ROCKLEDGE, FL - “I have this crazy idea. Come over here in your underwear."
Who'd have thought those words — uttered by Natalie McCain to a friend over the phone — would birth a website about the raw reality of motherhood that's gone viral — and now, a book deal.
“I just signed the contract last week,” McCain said Monday of sealing the deal withSkyhorse Publishing. “I’ve been on cloud nine for like a month now. It’s going to be amazing.”
The book, yet to be named, will hit store shelves in Spring 2017. It will feature 100 stories about motherhood and its different aspects. McCain takes the portraits; the moms write the musings themselves. “The Honest Body Project” will be part of the title, and, like the website, thehonestbodyproject.com, will celebrate motherhood — unedited and raw.
The 29-year-old Rockledge wife and mom of two still can't believe where one little pet project has taken her. A professional photographer, McCain's initial photos of her friend, stripped down to nothing but black undergarments, has sparked an online movement. Her website features photos of women (and their children) clad in similar garb, proud to show off their not-always-perfect bodies. From stretch marks to loose skin and scars, the women don't hide much.
McCain felt it was so important to show —and celebrate — motherhood as it really is. She wants to help women learn to love their bodies and themselves, even though there are so many who feel desperate to change their appearance.
Since she started the project in April 2015, McCain has photographed about 150 women, many from Brevard. Since about a year ago, she's begun featuring series on different topics, from postpartum depression to bottle-feeding stigma to working mamas.
Since the project's inception, fans have encouraged her to mold her material into a book. She started researching online and heeded the advice to find a literary agent.
"That took a while," McCain said of finding an "amazing" agent. "She just really believed in the project from the get-go."
The project, with musings written by the mothers themselves, doesn't avoid hot-button issues, either. Her most popular series? Extended breastfeeding, a cause she vows she's "super passionate about."
"That series really took off, struck a chord with a lot of people," McCain said. "Some of it was good, some of it not so good."
That portion of the website "still randomly goes viral,” McCain said.
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