The Motherhood Project: what motherhood really looks like

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A Brisbane photographer is pulling back the curtain on motherhood and taking a real look into the messy, chaotic, and utterly beautiful world that is raising children.

Rosann Hall has used her photo project as a way to deal with her postnatal depression, and normalise all aspects of being a mum.

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The Motherhood Project is a raw and unfiltered peek into the day-to-day lives of Australian mothers. It’s not the polished,  Insta-perfect photos that usually fill our social media feed. It’s the gritty, down-in-the-trenches photos that we usually try to avoid. But they are actually some of the most precious moments of motherhood.

“After my second child I struggled with postnatal depression,” Rosann told Mum’s Grapevine. “That was when my husband encouraged me to get out on the weekends for a few hours and take photos as he knew that photography brought me joy. So I did and that’s how The RHP Project came to be. I suppose you can call that my first project! Dragging myself out of the pits of PND through photography.”

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The 33-year-old mum of ‘five high energy children’ says taking The Motherhood Project is a way of honouring the journey of all mothers. “It’s for my daughter and your daughter. I want to showcase a more raw side to motherhood.

“It’s not meant to be a glamorous beach session although I do really love those photos too. These are more for the mums who maybe can’t see their beauty, the ones who feel invisible and desperately need someone, anyone to see them. To celebrate them and bring them back to life in a way. These are also photos that will be cherished when their children are grown up, looking back at the real events of day-to-day motherhood. Some of the hardest and most rewarding times of our lives.”

Therapy through photography

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All of the mums who have been involved in the project to date have heard about it through word-of-mouth. Rosann also works with a Queensland mothers’ group called Mothers Connected, where she offers motherhood photography at the end of a six-week program.

“It has been a new experience for me as it is a much more intimate session and one where we usually start with coffee or finish with wine. It’s sort of like a therapy session in ways. We unpack a lot of things as well while I continue to capture the routine that is unfolding in front of me. It’s really beautiful.”

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Rosann admits social media is a double-edged sword. It gives mums an outlet and a chance to engage with the world, as well as holding up a light to perfection-seeking.

“Social media has many great uses especially for mothers, but unfortunately the way the algorithms work is based on what we are viewing. And so if we are viewing content that showcases perfect mums with their perfect colour coordinated homes … more of those profiles will pop up in our feeds and so the cycle of not feeling adequate enough begins.

“The thing is, we know that these are just small snippets of someone’s life and I do not blame these people for sharing such content. I think though if it isn’t serving you and creates anxiety or doubt in your mind then it’s a good idea to either unfollow or just mute for the time being.”

Create a motherhood masterpiece

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Rosann hopes her project is a way for mums to reflect on their amazing journies.

“Someone looking in and with photographic evidence saying,  ‘Mumma, look at this, look at what I see, look how incredible you are with all that you do, day in and day out.’ I want them to feel seen and heard. Because I have had five children myself I now know what I needed and so I want to be able to give that to others while this chapter in my own life allows me to.”

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Rosann is putting together a book to showcase the images and stories of real mums. She’s also encouraging others to do their own version of The Motherhood Project.

“If you wanted to capture something like this for yourself you could always put your phone or camera on a tripod on video mode and set it up while you are bathing the kids or playing outside with them etc. That way you can go back to that video and screenshot the moments that sum up motherhood for you.

“I would also then HIGHLY recommend you start a scrapbook, print and paste those memories followed by a message that future you will read and be reminded of these days.”

 

 


Need support from other mums?

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