Health and Wellbeing, Photography

The stories of our post-baby flesh.

May 3, 2014

I recently received a Facebook ad in my newsfeed for a brilliant new procedure being offered to mums. It was enticingly titled ‘Australia’s First Mummy Makeover Package.’

The makeover consisted of a little tummy tuck for the excess skin where your flesh stretched to accommodate your growing child, some liposuction across your hips where they thickened to help balance your load and post operative pilates to help improve your core.

The accompanying photograph was a flat belly with the tell-tale dashes drawn on to highlight problem areas begging to be cut back into shape.

I’m not anti-surgery. Far from it.

If you truly feel that nipping and/or tucking, lifting, plumping, smoothing or reducing will help you feel better about yourself, help elevate your sexuality, and increase your self-confidence, then go for it with great gusto.

What I am anti, however, is the suggestion that after we grow a human being inside of us for nine months until our skin is positively bursting, stretching and tearing from the inside with that creature of our loins, that the excess stomach skin, added fat and thickened hips are so undesirable that we should cut it out of our very bodies.

It’s insanity.

I feel like the world has gone mad for suggesting such a thing.

We are not meant to look youthful and nubile forever.

Our bodies tell the stories of our lives and we should hold our heads high and own the tales our skin can tell.

Each scar carries a paragraph, each purple or silvery mark like a tiger’s stripes show our journey from child to woman to mother, and we gracefully, graciously head towards the final twilight of our bodies as they eventually fade like flowers.

I was angered by this ad in my feed, and I was disgusted by the use of an image that was obviously ‘aesthetically pleasing‘.

I was moved to create something that highlighted the beauty that is the body that has created another being.

The post-baby body.

Whether your child is 2 weeks, or 20, your body tells the story.

Feeling good about yourself is so important. Feeling strong and healthy in your body and mind is all interconnected, and feeling less desirable after having children is something so many women feel. Less beautiful than the old pre-baby you.

I just want to say ‘Bullshit.’

Confidence is beautiful. Bravery is gorgeous. An ability to laugh at yourself is to die for.

You must remember you made a person.

You are an alchemist.

You are magnificent.


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post baby body

post baby body

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post baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodyholsbys post baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodypost baby bodypost baby bodypost baby bodypost baby bodyHolsbys post baby bodypost baby bodypost baby body

 A humungous thank you to the beautiful ladies who participated in this post. Your bravery and honesty was both humbling and empowering.

If you like what you’re seeing, why not like my Facebook page now as I have a whole shebangalang going on there.

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  • Reply myipadography May 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Beautiful concept, I love it

  • Reply gossipgirlnetherlands May 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Love your blog! Do you want to follow me back on . THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! I will give you a shoutout if you follow me!:) And maybe we can promote our blogs on eachothers blog
    XOXO Gossip girl

  • Reply Melissa May 3, 2014 at 8:30 am

    So beautiful, so powerful. I am in awe of how freaking amazing the whole “growing a baby” thing is, and I totally respect my body for having done it twice… But nearly five years after my first baby, I still can’t quite find my body to be beautiful anymore, and that makes me so sad.
    These pictures and the words written on the ladies are simply beautiful and honest. And I have book marked this post to serve as inspiration for those days when I can even bear to see my reflection.
    Thank you so much for posting, and a big BIG thank you to the wonderful ladies who love themselves enough to show us that post-baby bodies (no matter how long ago!) are beautiful, and tell the TRUE love story of a mother and her child(ren)

  • Reply Sam Stone @ A Life on Venus May 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Dan, this is truly amazing! You have captured everyone so beautiful. I have tears looking at this.

  • Reply Zanni Louise May 3, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Beautiful hun. So amazing. There is so much art and beauty here. I love my post-baby body. It’s not perfect, but I am proud of it and grateful for it xx

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel May 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Ugh, I’m a crying mess. It is incredibly moving to see the beauty and bravery of these women – and the vision you had to being them to us. Amazing – all of you. xxx

  • Reply Carolyn Colley May 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Danielle, many of your blogs have made me cry for various reasons. This one because it was powerful and beautiful, and yet more evidence of your beautiful soul. Trust yourself as these women have trusted you. Always your very proud and still tearful Mama.

  • Reply Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions May 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This is fantastic Danielle, just awesome! I love it!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks Kylie. I’m very chuffed with this piece, but I couldn’t have done it without the brave, nudie ladies!

  • Reply cookie1986 May 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    This was amazing. it’s hard to look in the mirror at my battle scars. It’s hard to love my body where the extra skin lives and everything is squishy. But this.
    This reminded me what my body did not once, but twice in two years, and what I now have. Thank you.

  • Reply Have A Laugh On Me May 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Oh this is just magnificent, what a great service you have done for so many mums out there! My post baby body isn’t much different, well apart from udders, but thankfully I’m no longer obsessed with it – well, not always. These women rock my world, xx

  • Reply Grace May 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Fark, you’re AWESOME! Can we like, run away together and elope? Pretty please? x

  • Reply Maxine May 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Dan. I loved this so much, yesterday I was talking to a friend about life and how great it is, except for my expanding bits getting me down, seeing your pictures and reading you article has made me realise how beautiful we all are, those women looked gorgeous and u inspire me with your words.. Dan your brilliant x x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      You are so gorgeous, Max. Always was, always will be. Be kind to yourself. xxx
      PS I try to inspire the kindness to myself with this post too. I ain’t impervious!

