(NEW YORK) — Earlier this month, a group of moms gave birth to a radical idea. Instead of focusing on the perhaps unrealistic pressures celebrities set to lose the baby weight, they decided to embrace their bodies to try to change the face of post-baby body expectations.
Heidi Klum hit the Victoria’s Secret runway in next to nothing just six weeks after giving birth. Fellow angel, Alessandra Ambrosio, basically bared it all a mere 12 weeks after delivering her bundle of joy. And who could forget Kourtney Kardashian posing for covers of magazines rocking a red-hot bikini just three months after becoming mother to baby boy, Mason.
“I think it’s great that they can get their body back, because they have the time,” mother Katie Schunk said. “They’re being paid to look good, but we’re all working mommies. Jessica Alba was back to her pre-baby weight in like four weeks. At four weeks I was up every three hours and not able to function.”
Marie Schweitzer agreed, “We love them all. We’re all celebrity worshipers. But at the same time, that’s them maybe two months after having a baby, and this,” she said while pointing to herself up and down, “a year and four months after having a baby.”
So instead of scrutinizing photos of themselves, the women of CTWorkingMoms.com decided to embrace their bodies and bare it all, showing the world what “real women’s” bodies look like post-baby.
“We have this amazing moment of having a child, and then right after, most women hate their bodies,” said Schunk.
Michelle Noehren, mother and creator of CTWorkingMoms.com, affirmed, “You do an amazing thing by carrying a human being in your bodies and giving birth. We should be proud of our bodies.”
But what they didn’t realize was that while they were fearlessly flaunting their figures for the camera, these moms were really on an even bigger mission with a message for all women.
“If we could reach one woman and get her to maybe not feel so bad about herself, I think that’s exactly what we wanted to do,” Schunk said.
Even the photographer of the shoot, Jean Molodetz of I View Photography, was tearing up watching the mothers frolick in the backyard.
“Watching them embrace the spirit of the message, it was great,” Molodetz explained.
They thought they were just taking pictures for fun, but the reaction they felt when they started shooting wasn’t anything any of them were expecting.
Another mother on the shoot, Mary Grace Peak, said, “It was such a release, because trying to balance work and family and home — to actually run around someone’s yard half naked was very liberating and fun. It was great to kind of forget that I was a mom just for a minute and just remember who I am as a woman.”
Dena Fleno also posed for the camera. She explained, “It was the togetherness, and that’s what we want to get across to women. Get together with your girlfriends and do something like this because you will be changed after you do it. It is so important.”
Noehren’s husband tells her every day that she’s beautiful. But still, “it’s hard to believe it yourself even though you hear it, and doing something like this really does help,” she explained.
Schunk’s husband thought it was an amazing idea for the women to do the shoot, also. “He’s the first person to say that women are our own worst critic. Men don’t judge us as much as we judge ourselves, and it was nice to see us embrace ourselves and feel beautiful for a while,” she said.
Fleno has a daughter and hopes she’ll learn from this experience to embrace and accept whatever body she has at any given moment. “She might have a different one than she had in high school when she’s a mom. But that’s who she is now and she’s got to embrace it and accept it and just love yourself. And this helped. It really did. I’ve never felt more beautiful than I did that night. I have this joy inside now from that night that’s never going to go away now,” she explained.
These women really want all moms to feel good about themselves. They’re encouraging everyone who has carried a child to head to CTWorkingMoms.com to upload your own fearless photos to the website.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jackie Wattles, CNN