From cringing at my reflection to REALLY appreciating my post partum body
As a new mum, I found myself struggling with body image issues. My postpartum body was different than it was before, and I didn't quite know how to embrace the changes. Deep down I knew my body had done an incredible job but I couldn't help constantly comparing my post partum shape to other mums who had their babies about the same time as me and just not feeling content with what I saw in the mirror. I navigated this discontentment with a lot of curiosity - why am I feeling like this? What feeling am I actually seeking? How do I want to feel when I look in the mirror? I was scared that my reflection was a result of me not taking the best care of myself and we all know that we need to take care of ourselves in order to really take care of others. So if my concern was accurate and I wasn't taking the best care of myself then what did that mean about me as a mum?
I met Rebekah at a Mug Life Parents meet up. When I saw her announced as the event photographer I checked out her instagram and fell in love with her style. I regularly use photographers for events so I am always on the look out for potential collaborations! I liked A LOT of her photos to the point she must have thought I was a bot! When I met her at the event I introduced myself like the fan girl I was! We instantly connected and I told her I regularly hire photographers so it would be great to chat about upcoming events.
In the back of my mind I really wanted to do a shoot with her but I thought, well Im not feeling great about my body right now so maybe in the future! Well If I could speak to myself back then, now, I'd scream - that's exactly WHY you should do it!
I connected with Rebekah over the phone about events and we couldn't help but ideate on ways we could collaborate. I knew I needed to make this work!
Having photographers present for my event wether its for the maternity shots at the birth prep retreats or portraits at the women's retreats is something that I just love providing. I try to work personally with these photographers first! So this was my nudge to book my shoot with Rebekah.
Once I booked that at-home boudoir photoshoot that I began to see myself in a new light. I was shopping for sexy lingerie!!
Leading up to the photoshoot, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement. I was nervous about being vulnerable in front of the camera, but I was also excited to see myself in a new light. On the day of the shoot, I booked the day off work, dropped the kids at nursery and headed home to do my hair and make up. I laid out all my new lingerie and pushed the babies cot out the way in my room! I reset the room to look like a beautiful master bedroom! The reality of Toula's cot in there normally is a funny contrast to be honest!
At first, I was nervous and self-conscious. I didn't know how to pose or how to look sexy without feeling silly. But Rebekah had the tunes going and she directed me a lot at first, she also got so excited and gasped whenever she took a great pic which made me feel relaxed and we began to have so much fun! I started to relax and feel more comfortable in my own skin. I forgot about the wobbly bits! Seeing myself through someone else's lens helped me see myself in a new way - as beautiful, sensual, and worthy of appreciation. We moved around my house, moving toys out the way as we went! Rebekah has a way of spotting amazing light and shadows and placing you at just the right angle to get some really creative shots.
Prior to seeing Rebekahs soft and sensual style of photos I would not have said boudiour was for me. But that was my limited understanding - reframing whats possible and adding in your own personality is what makes it so special. Mine wasn't overly revealing, overly posed nor did I have any props, basically there were no cringeworthy moments!
When I received the gallery, I was blown away by how gorgeous they were. I looked at myself in the photos and saw a woman who was confident, powerful, and sexy. I didn't see the flaws that I had been obsessing over for months - I saw a beautiful body that had created and nurtured new life, twice!
Looking at those photos helped me see myself in a new light. I began to appreciate my body for all that it was, rather than focusing on what it wasn't. I saw my stretch marks as reminders of the amazing feat my body had accomplished, rather than as imperfections to be hidden. I felt more confident in my own skin!
But perhaps the most important thing that came out of that boudoir photoshoot was a sense of self-worthiness. I realized that I didn't need to look a certain way to be worthy of love and respect. I didn't need to lose the baby weight or hide my stretch marks to be beautiful. I was beautiful just as I was, in all of my imperfections and flaws.
That realization was incredibly empowering. It allowed me to let go of the self-criticism and self-doubt that had been holding me back. It allowed me to embrace my body and my femininity in a way that I had never been able to before. And it allowed me to see myself as a strong, capable, and beautiful woman, rather than just a new mum struggling to adjust to her postpartum body.
If you're struggling with body image issues please seek support, get curious about what kind of support is out there! Follow that curiosity and be open to what comes!
Please know that I didn't jump in to the deep end from new mum to boudoir shoot. This was at about 16 months post partum and I have done a lot to reconnect with my body and appreciate what I went through like post partum yoga, personal training, mindfulness, meditation, breathwork, massage, osteopathic treatment, chiropractic treatment and more!
As a new mum you have just gone through the biggest transformation of your life so far, give yourself time to feel, breathe and be. There is no rush to go anywhere or be anything. But if you do feel called for a deeper reconnection I would recommend starting with breathwork, gentle movement and body work.
I highly recommend trying an at-home boudoir photoshoot. It may feel intimidating at first, but I promise that the results are worth it. Seeing yourself in a new light can be incredibly empowering, and it can help you embrace your body and your self-worth in a whole new way.
I am proud to say that the my next Women's Retreat is all about this - Inner Worthiness and self appreciation.
Read all about it here.
March 12th 2023
2 spaces left (as of 3rd March 2023)