I’ve given birth now three times. The most recent of which taking place just two weeks ago. During these times I have documented my pregnancies and the newborn period with professional photography but never the post pardom period. I’ve also never done a breastfeeding picture even though I’ve nursed a combined total of 39 months and counting.
When I saw the Fourth Trimester Project I was so inspired by the women baring their very real post pardom bodies. Bodies that were changed irrevocably by the experience of child bearing and birth. Not the airbrushed, personal trained, perfect six week post pardom physiques of celebrities which are way too prevalent in our society through our media.
Bodies which set an unrealistic example of what the aftermath of birthing a child is actually like. Bodies which tell us to have unrealistic expectations for the future of our own bodies and leave us to feel poorly about ourselves and our newborn bodies.
We live in a society that celebrates the pregnant woman and the newborn baby and then expects the post pardom woman to hide away, to get back into shape and to get back to work in six weeks or less. We live in a society that doesn’t acknowledge the post pardom time period as an important one. Post pardom depression wasn’t even a discussion until recently when Brooke Shields went public with her own struggles.
So when a good friend of mine offered to come take newborn pictures of baby Maddox, I asked her if she would also be willing to do fourth trimester pictures of me. What I am about to share is the result. My very real body just five days after a very difficult birth with my third child.
Peeling The Onion
I describe this series of images as peeling an onion. Here I’m wearing the abdominal binder which helps so much after birth to hold everything together and relieve some pain.
Here you see the lovely mesh underwear they give you at the hospital after birth. The pad along the incision line is to wick away any moisture after a shower since my stitches are dissolving and also to keep anything from tugging at the steri strips which run along the incision.
Unpeeled. Five days post pardom.
Side view. Either from the epidural or the pitocin, I developed a skin reaction that looked like I had bug bites all over my body. The nurses first noticed it in recovery on my left side and quickly realized it had spread.
You can see some damage to the skin from the peeling off of the medical tape which initially covered the entirety of the incision immediately following the surgery.
Me and my new baby. This is what my fourth trimester looks like. This is real. This is beautiful. This is love. and This should be celebrated.
If you happen to be in the Jersey City/Hoboken/Bayonne area, the Jersey Shore, or the Quabbin, Worcester, Leominster, and Fitchburg areas of Massachusetts. You can hire Kasandra from The Portrait Garden Photography and Dragons and Peanuts to do your one of a kind newborn, children’s and family portraits. She will also do location shoots and is willing to travel beyond those areas for an additional fee.