Why did I do a topless mother daughter photoshoot? When you see your body in an empowering way, the best mommy and me outfits may be no outfit at all.
Why I Wanted Topless Mother Daughter Pictures
My ex-boyfriend straight-up told me he didn’t like my body. And no, this isn’t the reason he is now an EX-boyfriend. If you know anything about me, you know I have a zero-tolerance policy for bullshit. Read any of my other posts, and you’ll understand the importance of being REAL and RAW.
Has anyone ever told you what they really think about you? Has anyone had the guts to tell you–to your face–what they don’t like about you? If not, have you thought to ask? I did.
In search of the truth about my character flaws, I got slammed with the fattest truth bomb of my life: He wasn’t sexually attracted to me. He didn’t say it to be hurtful, only to objectively state his opinion.
In other words, objectifying me.
It wasn’t exactly the truth I was looking for. Did I cry? Bet your ass I did.
I struggled for years with horrible self-esteem. I had flashbacks to high school when I thought I was ugly and undesirable (body distortion is a very real thing). When meeting new people, I’ve been told I’m pretty, beautiful, gorgeous even. Are these things I need to hear to feel pretty? How much value did I put on my physical appearance? How much value did I put on people telling me this? And why did I care so much? Why was I SO distraught?
My appearance had become a part of my identity. And that identity was threatened.
“I’m allowing this,” I told myself.
I define my OWN beauty and sexuality.
Fast forward to mommyhood and acceptance of a new body. When brainstorming family picture ideas, I reached out to talented artist and photographer, Erikka Walor. I knew she would capture motherhood and my postpartum body in an empowering and beautiful way:
Bare-breasted and covered in body paint.
Why? So I could sexualize my body and splatter my photoshopped self all over the internet for external validation? Not quite.
An Unconventional Mommy and Me photoshoot
Erikka invited us in into her studio apartment. My daughter in tow, I was anxious and excited. Her home was simple, yet serene, with minimal furniture and decor. It held protective energy, like the safety of a mother’s caressing arms.
Erikka has something about her. This is a woman who has complete confidence in herself. Her gentle poise yet boldness reverberated through the air.
A single mom as well, she is a true unbreakable mom.
We dove into real conversation. That real, raw, honest conversation (that I’ve written about here). I felt seen by this other woman–truly seen. She saw past my outer appearance. Using my body as a canvas, she brought out my inner beauty. We captured beautiful moments together.
Now it was time to get half naked.
Mommy and Me Pictures I’m Proud Of
When I was in my 20’s, I had luscious and smooth breasts. I had the cutest nipples until motherhood happened. Any mom who has used a breast pump can attest to the atrocious suctioning that occurs when milk is squeezed–nay vacuumed–out.
After my milk dried up from sleep deprivation and depression (read the story here), I lost a significant amount of weight. My once plump boobs now resembled hanging water balloons left out in the sun.
Against Traditional Family Picture Ideas
We are told every single day that men don’t like our bodies or our breasts. Rarely it is said out loud (unless you have the privilege to hear it like I did). We are told this through thousands of images every week. Images that give us unrealistic expectations of beauty. We are bombarded every minute of the day with the message that we shouldn’t like our physical appearance.
Eventually, we start to believe that story. The sudden transition into a postpartum body makes that false narrative even more believable. This is exactly why I wanted to capture it – to show MY story of what my body has done.
My body grew a frikking human. My breasts sustained a life–exclusively– for 6 months. They comforted my restless child. They said f*ck you to everyone who had to “deal with” my breast pumping. They embraced a health-conscious life when I lost the baby weight and then some.
My kid is the crux of that story. With my daughter in my arms, being half-nude in front of a camera felt natural. Nudity may be a part of sexuality, but it is not sexual.
Why do we allow our bodies to be sexualized? Why do we buy into the beauty standards for what makes breasts and bodies “sexy?” No. Just NO.
No one should dictate how we feel in our own bodies.
What does the unbreakable mom do?
She chooses to feel comfortable in her own skin.
She chooses to celebrate her body, exactly as it is.
She chooses to love her WHOLE self.
That is what Unbreakable Moms is all about – taking control of our lives and deciding how we want to live it and feel it.
I choose loving and celebrating my journey of motherhood through art.
I choose to capture the true essence of unbreakable. The story of the warrior that lives within us.
No one should define us by our body parts or how we choose to show or not show them.
Choice is your superpower. Decision is your evolution.
Decide that you accept yourself and love yourself exactly as you are.
Decide to have the courage to embrace your doubts, fears, flaws and love yourself anyway.
Look yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you.” The more you think, write, say, or do something the more you believe it. (Learn how with the beginner’s affirmations guide)
“Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely,
that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.”
– Rudy Fransisco
See your soft belly as evidence for carrying a human being inside of you!!
See your stretch marks as lines of wisdom, strength, and courage. They are your tiger stripes.
See your breasts as a source of nourishment or comfort for your child.
See yourself as beautiful. Exactly as you are.
You are a mother–an UnbreakAble Mother–and your body tells that remarkable story.
For more on Erikka, please follow her on Instagram and visit her site
If you’ve got friends that could use a little more help with mommyhood (or maybe that’s you), then share this with them.
What do you think? Are you ready for your own mommy and me photoshoot? Leave a comment and be sure to rate this article below!
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