Tuesday, March 11, 2014

4th Trimester Bodies Project

This week I wanted to talk about a project that is near and dear to my heart, the 4th Trimester Bodies Project.

Ashlee Wells Jackson and her daughter, Nova

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project is a photo documentary started by Ashlee Wells Jackson, which is dedicated to "embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding."

It doesn't matter how old you are or how you came into motherhood, the only requirement is that you are a mother.

Paula Gillis. Mama to one sweet angel, Olivia Grace

I wanted to take a minute and share my story and photo with you all.  This project helped me get past some of my demons that I have been holding in for many years.  It felt so good to finally share my story with the world since I kept this a secret for many years.  Ashlee made me feel so comfortable in front of the camera and I am honored to call her my friend.  She is a mother to 3, one son, Xavier and twins, Nova and Aurora.  This project began when she no longer felt comfortable in her own skin after a traumatic childbirth experience with her twins, where Aurora became an angel due to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Here is my story:

"The breathtaking Garra Schulze with her 6 week old daughter, Kennedy. Garra was raped when she was 16. Stealing her virginity and resulting in a pregnancy she was unaware of until she was 5 months along. After realizing she was pregnant and examining her options she decided the best thing for her baby was to give him up for adoption. Her son Evan (7) was lovingly adopted by a family unable to have children of their own. While her first pregnancy was an incredibly traumatic one Garra’s second pregnancy was incredibly healing. She had a pretty easy pregnancy with Kennedy and while she was induced a bit pre term due to growth issues, she had a fast, easy delivery and Kennedy is a breastfeeding pro. I am absolutely humbled by Garra’s strength and bravery." - Ashlee Wells Jackson

Over the past year, over 200 woman have participated in the project, baring it all (tastefully) in the name of true beauty.  Ashlee and her stylist, Laura Weetzie Wilson are currently traveling all over the United States and will be going across the pond in the coming months to continue promoting and shooting for the project.  There is also a video documentary that is in the works and a gallery show and printed publication coming in the future.

Hillary Scharmann and baby Holden (7 months)

While this project is all about inner and outer beauty, Ashlee has faced problems with the social media websites, Facebook and Instagram.  Her most recent encounter was her IG page (@4thtrimesterbodies) being deleted without any warning.  She has now started her FOURTH Instagram page (follow @4thtribodiesproject) and has begun posting the photos to Tumblr (http://4thtrimesterbodiesproject.tumblr.com/) as well.  

Sarah Orth with her daughters Kiahley (4) and Cora (18mo)

If you don't follow this project, I highly recommend you do.  You can find out more information, see all the mamas stories, donate and sign a petition to help stop censorship at 4thtrimesterbodies.com, it might just change your life like it has mine.


  1. This is so beautiful. And you are incredible! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I love this project and your photo is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your story! :) xoxo