lady: *holding her baby* When you’re a mom you’ll appreciate all these things! me: Yeah about that… Not gonna happen tho… lady: Oh well, of course you say that now- me: But I already know don’t want to have children. lady: You’re still young, you have time to think about it. You’ll think differently in a few years. me:
Its finally here! My latest sketch book is stuffed to the gills with drawings and comics I’ve done in the past year or so. With a title like “Oh My God.. I’m A Mom” you might be wondering what it could possibly be about. Well, ever since I first became preggers, the theme of babies and motherhood has popped up in my work from time to time. Just a tad. To be honest, drawing about my experiences helped me keep my sanity, or at least what little I had to begin with. This book chronicles the sweet highs and bewildering lows of becoming a new mom, and hopefully you’ll find it full of humor, sassafras, and plenty of “d'aaawwww…lookit the baby!” If you’ve ever enjoyed or shared my drawings like the ones above, have a look-see! This mama would be ever so obliged.
Celebrating Motherhood and Every Body with Jade Beall
To see more of Jade’s photography, follow @jadebeallphotography on Instagram. This post is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2016.
“#MyStory is about truthfully photographing women to remind them that they are beautiful, just the way they are, without making them into someone other than themselves.” —Jade Beall (@jadebeallphotography), photographer, who took this photo of a nursing mom in Tucson, Arizona.
“It all started when I was pregnant, and I wanted to be that bounce-back mother. I gained more weight than I was supposed to, I gave birth and the weight barely came off. Five weeks into my new motherhood, I realized I should take a photo, because I wanted to expand my portfolio to add more body diversity. I stood — cellulite, flab, everything — breast-feeding my 5-week-old son. Now, I spend my time photographing women, facilitating them feeling beautiful in their own skin.
“The women that come to me are definitely on a path for self-love. They’re done with feeling ‘less than,’ unworthy of being called beautiful. As soon as they stand on my backdrop, something shifts. Afterwards, 90 percent of the time women say, ‘That felt so good. I don’t even need to see the photos.’”
For sex workers, there are no legal protections against discrimination, should we become associated with our current or former occupations. Current and former sex workers risk losing their housing or being refused service by landlords, property owners, and co-op boards. Sex workers are also often unable to transition to other work. I worked as an exotic dancer and then a Craigslist call girl on and off until 2007, and when my boss at my new job as a public school teacher became aware of my career history, I was eventually fired, and I couldn’t get another job in elementary school education in spite of my education and teaching credentials.
Current and former sex workers can also lose custody of their children. Finley Fawn is a cam model—a taxed, legal profession—who has been fighting for custody of her six-year-old son since April of this year. According to Uproxx, Fawn was served with an emergency order to remove her son from her home after her ex-husband told authorities that Fawn was an unfit mother because she had let their child learn too much about her work; he alleged their son had “shared details with him about his mom’s job.” In 2008, a tantra provider lost custody of her children to a man with an extensive documented history of domestic violence. According to the parenting blog Mommyish, in 2013, former sex worker Tanaha Koontz lost custody of her three children to the abusive husband who Koontz claims sex trafficked her during the course of their relationship.
Then there’s the devastating case of Petite Jasmine, a Swedish sex worker whose children were taken away from her due to her involvement in the sex trade. Jasmine was an outspoken sex worker’s rights advocate, arguing against a system called the “Swedish model,” which criminalizes the clients of sex workers but not the sex workers themselves. In spite of a documented history of abuse, Jasmine’s ex-husband was granted full custody of their two children, leaving Jasmine with supervised visits. During one such visit in 2013, he killed her in the social work office.
Those who view sex work as incompatible with motherhood often cite a concern for the children’s safety. They conflate issues related to poverty with sex work—unstable housing, food insecurity, and erratic incomes, for example—even though sex work can often be the very solution to these economic woes. People also assume a relationship between sex work and addiction, but the idea that all sex workers use drugs is a myth. Perhaps the only legitimate concern having to do with explicit relationship between sex work and a child’s safety is the fact that individuals working in prostitution are still being criminalized, so these women tend to be incarcerated or face arrest, which can mean having their children sent to a relative or taken under the dysfunctional care of the state.