Embracing Imperfection: A Mother’s Postpartum Stretch Marks as the Most Sacred and Beautiful Marks of Motherhood

Photographer Neely Ker Fox feels embarrassed and disappointed by the stretch marks on her body after giving birth to her second child. She made the photo series “Perfect defects” about stretch marks to honor the sacrifice of the mother.
Photographer Neely Ker Fox from Georgia, Culumbus, said she has long dreamed of bringing together women who have had children to photograph them along with the changes in their bodies after giving birth.
As a mother, Neely admits she felt embarrassed, disappointed and couldn’t imagine it was her when she saw the changes in her body after giving birth to her second child. “My abdomen was split from the pelvis to the sternum, I had umbilical hernia and had to do physical therapy because of back problems. My body is full of stretch marks. I have sciatic nerve pain. All of this came after my first pregnancy,” Neely wrote.
“The stretch marks, the scars that life has created on my body, I will carry them with me until I die. I imagine myself 20 to 30 years later, at that time I was placing my hand on my soft belly. Here, sitting in an empty house and remembering some distant season in life, with old age and wisdom.A bigger picture is spread and the feelings of insecurity now will be gone, except except for the laughter in each breath.
To mark the sacred time of motherhood and help other women as well, Neely asked women to volunteer to take pictures for her project on social media. The response from the community surprised her. Initially, Neely planned to find 16 women, later up to 30 volunteers. All are ready to show the world the changes in their bodies after giving birth.
Neely photographed the first 16 women with their body shapes at the time. The rest take pictures with children, pregnant women and after giving birth. Neely herself also posed with her son and daughter. The women involved in the project also talked about insecurities, motherhood, and emotional change.
Casey wrote, “If there’s one way to make me believe in myself and feel healed, it’s this project. I really want to be a woman who is confident and proud of the body that has protected and nurtured the seeds of life.”
Rachel, a member of the project said: “I walked out of the photo shoot with my head held high and a new confidence that I didn’t know it was in me since childhood. Look through a few photos. In the camera, I find them much more beautiful than I thought.”
“I feel confident as a mother and most importantly my daughter loves me because I am her mother. That love is indescribable. My daughter doesn’t care about anything else and His smile as well as mine in the photo says it all,” the mother shared.
Neely hopes her project will continue to grow and have an impact not only on women whose bodies are deformed after giving birth, but also those who have low self-esteem because of being thin or obese or disabled.
Rachel, mother of twin boys, said: ‘One day they will grow up and these stretch marks will probably disappear. But I will keep these photos to remind myself of the miracle of the two sprouts of life that I have carried. I will share these pictures with other women and tell them that no matter what society says, imperfections are beautiful.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the photographer said: “I want to know how these women feel when they are photographed. I feel like I wouldn’t properly understand the trauma of childbirth if I hadn’t been in their place.”
In addition to the emotions and moments in the process of pregnancy and parenting, in this project Perfect Imperfections, there is also the participation of a girl with a fractured spine named Kendall. Her mother said: “I always pray that when Kendall is old enough to struggle with her body differences, she will look back at these pictures and have the strength to carry on with what God has given her. give. The picture is really great.

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