For as long as I can remember, I’ve had depression and self-esteem issues. My thighs were too big, my shoulders were too broad, my ankles were too wide, my stretch marks were too gross. It was always something. I felt like I could never truly be happy with myself. When I got pregnant with my son, I was ecstatic. I still hated my body but wanted to appreciate it for the miracle it was creating. I started looking at ideas for maternity pictures and saw Alex’s boudoir page. I kept looking for months thinking how cool it would be to do a maternity boudoir shoot. As my pregnancy progressed though, I wasn’t sure if I could, physically or mentally. I had gestational diabetes and a dislocated pelvis almost the entire time. I gained over 90 pounds and was in so much pain. I loved being pregnant but hated my body more than ever. I was proud of what my body could accomplish but ashamed of how it looked.
With encouragement from my amazing husband and mother, I gave Alex a call. Our first meeting was AMAZING! She was so honest and open. She’s confident and proud of her work. I knew she was talented but I was worried I just wouldn’t be good enough. I WAS SO WRONG! Alex made me feel absolutely stunning and sexy the whole time. I was uncomfortable at first but her positive and hilarious personality helped me relax so much. She made sure none of my poses were too painful. After what felt like no time, I didn’t feel weird. I would never even wear shorts in public but right then, barely clothed, I felt at ease. When I finished my shoot, I felt like I could take on the world. I came back for my reveal just a few days later and I was amazed. The pictures were absolutely breathtaking. There were 2 pictures in particular that showed my stretch marks but for the first time in my life, I didn’t hate them. They were beautiful. I had earned them and I loved them. I started to cry and asked her to leave those pictures raw and she cried with me. When my album came back I cried more and spent days flipping through it. I finally saw myself how my husband did. A Goddess who has gone through so much to create a life and is even more beautiful than before. Every “flaw” was just another thing to love.
After my pregnancy I started thinking about maybe doing a post-partum shoot. The self-esteem issues and depression had come back with the massive changes to my body. My husband took it on himself to get me set up for another shoot during Alex’s Black Friday sale. I spent months waiting and looking over my maternity album. I remembered how that felt and was ready to see myself for the boss a** b*tch I was again.
My second shoot I came in super comfortable and ready to take on the world again! I had a gorgeous silk robe and lingerie my husband helped me pick. I looked like a pin-up, something I had always dreamed of. My thighs weren’t something I was ashamed of but something I was proud of. I also decided to make one change from the last shoot to this one. For this shoot I wanted to do some fully nude pictures. The first time I was too scared. I wasn’t ready.
I am so glad I made that decision to face my fears. I got to see my post-partum body in its raw beauty. The stretch marks, the loose skin, the love handles. I loved it so much, but also saw something else. I was sexy. I was sexier than I ever had been, not in spite of the changes but because of them. I remembered just how amazing my body is and that I should never again beat myself up for it. With my shoots, I came so far as a woman. I learned things about myself I hadn’t paid much attention to before. I am not flawed. I am not inadequate. I am not ugly. I am not broken. I am strong. I am confident. I am beautiful. I am more than good enough. But the most important thing I learned was how to finally love myself.