The realities of postpartum life have been explored in a powerful new photo series, Postpartum Unfiltered, featuring real women from across the world.
Period pants brand Modibodi teamed up with Getty Images to bring the series together, and "provide a richer perspective on this intense and exhilarating new stage of life."
Speaking about the project, Modibodi founder and mum of four, Kristy Chong explained how "postpartum life isn’t portrayed widely in media and advertising – at least not authentically in all its highs and lows, exhaustion, isolation, anxiety, hope and joy."
She added, "it’s no wonder then that many women are unprepared for the physical and emotional changes that accompany the postpartum period and beyond."
Over the years, we've seen photos of new celebrity mums on the covers of newspapers, branded with headlines asking when they'll 'lose the baby weight,' or on the flip side, praised for 'bouncing back' to their pre-baby body.
It comes as no surprise then that a survey by Bounty (who support new mums and work alongside the NHS maternity department) revealed thatalmost half of expectant mums were worried about putting too much weight on during pregnancy. 54% also said they think it's not possible to get their pre-baby body back, while 40% of mums said seeing celebrities 'bounce back' made them feel pressure to lose weight.
But it's not just about baby weight. Many women also feel an overwhelming pressure to be the 'perfect parent' so soon after giving birth. Faced with images of smiling babies and happy mums who can seemingly do-it-all on social media, a lot of new mums struggle with the nuanced range of emotions that make up postpartum life.
In a report on 'Instamums,' the Evening Standard revealed over 80% of new mums said social media "added pressure to be the perfect mum," while 60% of those surveyed admitted to editing their own social media to present a more positive picture of their lives.
"Among the intense feelings of happiness and limitless love was a sense that I had to keep the challenging parts like loneliness, cracked nipples, postpartum bleeding, exhaustion and bladder leaks a secret," explained Kristy.
It's this attitude to postpartum life that Modibodi aims to challenge with their new photo series. "Driving social change for postpartum mums is a challenge, but is incredibly important. Breastfeeding and postpartum bodies are natural, normal and also beautiful. Why should this amazing time in a mum’s life be hidden or shrouded in stigmas?" says Kristy.
"We want women to feel prepared, seen, understood and proud of their postpartum journey – whatever it looks like – by showing unfiltered images which acknowledge the tough times and the triumphs of this significant stage of motherhood," she added.
Thankfully, celebrities including Laura Whitmore, Katy Perry and Ashley Graham are also paving the way when it comes to changing the postpartum narrative on social media. And now, in tandem with their photo series, Modibodi invites parents from around the world to share their own real-life postpartum experience on socials with the hashtag #PostpartumUnfiltered.
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