Natalie McCain hopes her Honest Body Project will help women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds feel empowered and positive about their bodies.

In her latest addition to the project, The Beauty in a Mother, the photographer's intimate black and white portraits of expectant mothers are accompanied by quotes from the subjects' conversations with her.

Paired with the photographs the quotes "paint a beautiful, honest picture of motherhood," McCain says. "I want to encourage new mothers to love their body and feel comfortable in their skin," she told the Huffington Post.

The project aims to encourage women to share their stories and support one another.

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"Next time you start to talk negatively about your pregnant body, take a deep breath and try to change your inner voice," she says.

"Instead of saying the negative thought, try to turn it into a positive. Tell yourself how beautiful you look."

(App users tap here to view photos)

"I cried and threw up when I saw the positive pregnancy test - my life literally flashed before my eyes and I cried like I lost a giant piece of myself forever. I couldn't imagine even being happy about having a baby. The second time I found out I was pregnant, my first baby was... just that still a baby, still needed me. I still needed her. I cried and cried because I wasn't ready to give up my time to another yet. I just wanted to hold onto her being a baby for as long as I could and I spent every moment with her like it was my last. I didn't think it was fair that I would have to split time that my first child deserved to have all to herself. How could we do this to her? I liked it being just me and her everyday."

"No one tells you how scary it is to poop after a vaginal delivery and that you leave the hospital still wearing maternity clothes."

"I love my body, I love my baby bump, my tiger stripes, my curves, my imperfections, my loving man, my supporting family and friends, and I'm done letting others influence how I feel about myself. I am beautiful, strong, and intelligent."

"I never truly focused on the things I put into and on my body until I became pregnant. Lotions, deodorants, processed foods, etc. Not a second thought of how they might affect my health. Until I was pregnant. The moment I learned I had a child growing inside of me, I became very aware that the choices I was making for myself would have a lifelong impact on my child(ren) as well."

"My daughter was a C Section after 5 days of labor. I'm in several groups, and there is a lot of talk about wishing our bodies didn't fail. How a 'traditional' birth would have been better, and how did we wind up here. I can tell you I didn't plan on a C section. I didn't want a C Section....but my body didn't fail. This body that has seen surgeries, tumors, and incredible loss didn't fail one bit. I may not have had some ideal birth, but any body that can make such a beautiful, funny, smart, blue eyed baby girl like the one I have been blessed with, did everything I needed it to. She's alive, I'm alive, and no scar or procedure will take that away from me."

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"I cried and threw up when I saw the positive pregnancy test - my life literally flashed before my eyes and I cried like I lost a giant piece of myself forever."

Posted by Herald Life on Monday, August 3, 2015

- nzherald.co.nz