  • Reply San May 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    STANDING OVATION BABE!!! I agree with Melissa, so powerful and beautiful, great stuff, really good. Your Mama’s message made me cry. I’ve never had the incredible privilige of being pregnant, creating a life outside of yourself. The entire concept just blows my mind and I APPLAUD all women who are blessed with the courage and the strength it takes to not only give birth, but to watch your heart run around outside your body after bub is born…. and forever after that (best description of motherhood I’ve ever heard!) As for learning to love your bod CRIKEE, I carry a coupla’ extra pounds :o) , a lil’ cuddly (ya’ know ) but I try SO hard for that not to define who I am. Hell, if I’d procreated I’d be pretty blown away with myself/ourselves!!! Having said that, I have a tattoo of a tortise on my inner thigh sort of (don’t ask.) I haven’t seen it for 7 years and I don’t give a shit. Give me the gift of love, every time. GO SISTERS!!!
    PS, back off Grace :o)

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      My Mama’s message made me cry too! Thanks for the love, San. You never fail to bring a smile and a warm fuzz.

  • Reply Tahnee May 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Danielle, my goodness, this is too much! BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL! I’m applauding you in my kitchen. The sentiments scribbled on these women were just perfect. SO so good xx

  • Reply Kaz n Ang (@MeltingMoments_) May 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Just beautiful. As a mum goig through some post baby body issues, I really needed to read this. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply San May 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Awwww shux, thanx hunny, I am feeling warm and fuzzy tonight, must be the red…. yummy :o)

  • Reply LexyAtSunnyside May 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Love this. I have chronic, recurring varicose veins and carry all my weight in my legs, I have ALWAYS hated my legs. Last week I (naughtily) made a comment about my bad legs in front of Miss 4. “I love your legs, Mumma” she said, “they have rainbows on them”

  • Reply Kelly Exeter (@kellyexeter) May 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    This is beautiful I’ve seen it shared in my FB feed a few times and I’ve finally made it here. My favourite pic? The one with the closeup of the stretch marks. For me nothing defines the remarkable way our bodies expand to grow our babies … and then contract back afterwards.

    And the sentiment that a healthy body is a sacred thing is not lost on me either.

    Gorgeous xx

  • Reply Rory May 4, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Very artistic and strong message. Enjoyed this post.

  • Reply Toni @ Finding Myself Young May 4, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I go through phases of loving my post baby body and loathing it. I think I really needed to see this at this point in time because I was started to get a bit down again. I especially love the one about wanting her daughter to love her body, it made me realise how important it is that I don’t ever speak negatively of my body in front of her.

  • Reply meromusings May 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Such a beautiful post 🙂

  • Reply Renee Wilson May 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Aww bless. I just read the comment from your mum. Just gorgeous. This is a fantastic post. The effort you have gone to to voice your opinion is impressive. It’s artistic and beautiful and I love it. My favourite is the one which says I need my girls to love themselves. I am very conscious of how I talk about my body in front of my girls for this reason.

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups May 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    “He was knitted together in my womb” soooo incredibly powerful and beautiful. Love this post hun. Power to us Mothers and our imperfect bodies xx

  • Reply Megan Blandford May 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Wow. This is so powerful and beautiful. Crying a bit here!

  • Reply Deb - An Inspirational Journey May 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, wow, WOW! What a powerful message, love it!

  • Reply yinyangmother May 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Gorgeous photos and women – congratulations to you and thanks to all.

  • Reply Kat Ryan May 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Thank you for this beautiful post. After three kids I certainly don’t look like 18 my husband married and struggle with it daily. This was a great reminder that we are not made to look like that forever. The women in your pictures are beautiful.

  • Reply The One Where I Was On Reality TV - With Some Grace May 6, 2014 at 6:02 am

    […] I mean, geez. She even got me to take my kit off for the interwebz.  But that’s another story. […]

  • Reply Hope (@NannyShecando) May 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Love it! Absolutely brilliant. I’m not yet a mum, but I’m excited at the notion that one day I’ll grow a life inside of me (and that my body can do that)! I mean, woah, that’s big!

  • Reply [email protected] May 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    This is so very awesome! We have used our bodies for the most important thing, I just wish we would be a little kinder to ourselves. Beautiful images of beautiful women. xx

  • Reply Friday Fizz: DRAFT | Champagne CartelChampagne Cartel May 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    […] The stories of our post-baby flesh – the brillant Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys, along with some brave and beautiful women, shares some truths about how we feel about our post-baby bodies. Stunning photography and amazing sentiments. She’s one clever lady, that Holsby. […]

  • Reply ana74x May 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I am so blown away, so awed by every amazing woman pictured here. This is every woman, this is what makes woman and motherhood so sacred. Bravo, this is beautiful. Every stretch mark, every ounce of flesh, beautiful.

  • Reply the beauty of the male body April 15, 2015 at 7:31 am

    […] year I had the pleasure of shooting a number of nearly naked women in my lounge studio for my Post Baby Body project. It was such an honour and a delight to work so closely with bodies, but I had never before had the […]

  • Reply Willie October 19, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Your photos of women and their post-pregnancy bodies made me cry. Thanks so much. I’ll keep trying to love myself better than I was loved by those that left me and my body behind.

    • Reply Danielle November 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      You must, Willie. You must. How anyone else treats you must pale in comparison to how you treat yourself. Don’t let them taint your feelings about yourself, sister x

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