Meet Desiree Barnes. After giving birth to her son Fox in 2013, she was struggling with some major body image issues, so her old friend artist Charlotte Dean wanted to help her change the way she looked at her body. Charlotte was one of the people behind the Body Joy Project, and in 2015 she covered Desiree's naked body in paint and prepared for a photo shoot. The powerful photos were posted all over Instagram, with a message encouraging women to love their postpartum bodies.
But it wasn't until the 4th Trimester Bodies Project posted a photo from the Body Joy Project's photo series that Instagram reportedly removed the photos multiple times. Now, Desiree is speaking out about what the photo means to her, and it's something all moms need to hear! She recently posted the photo to her own Instagram account with an important message.
This is my postpartum body! Before my son I was 98 pounds. I spent my days kick boxing, running and taking yoga classes. I worked out about four hours a day. After my son I still ate clean and hiked a bit but my focus changed to Fox and creating fox and the traveling gypsy. It wasn't always easy for me (the change) but participating in Body Joy Project . . . was extremely healing. This picture has been popping up lately and for some reason it keeps getting censored by Instagram. It's sad that something that is so healing to a woman is not acceptable. I'm sure if I posted pictures of my body before Fox there would be no removals. As many of you know I am days, possibly weeks, away from my second child joining our family Earth side. I am so excited. I can't wait for society to catch up and worship women and their bodies the way they deserve with love, and appreciation.
Desiree told The Huffington Post that as hard as it was to face the realities of her postpartum body in this photo shoot, it enabled her to "connect with [her] body in a personal way." After recently giving birth to her second son, Desiree is taking what she learned from the Body Joy Project to remain positive.
"I may not always like the way my body looks right now, but I respect it and love it for everything that it is and does for my family and myself," she said. "This is what I want other mamas to take from this picture, that we are in it together, we have to support and uplift one another. I'm pretty sure we all feel this way sometimes."
We have a video! I didn't know we had a video of this @bodyjoyproject painting session of @foxandthetravelinggypsy! Made my day :))) Thanks @jimatnation for this sweet surprise! #bodypositive #takebackpostpartum #sayyestothemess #bodyjoyproject #bodylove #dancefreemovement #dropthetowel #bodydiversity #charlottedean #joy #life #goddess #feminism