An overview of images from the past 8 years made in various locations throughout Australia of mothers and their children.
Soon after the birth of my first son, I noticed very quickly that there was a persistent trope of a doting, unruffled mother who bounces back to her former ‘self’ soon after the birth of her child. This lazy representation did not come close to showing the multifaceted and transformative reality that I or any other mothers around me were experiencing.
My lived experience prior to having children had presented me with an overtly hollow portrayal of what it is to become a mother.
With a heavy focus on the pregnancy and well-being of the baby, there was so little to inform or support the complex and profound emotional and physiological transformation that changes our very being once we give birth, and I struggled to find healthy and realistic representations of the new day to day lived experience or the healing, leaking and forever changed bodies and minds.
These disconnected cultural constructions worked against me and held me to an unachievable standard, adversely affecting my mental health, and subjecting me to more confusion, angst and guilt at an already incredibly raw and fragile time in my life.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are some of the most profound, deeply beautiful and intimate human experiences and yet it is also some of the most physically and emotionally challenging, relentless and claustrophobic.