Hallie Cohen (26), 33 weeks pregnant at time of photograph, Naomi Belle joined their family on 8/14/18 (on her due date!), and Micah (2)
Hallie shares -
“All I ever wanted to be was a mom. Sure I had other goals but to be a mother, to create life, a home, a family - this is my ultimate. I have never felt beautiful. I was sure that in motherhood I would. I was definitely mistaken. My mom struggled and still struggles with her image, but she did her best. My grandmother not only struggled with her own self image but fully projected it onto her children and I can only imagine how many generations the self hatred goes back. I am determined to break this toxic cycle, and show my children how truly beautiful and worthy they are. They need a mother who knows her worth. I am doing the work to love and accept myself; to see my bumps, curves and marks as something to celebrate.
This current pregnancy has been especially challenging. I have gained more weight then I anticipated or wanted to. I have moments where I feel like a radiant, stunning mama warrior, and other moments where I feel huge and gross. It's a constant battle inside my mind but I'm rooting for the mama warrior. I am growing this little persons life inside of my womb and all I want for her is to know she is more then a body, a face. I want to give her all of the love and support that I never had. To illuminate her with the truth that we all have beauty and that we are all connected. Of course I felt these things when pregnant with my oldest but the emotional struggle has been much more intense this time around.
If parenthood has taught me anything though it's that I am strong, my body has sustained life and continues to nourish, love and replenish long after the 4th trimester. I am strong enough to fight this battle and win, for myself, and for my people.
My postpartum was insane, messy, chaotic and wonderful. I was full of new mom anxiety that just turned out to be regular anxiety and rage. I was overwhelmed by the newness of everything and the constant changes and adjustments. But I was also astounded by the fierce love I felt. I struggled with things I thought were normal and small but the reality was they were big and debilitating. I wasn’t diagnosed with postpartum anxiety until I stopped nursing and weaned my son around 18 months.
Besides just becoming parents our family went through so many changes and transformations in those first eighteen to twenty four months of Micahs life. we've come out the other side and it was all for the better but it was a fight, it was hard. Postpartum is not at all what I expected it to be. The rollercoaster of hormones and sleep deprivation is unimaginable and as a new mom I totally wasn't prepared. I'm not sure who is. With baby number two on the way my expectations of postpartum are much more realistic and clearer. Im so excited to be coming at it from a completely different perspective. To be able to set myself up with support and to be empowered by the intuitive wisdom I already have as a mother. I want to do it all over again, and do it differently with more ease, grace and compassion towards myself.
If I have discovered anything in the past two years it’s that there are so many truths, and they are all true. we just have to choose which ones we want to align ourselves with. there isn't one way. This parenthood gig comes with a billion opinions on how it should be done. I have been doing what feels right and good. The biggest thing is not to be afraid to change your mind about what you thought before. To expand and transition as needed. Flexibility and patience are key. Motherhood has taught me these lessons but I'm pretty sure they apply to life with or without children.
Doing this project, participating in this movement is one of the scariest things I've ever done. Im putting my body, my story out there in the world to be seen raw and unfiltered. I chose to do this for myself and my own growth. I hope my story can inspire others as all the people who have done this project before have inspired me. This is such a special season of my life I want the energy of it all captured in time.”