In a Mother’s Day exclusive, Jade Beall, creator of A Beautiful Body Project, writes a letter to her pre-mommy body. Cover photo by Jade Beall.
Jade, a Tucson-based photographer, started her own body-positive movement after taking self-portraits of herself after childbirth. She had gained 50 pounds and struggled to lose the weight. She put the photographs of herself on her website and the result was immediate: an influx of inquiries from other mothers asking for their own authentic portraits of their bodies post-birth.
Today Jade, who admits to having struggled with her weight her entire life, says it feels “glorious” to be comfortable in her skin. This month, Jade’s portraits – no airbrushing, no photo-shopping – are published in her book, The Bodies of Mothers. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Jade to write herself a letter to her pre-mommy self. “[The letter] came out quickly and easily,” says Jade. “And after I finished it I felt at peace.”
“My Dearest Body Before Babies, I want to tell you that I wish I could visit you – you, the girl with a flat tummy and rested eyes. I wish I could caress that tummy and those legs and admire those arms, my arms, the arms that you don’t even notice while you imprison yourself to the scale in your bedroom closet.
I want to hold you and tell you how precious you are and ask you to relish yourself because you will never look or feel exactly like this ever again and you should be out celebrating and allowing yourself to feel worthy, just as you are. And instead you sit here comparing yourself to ideas that are not yours, ideas of what you should look like to be worthy of success and greatness.
I also want to tell you that after you give birth to your beyond precious boy, forget about your hollow tummy and your wide hips and let the dog hair pile up on the concrete floor. Lay in bed with your little baby and when he sleeps take a bath and marvel at your incredibleness.
You are the biggest you have ever been, yes, it is true in so many regards: your heart has grown, your love has grown, your belief in magic has grown, your body has grown. Take all that space you deserve and dance in it. Don’t stare at yourself in the mirror with a frown, but instead check yourself out as if you were the most gorgeous being you have ever seen. Flirt with yourself. Praise yourself. And then go snuggle with that perfect baby before he turns two and pushes you away.
Oh sweet post-birth body, I want to tell you how sweet it is allowing our self to take all the space we need! I have to say it’s quite liberating no longer owning a scale to hide in my closet and comparing myself to my sisters. Now I love my sisters, all of them, and see myself in them.
It’s glorious feeling worthy and comfortable in my skin right now, not tomorrow, but in this very second. I look forward for you to discover just how beautiful this world is, when we love ourselves completely and when we feel beautiful as a collective.
And how wonderful it is to know that when I am 50, I will not have to write this letter to my 34-year-old younger self because I will know then that I was loving me that way I deserve to be loved right then.”