Very few of us feel like staging a photo shoot after giving birth – it can be a tough time, characterised by uncertainty and vulnerability.
Therefore, we can totally empathise with photographer Tiffany Burke as she posted a photo that was ‘not easy to share’ – and salute her for her powerful words and sentiments.
Tiffany – a mum-of-five – took to Instagram to share a photo of herself with baby Quinn, to discuss the power of loving and being kind to yourself.
“This is what 70 lbs overweight looks like,” she wrote.
“This is what exclusively breastfeeding yet gaining weight looks like.
“This is what a working mum, with no makeup and no time for self-care looks like.”
Not an easy share: This is what 70 lbs overweight looks like. This is what exclusively breastfeeding yet gaining weight looks like. This is what a working mom, with no make-up and no time for self-care looks like. This is also what my happiness looks like. What my body looks like does not determine my happiness or my success. My body is my temporary shell. My life is truly beautiful. I have given birth to 5 babies (3 of my own and 2 surrogate babies). But my body was at a "healthy" weight before getting pregnant with baby #5. My body does not look like this "because I've had 5 babies." Currently, I can't workout hardcore like I have in the past or I will lose my milk supply. I am also eating all the food because I'm just starving. Some weeks I eat so healthily, other weeks I'm downing a sleeve of Oreos and feeling giddy. I work a lot and choose my free time to be with my kids. My body can wait a bit and I'm proud to make that choice. It's mine to make. They won't be little much longer and I will have missed it all. My body is the home I keep. And like my home, it ebbs and it flows as the seasons of my life do. My home is sometimes messy, sometimes clean, sometimes both. Our bodies ebb and flow in the seasons of our lives. From the season of when junior high starts and we are questioning everything about our bodies, to the season of no time for self-care, or the season of IVF injections for so many years. Or weight gain from pregnancies of angel babies lost and our bodies not willing to let go just yet. The season of a divorce, or depression, eating disorders, a death, addiction or toxic relationships. So much affects our wonderful shells. We must give grace, find ways to self-love as often as we can. We must be the inner voice that we should have had growing up. Our thoughts have great power over our daily lives. Our bodies are important to love, but not so important to invest so much hate into. SO MUCH MORE MATTERS. Be healthy, be strong, make a change when you can, be you, be unafraid. Ignore the rest. It’s okay if someone thinks I'm not pretty. I'm not here on this planet to please their eyeballs. I am worth so much more and so are you. Baby Quinn agrees
However, most importantly, this is also ‘what her happiness looks like’.
Tiffany explained that she cannot work out to the level she is used to, for fear she will lose her milk supply. She is also eating as much food as her body is craving, and isn’t about to feel bad about ‘downing a sleeve of Oreos and feeling giddy’.
Rather than feel guilty or punish herself, Tiffany is taking an inspiring and healthy attitude to this time in her life. She is of the belief that ‘her body can wait a bit’ – and she is both happy and proud of that decision.
We can all learn a lesson or two from Tiffany, and she is making it easy with the following beautiful analogy.
“My body is the home I keep. And like my home, it ebbs and it flows as the seasons of my life do,” she wrote.
“My home is sometimes messy, sometimes clean; sometimes both.
Our bodies are affected by so many physical and emotional situations, from divorce to IVF; and Tiffany truly believes that we ‘must give grace and find ways to self-love as often as we can’. Can we get an amen?!
Tiffany’s parting message is to ‘be healthy, be strong, make a change when you can, be you, be unafraid; ignore the rest’.
“It’s OK is someone thinks I’m not pretty. I’m not here on this planet to please their eyeballs. I am worth so much more, and so are you. Baby Quinn agrees,” she added.
We have SO much love for Tiffany’s post.