ashlee wells jackson -- 4th trimester bodies projectWe all know that our society, particular the tabloid media, have a sick obsession with scrutinizing women’s bodies after they have given birth. But the fact is that females will look all sorts of ways in their post-baby days, and criticizing this is as pointless as — well, critiquing female bodies, or any human bodies, for their natural appearances whatsoever. Enter the 4th Trimester Bodies Project by photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson.

Given the insane pressure put on “losing the baby weight,” whether that message is on the cover of every celebrity magazine, all over motherhood message boards or even via the cruel comments of people who may not understand just how insanely difficult it is to actually exercise, cook fresh meals and take care of a newborn (and go to work, oftentimes), it’s no wonder that many women feel ashamed of their bodies. In my opinion, this is why the 4th Trimester Bodies Project is such a welcome idea, wherein Jackson takes photos of moms’ bodies in all their real life glory.

The project is “dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes,” showcasing the way many women’s figures actually look after pregnancy. It’s clear right away that this is a hugely significant project to Jackson — an observation reaffirmed by her comment to the Huffington Post:

“[T]his project has been something that has felt a necessity in my mind for years now. After coming out the other side of a very traumatic pregnancy and birth experience myself and struggling with the strangeness of my new body, I felt like it was finally time to make this project a reality.”

Jackson is the mother of three children, including a 7-year-old and 2 twin daughters, 10 months old, one of whom died. Now, she is inclusive of all kinds of moms: adoptive, grandmothers, surrogates. She is truly an advocate for motherhood.

“As much as I love capturing the stories that are triumphant because they’ve defied some odds or struggle, I also find such beauty in the women who have had normal, healthy, happy pregnancies and birth experiences.”

If you get a chance, you should totally contribute to her project (or even message her about getting photographed!).

[NOTE: Please go to the 4th Trimester Bodies Project website to contact the photographer. Don’t email me about it, as I unfortunately cannot help you! I think there’s been a bit of confusion regarding this.]

Check it out:

Photo: Ashlee Wells Jackson’s Facebook.