I am a mommy. In the fullest sense of the word, I am a mommy, and I have everything that being a mommy entails; patience that is always right on the edge of deserting me, unknown stains on my favorite clothes, a harried look around the eyes, and kids that I adore despite it all.
I do have a few more "mommy" things that I could do without, however... like stretch marks, extra skin, and this saggy thing that used to be a belly button but now looks a bit like a sad face.
Being a mom, it's sometimes hard to find yourself sexy. Between taking care of a crying baby, fixing dinner, overseeing homework and trying to keep a house from falling apart, there isn't much time for deodorant let alone makeup and a nice outfit. Sexy seems like a far away land that only the young(er), firm, slim and single are able to inhabit.
That is why I had boudoir portraits taken.
Makes sense, right?
Hear me out...
For most women who aren't Adriana Lima, sexy seems like a term only applied to other women, models in magazines, or Angelina Jolie. It's not a word that is easy for those of us who are conscious of our imperfections to apply to ourselves. We have cellulite, stretch marks and love handles. Maybe our noses are a bit crooked, and our ears have the tendency to poke out just the slightest bit...and we can't reconcile the word SEXY to what we see in the mirror.We might be able to admit to ourselves that we are beautiful as human beings, in some abstract way, but sexy...that word just feels unattainable.
After the birth of my youngest son, who is now 6 months old, I decided it was time to take a firm hold of my health and my figure. I wanted to feel good in my body again. Since the birth of my first boy, who is now 10 years old, my weight has hovered about 30lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight. The extra jiggle, along with my stretch marks and other unmentionables (like muffin-top and saggy tush), always made me uncomfortable. In fact, I preferred to be as covered as possible, even when alone. I wanted to hide everything that I felt ashamed of.
But not anymore.
I began to be more careful about what I put into my body. I began to carve out time to exercise. I began to see my body change.
I already feel better in my own skin. I can see a difference in myself, in my energy, in how I feel and how my body responds. However, that will never remove the stretch marks. That will never tighten skin that will always hang and sag. Since I am not a fan of going under the knife myself (because I am an enormous coward where slicing body parts is concerned) I knew I would have to try something else. I would have to learn to love my body the way it is. So I signed up for a boudoir session.
I know that seems counter-intuitive, but to me it made perfect sense. What better way to remind myself that I am a sexy woman? I would have my hair and makeup done, put on something daring and fabulous, and step in front of a camera with nothing to hide my flaws behind.
The experience was phenomenal.
As soon as we began, as the photographer walked me though each shot and guided each pose, giving me compliments and encouragement. I didn't feel like a desperate housewife whose t-shirt has spaghetti stains on it. I felt empowered. I felt sexy. I remembered the woman who walked out onto the dance floor and caught the man of her dreams. For about and hour and a half, I was a siren.
When I walked out of the photo shoot and towards my car, I felt an extra glow. I had done it! And, man, I felt GOOD about it! In fact, as I was walking, a stranger paused next to me and said, "You are a beautiful woman."
I was able to take the compliment graciously, instead of diverting it because I didn't feel as if I deserved it. He was right. I AM a beautiful woman. And I will keep telling myself that, repeating it every time I start to feel like that pooch in my tummy is really hanging too far over the edge of my jeans, or that my c-section scar is grotesque, or mourn for the loss of a perky chest. And guess what?
Beginning to feel sexy again isn't simply the work of a boudoir shoot, it's also a conversation that I have to have with myself daily.
The boudoir shoot was the catalyst, the springboard. And every time I see those photos, I am reminded that I AM a sexy woman. I am sexy because I realize that my body is beautiful. It's a body that has been the vehicle for bringing life into this word. I should feel confident in that. And confidence is the sexiest attribute a woman can have.
And that is why I am recommending boudoir photography to YOU.
Not just because your husband will love it...which he WILL. Trust me on that.
But because it's time to embrace every part of your body, to realize that those unique features are NOT flaws, and to show yourself that your body is not something to be ashamed of.
Walk into the session with your bag full of fabulous outfits feeling a bit nervous, kinda self-conscious but hopeful-and place yourself into the hands of your makeup artist. Feel pampered while you get your hair done. Wear something daring, and let your photographer give you the direction, encouragement and compliments that will help you relax into a sexy vixen. Walk out of your session feeling confident, and knowing deep down that YOU ARE SEXY.
And any time you start to doubt that, have a look at your amazing photos to remind yourself.
If you want to dive deeper into learning to love and appreciate your body, along with the uniquely beautiful bodies of other women, go on over to the A Beautiful Body Project of Photographer Jade Beall. Her work is lovely, real, and spearheading a movement of women by women to take back the image of our bodies from the media and to remind ourselves and everyone else that no matter what shape, age, color or size...our bodies are BEAUTIFUL.
Because of this movement...I wore a bikini this summer for the first time since I was a teenager. Stretchmarks and all :-)