Giving a new definition of “Baby Fat”

How many times have you seen in popular magazines, television, and media, countless celebrities claiming to have “gotten their body back” after having a baby? This idea of being the “perfect mother” sets unattainable expectations for everyday mothers- shifting priorities of being pleasing towards society and your significant other rather than soft and nurturing to your newborn child.

After problems with recovering from her own pregnancy, photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson created the “Fourth Trimester Project”– a series of photographs that show the true beauty of mothers after their pregnancies. The plump, skinny, wrinkled and smooth mothers of all nationalities and origins embrace their body’s changes which are suited best for their families, not for society.

“We live in a society obsessed with perfection. The goal of this project is to shift that focus to the beauty of who we really are.” – Ashlee Wells Jackson

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XMAAmRKZrc[/youtube]

8 thoughts on “Giving a new definition of “Baby Fat”

  1. Love this idea and video discussed. It seems like many women today are so focused how their bodies look after their baby, strictly because what our society pressures them to look like. The idea of 4th trimester is a wonderful title for this project. It really showcases that there should not be any rush or really need to feel pressured by our society to be fit right after a baby. Mothers should enjoy their time with their kids and not feel like they are being looked own upon when, they are not in tip top shape as a mother. I am interested in seeing how far this project goes in hopes that is comes to the East coast.

  2. Paige,

    I think this is a very important issue to highlight, seeing as though the focus in society’s eyes should not be to be looking perfect right after a woman’s baby is born, but the health of the mother and baby. While perfection immediately post baby is not a realistic pressure to put on any mom, it is true that a woman’s post baby body is not something that she is necessarily so thrilled about. I think that it should be a topic that isn’t ignored, but healthy ways to lose the weight or other adverse effects of a pregnancy should be promoted! A great article suggesting some of these by Whitney Coy titled “10 Steps to getting your pre-baby body back” focus less of extreme options, and more on a healthy route to recovery. She highlights the importance of things such as waiting the proper amount of time after delivery for physical activity at all in order to give your body a chance to heal and keep you safe.

    • Paige,

      I think this is a very important issue to highlight, seeing as though the focus in society’s eyes should not be to be looking perfect right after a woman’s baby is born, but the health of the mother and baby. While perfection immediately post baby is not a realistic pressure to put on any mom, it is true that a woman’s post baby body is not something that she is necessarily so thrilled about. I think that it should be a topic that isn’t ignored, but healthy ways to lose the weight or other adverse effects of a pregnancy should be promoted! A great article suggesting some of these by Whitney Coy titled “10 Steps to getting your pre-baby body back” focus less of extreme options, and more on a healthy route to recovery. She highlights the importance of things such as waiting the proper amount of time after delivery for physical activity at all in order to give your body a chance to heal and keep you safe.

      Article found here: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/841153/10-steps-to-getting-your-pre-baby-body-back

  3. This post is definitely about a topic for women that causes a lot of pressure and anxiety. It always seems to be a contest to see who can lose the most baby weight the fastest. I know someone who just had a baby and she chose to breastfeed simply because you burn a lot of calories doing it and can lose the baby weight faster than not breastfeeding. It shocked me a little bit that she chose breastfeeding solely on the fact that it burns a significant amount of calories and will help her lose the weight she gained during her pregnancy faster. It’s crazy to me that our society expects new mothers to not just be new mothers, but to also lose weight at the same time. I think that this relates to the “second shift” concept in chapter 9 in the text. It is the idea that for women who are moms they are not just working one job for their career’s, but that being a mother when they are home to their children is their “second job” making their work never ending. So with this second shift idea in mind, it is unrealistic that mothers are expected to find time to lose the baby weight while potentially working a job, adjust to having a baby and take care of that baby. I think the “Fourth Trimester Project” is something really positive for new mothers to look at and realize that it is okay to not be instantly 30 pounds lighter two weeks after having a baby, but that eventually you will lose that baby weight.

  4. My friend just went through this issue after she gave birth to her daughter about 2 weeks ago. Prior to giving birth, there were plenty of people talking about what she’s going to do to prepare for the birth of her daughter, but there were incidentally even more people asking her about how she’s going to get her figure back. She mentioned this to me and told me that she really wanted to focus more on being a first time mother and how to be maternally prepared. She felt pressured by others to immediately begin making time to work out as a priority over her responsibilities as a mother. She also had problems with getting pregnant in the first place and also had problems right after giving birth, so getting her body back was the last thing she had on her to-do list. She does eventually want to try and begin getting back into shape but not until her daughter reaches an age where she doesn’t have to be monitored constantly. When I become a mother, just looking at how my mother’s body reacted to being pregnant, I know that I will most likely gain a good amount of weight but I feel the same way as my friend. That will be the time when I put myself last in my book.

  5. As an individual who is enduring the circumstances of eating disorders, I find this video and post to be refreshing. We are so obsessed with the way we look and getting our bodies back, regardless of the event. You hear it all the time with people who have recently gained weight. I remember thinking to myself all the time, thinking that I wanted my old body back after I gained weight. I wanted the unnaturally thin body I had, because I appreciated it, even though it was slowly killing me.

    What has our society become? We’ve become so engrossed in our weight and body image that it’s spreading to the youth. According to Wood, “by the fourth grade, 40% of girls are dieting.” It all starts with a diet. From my experiences and the people I’ve spoken with, it always starts with a diet and then it could later form into an eating disorder. We need to embrace our bodies and understand we are all The Body Beautiful.

  6. Paige, this blog brings up a needed issue about women and how they want perfection when comes to their body. Ashlee Wells Johnson expressed herself in the video, when having a baby that there is pressure to get that body you had back. She also expressed in the video that, she wasn’t happy with herself after having kids. This is understandable. As women I feel that we all feel like that sometimes. This kind of relates to the concept in Chapter 7 in Gender Lives by Julia T. Wood, called Self-As-Object. This means we evaluate ourselves all the time for example, “Am I pretty”. Are bodies are objects, that we as people evaluate all the time. I like the idea of this project, because I think it will give women the confidence that they are beautiful when having children.

  7. Paige, I loved this blog post and I think it brings up some very good points. We don’t always realize it but we really do “live in a society obsessed with perfection” I think Ashley’s project will be extremely effective and I love how she is standing up to society. In chapter 6 of Gendered Lives Julia T. Woods talks about physical appearance and she says that by “third grade, 50-80% of girls say they want to lose weight.” This is an alarming statistic and shows the impact societies obsession with perfection has had on our lives. We need to not worry so much about what society thinks of us and worry more about living our lives to the fullest.

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