Liliana Taboas has collected many of the beautiful images in the Divine Mothering series in a body-positive children's book, I Will Always Be Your Mother
. The book, available now
, continues the original project's aim of promoting the acceptance and celebration of unedited bodies.This story was originally published on September 1, 2015.
Liliana Taboas describes herself as a naturally chatty person. But as much as the 27-year-old photographer wants get carried away conversing with her subjects (all women with powerful stories of pregnancy), she knows the resulting photos are more powerful if she just allows the women to be completely themselves. That celebration of total honesty runs all the way through her ongoing project, Divine Mothering
So far, Taboas has photographed over 20 new mothers for the series, individually and in small groups. She posts the photos on her site alongside the women's intensely personal stories
about every aspect of their pregnancies. She hopes the project will normalize the amazing variety of both pregnancy experiences and the women who have them.
In our society, the "post-baby bodies" we see publicized are most often those of celebrities who have been sequestered for weeks before debuting their once-again-toned figures. And while that experience is possible for some women, it's not so realistic for others. Taboas says many women are left perplexed or disappointed by their own bodies after giving birth.
And that's why she wants Divine Mothering to show the full spectrum of mothers' bodies. "It has become something so private and intimate that we literally don't know what our bodies are supposed to look like," she says. "But there is a large range of 'normal,' and you don't have to fit into this tiny box that we’re being sold." It's not that there's one perfect post-baby form that we should all strive for; rather, all
postpartum bodies deserve to be celebrated.
But, Taboas says, that tiny, dishonest box undercuts our true strength. "There's so much fixation on the female body for materialistic purposes — like selling products and blockbusters — that it takes away from the stuff that makes us really strong," she adds. "We're powerful creatures."