Erin Chapman-Smith (30) and Oliver (7 months)
Photographed in Seattle, Washington
Erin shares -
"I think that being a trans parent comes with unique challenges. For me, as a trans woman, my body image is most impacted in my fears of not being feminine enough or not being enough of a "mom". I want my child to grow up knowing that his family is normal and that it is always okay to be exactly who you are.
I induced lactation before my son was born and was very set on breast feeding, I ended up having to pump because he didn't really like latching to me but I was still very glad I was able to breast feed a few times and pump after that. It really contributed to me having a positive image of myself as a mom.
Despite that, sometimes it is hard for me to be okay with my own appearance and to feel comfortable in my own skin. I also had a severe eating disorder and am now in recovery. Since having a baby I have had to learn new ways to manage these feelings of being a mom and how that relates to my body image. Sitting with the duality of wanting my son to always be comfortable with himself and having a challenge with that for myself is often is hard. I find myself going out of my way to make sure I am perceived as a female so that Oliver (my son) doesn't have to grow up defending or answering questions about his family dynamics.
My truth is trust your experience. If I could pass on one piece of knowledge to myself it would be to stand up for what you believe in. It is important for my family to feel respected and not be "othered", so stand up and hold people accountable for inappropriate comments and questions...even if they are coming from extended family members.
My wife showed me the project and I fell in love with it. I think it is an amazing opportunity to support for the community and possibly impacts someones life for the better."