Celebrating Motherhood: Emmeline
In this series, we hope to offer insight and support for mothers going through bodily changes during pregnancy and postpartum. We want to highlight the incredible ways our bodies can adapt and transform while preparing to become moms. This week we want to spotlight Emmeline, a photographer and creator focused on self-love and body neutrality. Emmeline empowers women through her work by photographing pregnancy, motherhood, boudoir and so much more.
My Journey into Motherhood
I have always wanted to be a mother but didn’t want to birth my own child for various reasons, some of which were linked to how I felt about my body. A huge part of why is because I didn’t want to let go of finally being able to accept that my body was my home. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I made the powerful choice to share my body and bring my child into this world.
Postpartum life is full of challenges, including:
- Parenthood itself
- Postpartum hormones
- Shifts in Identity
- Body Changes
- Outside voices and unsolicited advice
- All while recovering from giving birth
I may not ideally fit the “societal standard of beauty.” I have dark skin, eyes, hair, and a short frame, but nonetheless, I’m proud to say that I love my body. It took me years to get to the point where I can say that proudly.
I am beautiful.
I am beautiful.
I am beautiful.
I may not love everything about my body, but it is mine, and I love it.
Pregnancy and Body Neutrality
Pregnancy threw me into a whirlwind. My body was changing drastically. Every week there was a new symptom to look up or a new mark I couldn’t recognize. Google became my best friend and my worst enemy for months.
Here are some examples of my search history:
- Arm cramping suddenly
- Daily headaches
- Pregnancy spots
- Constant fatigue
- and so much more!
The symptoms seemed endless. My body was not only uncomfortable, but I also didn’t recognize myself.
I knew that I wouldn’t have the same body after birth, so as a photographer, I gifted myself self-portraits. These are a joy to remember and tell a story of resilience, love, and strength.
I knew that every inch of my body would mold for what my child needed. That my breasts would fill to accommodate, then change again.
That my hips would grow wider.
My stomach would stretch.
My arms and legs would grow strong to carry my child.
Don’t even get me started on breastfeeding! You can read all about how hard breastfeeding is over here.
Even though I knew all this, it was still hard to welcome this new body.
When my child arrived, many of my grievances about my body shifted. I no longer had the room to think of what my body looked like. Instead, I focused on how it felt.
I gave myself rest when I needed to. I fueled myself with nutritious food so I can feed my child. I used the warmth of my skin against theirs to give them comfort.
My body became a safe place for not only myself, but for my child as well.
No number of books, podcasts, videos or advice can prepare you for the challenges of motherhood. But with time, I was able to get through all those hardships because in between there was so much joy and love in the little things.
My child is now just over 2 years old and they’ve brought so much joy to my life.
I knew that every inch of my body would mold for my child and it did in more ways than I imagined. My breasts grew and fell and although I didn’t breastfeed well, they provided comfort.
My stomach stretched and fell and no longer sit up but it was my child’s first home.
My hips, arms and legs grew but they also grew stronger to provide support to carry my child.
Conclusion and Mother’s Day as a Celebration of Self-Kindness
I hope that this Mother’s Day, you give yourself kindness. Kindness to our post-birth bodies, but also kindness towards yourself if you’re struggling with your self-love journey. Body neutrality, after all, is about learning to accept our body in every stage.
Find out more about Emmeline on her Instagram