It’s funny how things have a way of coming around full circle.
My first impression of Jade Beall was that I wanted to be a lot more like her. I was taking a Zumba class at Breakout Studios when I first moved back to Tucson, and the class before Zumba was a West African dance class with live drummers. The studio reverberated with the strong drum rhythms and in the chilly December evening, all of the windows were fogged up. I was watching through a side window, and couldn’t help but gawk at the instructor. I was totally floored by her dancing.
Jade doesn’t just dance to the music… she feels the music. She IS the music. It’s truly incredible to watch.
Even though I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, quite a few of my friends have danced with Jade, and I recently met her partner, Alok. We’ve rented their studio in Tucson a few times -more details on that coming soon- and the beautiful buddha shrine from this weekend? That’s theirs. Anyway, while I was researching the studio about six months ago, I realized that not only is Jade an incredible dancer, she has a gift for photography.
This picture came up on my screen and immediately brought tears to my eyes.
There’s so much joy and beauty in the frame. You can see how much these girls love their mama and, even though her face isn’t in the shot, feel how proud she is of her babies. I found out that Jade had been working on a book to document mothers’ bodies during and after pregnancy, and found myself attached to her project, even though I had nothing to do with it.
In a nutshell, Jade is taking the photographs free of charge to the women who are willing to share their stories about motherhood and body image changes after the birth.
Even though I’ve only seen a handful of the photos -some are available in this recent Huffington Post article– I can’t wait to get a copy of the book.
After my last post on the family page, a few of you emailed to let me know about this project. It’s funny because I already *knew* about it, it’s a coincidence that Jade is here in Tucson, and a shame that I hadn’t mentioned it on the blog before now. While I can’t post shout outs for all of the causes you and I believe in -I do get emails about this often and apologize that I’m not able to post everyone’s request- this is one that has really touched my heart. While the level of physical change varies from woman to woman, bodies do change after carrying and delivering a baby. Most of all, your heart changes. Priorities shift, and cliche but true, you find yourself loving someone more than you ever thought possible.
When I first had Liv, beautiful was probably the last thing I felt. I felt like a sleep-deprived milk machine with a unibrow — I’m sure many moms can relate. I kind of wish I could have seen these pictures and read some of the stories when I felt my absolute worst and was experiencing postpartum anxiety.
Jade managed to capture the true beauty that lives within all mamas, and I’m so excited to see the final result of her hard work. She has a Kickstarter page for the project and has already exceeded her goal. There are 6 days left to help provide the ability for even more women to travel to Tucson, have their photos taken and their stories documented.