Through a series of interviews and portraits WOMANHOOD explores different aspects and complex issues related to womanhood with a more intimate view. More about the project here.
My relationship with my son’s father was very abusive. It was difficult to raise a child at a young age and being in a relationship where I couldn’t be myself. There was a lot of control tactics, physical abuse, betrayals, I could go on and on. It’s a touchy subject for me to talk about because I’m still working through some of the guilt. It shapes you into someone you don’t even know.
So far, what has been your biggest struggle as a woman?
My biggest struggle since becoming a mom is constantly trying to find the balance between being my own person and being a parent. It sounds so cliché but I was only 21 when I became a mother and I more or less raised my child my own. The father was (and still is) working out of province and our relationship was rocky most of the time. I went from having a relatively normal early adulthood life to motherhood without a clue what to do or how to handle it by myself.
What have you learned from this?
Patience and forgiveness. My relationship with my son’s father was very abusive. It was difficult to raise a child at a young age and being in a relationship where I couldn’t be myself. There was a lot of control tactics, physical abuse, betrayals, I could go on and on. It’s a touchy subject for me to talk about because I’m still working through some of the guilt. It shapes you into someone you don’t even know. I didn’t realize how much I was carrying with me until I met the man I am with today. I wasn’t used to someone actually showing genuine affection and love that I doubted it was real for a long time. Finding the balance between these two worlds was hard at first but with time became easier.
What is your relationship with your body and more specifically with motherhood?
Going through pregnancy/birth, of course your body changes. I was very self conscious for a long time. I felt unworthy, ugly and unattractive because of the changes in my body and how my relationship with the father played out. The cycle of abuse is very real and it brings you to your knees. However, along the way I realized that nobody can make me feel good or bad about my body, that it was mind over matter and I had a choice as to whether I would spend the rest of my life feeling sorry for myself or if I’d figure out a way to be confident again. I chose the latter. Life is short and it is amazing. I really embrace all of it and have zero regrets. It has shaped me into someone I’m proud of.
What is your definition of femininity?
I’m not sure I can describe feeling feminine. I will say though that there is no better feeling than simply feeling good about yourself, regardless of outer circumstances. At the risk of sounding cheesy, we are all stardust. We are all beautiful and worthy.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
Nothing beats a hot shower and a fresh blow dry to me. Being a mom, there’s always something to do at home and an uninterrupted shower is bliss.
Why did you want to be involved in this project?
To break the silence and stigma around domestic abuse. Not for me, but for someone out there who may read this and feel absolutely hopeless. Who might not realize that there is a way out, that you are worthy, that you can get out and that there are resources available to you. It will suck at first, because the cycle is probably so embedded in your subconscious that you do not know how you will manage. but once you are out, you are free and I promise you, you will love life again.
How was the experience?
I’m always nervous to speak on the subject but I felt it was necessary. Someone out there needs to read this and I hope it helps in any way.
Photography: Cassandra Cacheiro
Creative Direction: Sara Hini