matter of weeks, or seem to retain perky boobs and flat tummies with nary a stretch mark or spider vein. While we’re not knocking the genetically blessed, these pictures can make you feel that if you emerged from pregnancy and childbirth with a different body, you’ve somehow done it wrong. That’s why it’s important to put other images out there—ones that capture the gorgeously imperfect reality of bellies that stretched to grow a person, or a frame that settled into a new normal after delivery.

So we partnered with the groundbreaking 4th Trimester Bodies Project, which is “dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding,” when founder and photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson came to Canada to photograph moms in Toronto and Vancouver.

Photo: Robert Caruso
Photo: Robert Caruso

I don’t always succeed, but I try to look at my own dings and dents as a legend to the greatest adventure of my life. The C-section scar at my bikini line (and the immutable band of scar tissue above it) signifies the thrilling day I became someone’s mom.

The much exercised—but still not flat—belly peppered by a series of small hysterectomy scars is a reminder of my complicated but ultimately lucky final pregnancy.

While I’d love to have the pre-nursing breasts of my 20s back, I look at my strapping son, just four pounds when I brought him home from the hospital, and think, Nice work, ladies.

I’m not really sure which child I have to thank for the hernia just above my belly button, but if it was earned in the service of growing either of these two little people, bring it on. With the societal pressure to somehow have children without looking like you did, it’s hard to view ourselves as kindly as we should. But when I look at these stunning photos it inspires me to try.

Look at our cover mom, Samantha, lit up with love for her kids. She’s radiant. You are, too, and don’t you forget it.

Six amazing women discuss their post-baby bodies—read their stories and see the beautiful pictures in our May issue. Download it now:
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A version of this article appeared in our May 2015 issue with the headline “Postpartum proud,” p.4.

Read more:
Body beautiful: Celebrating the postpartum body>
A love letter to my postpartum body>

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