We can't get enough of Mikaela Shannon's photography. Recently, she's been photographing new mothers in a series she's calling "Love Your Postpartum" — and the raw, honest images of moms are stunners.
Shannon explained her work better than we can:
“All of my work revolves around loving yourself and feeling beautiful,” she said. “Having a baby is a big step in life that comes with a lot of changes. I want moms to never have to feel like their body isn’t beautiful as it once was. I want moms to embrace the changes their bodies went through to bring their babes into the world.”
Shannon is not yet a mom herself (we would have gotten that one wrong on a quiz), so we're especially impressed by her ability to recognize and capture the unconventional beauty in motherhood — unfiltered. Her images are full of loose bellies and heavy boobs and stretch marks and cellulite. Sure, they're private badges of honor to many moms, but they're not images we see every day in the media. Hell, we can't remember when postpartum bodies have ever had this kind of loving focus trained on them — and we're guilty of forgetting to love our own postpartum mom bods too.
Shannon says her work focuses on self-love, and we're already feeling kinder and gentler about our bodies, having seen her photos. That's pretty powerful work, if you ask us.
She got the idea when a few moms she knew mentioned they wanted to capture images celebrating the transformations in their postpartum bodies. Shannon posted a message in a local mothers' group seeking out participants — and it went viral. Now she has a Facebook group, where local moms (sorry, U.S., she's based in Canada) can book sessions with her. (You lucky Canadians. You already have Justin Trudeau. Stop keeping all the nice things.)
Shannon's own story is a heartbreaker. “I was malnourished,” she said in an interview. “Adopted at age 1, and I only weighed 16 pounds. I stand behind ‘fed is best.’ I truly believe no matter how you feed your child, it doesn’t define you as a mother. Fed is always best and if you are supplying the necessities of life, who is anyone to judge?"
This woman rules, as an artist and as a person.