A beautiful book

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.

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(photo source)

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.

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(photo source)

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.


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  1. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on June 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful!

    While I don’t have children, I have friends that do. And I hope one day to have my own children- and I hope I’m inspired by these stories to always feel beautiful, or at least appreciative of what my body can do.

    I will definitely be buying this book for all of my friends with and without children when it comes out. We neeed to start expanding our definition of what beauty is. A women who has brought life into this world? Always beautiful!

    Do you know when the book is coming out?

  2. Kristen on June 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I love this!
    I know firsthand how hard it can be to see your body changing during and after pregnancy. My weight finally returned to prepregnacy, but my body is definitely not the same. Part of my linea nigra never went away, my boobs are certainly not the same, and my weight is distributed differently. Several years ago, these things would have bothered me. I would have obsessed over them. Now? Notsomuch. I know that these small things are a result of something amazing.
    I wish people could embrace their imperfections and even more so if they were caused from something that’s so worth it.
    Scars and imperfections from:
    • Carrying/delivering a baby
    •Cancer that you battled
    •Hard earned weight loss
    •A personal hardship of any form that you’ve overcome

    These should remind us of how strong we are and what we’ve accomplished!

  3. Katy C. on June 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    O. M. F. G. Jade is quite literally one of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. She used to be my massage therapist when I still lived in Tucson, and I was thrilled when BreakOut got a hold of her. She has the most beautiful personality and soul, and I wish I had kept in touch with her when I moved or gotten to know her better. And what a wonderful project! Definitely going to check out the Kickstarter.

  4. Christine@ Apple of My Eye on June 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    That sounds like such a beautiful project. While motherhood is still a good while away from me, I know that I will feel the same insecurities that you did about your body and how it changes due to pregnancy.

    I hope to hear more about Jade and her work if you don’t mind!

  5. Jackie on June 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    What a beautiful project. I am not a mom, so I cannot speak from personal experience. but I have seen my best friends go through it and the changes it brings.

  6. Alexandra on June 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Wow- this is such a beautiful project! Thank you so much for sharing, Gina! It truly warms my heart seeing people doing such positive and real things! I am so moved by these photos! This is what life is all about!

  7. Carly @ Fine Fit Day on June 25, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I just saw this on Huffington Post and I was similarly moved! It’s such a beautiful, worthy project. Thanks for sharing – I can’t wait to see Jade’s book, too.

  8. Erica on June 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for this post!!! Very touching!!! I’m 25 weeks pregnant and one of my biggest concerns (besides the health of my baby) is how I am going to feel about my new post pregnancy body. Thanks, Gina!!!!

  9. Christina on June 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    i just LOL’d pretty hard at my desk over the sleep deprived milk machine with a unibrow…you always have the best posts and while i am not a mother yet I cannot wait to be one. this post just made me realize it even more!

    • Fitnessista on June 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm


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