It is such a refreshing and comforting feeling to hear other women’s experiences told as they are, without sugar-coating anything, without putting a “happy” veil on top, without overlooking the less desirable details for the sake of their image. The naked truth has always been the kind of truth we are chasing after at Realmomster. And when I come across such raw and pure bursts of truth and soul-discovering, it is wonderful. When Dutch photographer Sophie Ebrard unveiled her latest creative photography expo in Amsterdam this weekend, I couldn’t have felt more grateful for it in the name of all the mothers and future mothers out there.
Grateful that no matter what you or I are feeling, we are re-assured that we are not alone. Grateful that a fellow mom had the utmost courage to lay herself bare in front of hundreds of people and openly discuss the sometimes hurtful reality of losing oneself in the realm of motherhood. Grateful for Sophie opening the (actual) doors of her home and the doors to her soul for us, mothers everywhere. Grateful for the real naked truth. Grateful that now, thanks to her, we will feel less lonely in this journey – no matter what our journey is.
“I Didn’t Want to Be A Mom” has taken place at Sophie’s house in Amsterdam and included some of the most raw and beautiful photography featuring her baby, a private diary, video, sound and even smell – all of these senses bringing the visitor into the realities of her experience of becoming a mom.
“The process of creating the exhibition felt almost like a therapy to me. I wanted to understand what had happened to me on a personal level.”
THIS PROJECT IS ABOUT TELLING WOMEN IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK.
IT’S ABOUT THE TRUTH OF MOTHERHOOD.
For the experience of the exposition to be even more personal and insightful, Sophie has opened her journal to the visitors, for them to be able to read some of her deepest thoughts regarding the motherhood experience she has lived at the very beginning.
Excerpts of Sophie’s Diary:
“I did not want to be a mum.
I wanted to be a photographer. At 35 I was only 3 years into my photography career. It was the most exciting time of my life. I was travelling all over the world. And then I turned 36. I could hear the tick tock tick tock.
My eggs suddenly had an expiration date.
I had a vision of my life in the future, and kids were a part of that, but not now, not yet. I resented being a woman with this alarm in my body. I resented being the one who had to sacrifice it all. I wanted to wait as long as I could.”
“But everything changed with those first few weeks postpartum. I was in Amsterdam (where I had just moved three weeks before Jules’ birth), with no girlfriends to share feelings I was too ashamed to admit. What if I don’t like being a mum? Am I weird feeling this way? Am I the only woman in the world to experience this? I loved my son to bits but I didn’t like the role. And I mostly felt alone. When you are used to being able to do mostly what you want, when you want and how you want, the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood can make you feel that you are losing a part of yourself.
Becoming a mother involves an identity shift, and is one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience. Yet when a woman gives birth, society puts pressure on new mums telling them it should be one of the most joyful moments of their lives. Of course, it is, but the struggles of parenting are hard and can at times overshadow the joys. These unspoken challenges mean that women often struggle through this in isolation, ashamed to admit how they feel.”
No matter how much you want a pregnancy, the identity shift you face might leave you out of control and disoriented at times. This is part of matrescence.
If I can help a few women come to terms with how they feel or just be able to articulate it, I’ll be happy.
I want to be the engine of change and I mostly want to normalise the experience.”
Beautiful, real, moving words by Sophie Ebrard. Discover her breathtaking photographs for this project here.