fear and anxiety

"Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to help you grow"
-Caroline Myss

I am about to have my second boudoir session in a couple of weeks.  I am nervous.  A lot has changed, with my body, since my last photo shoot.  The day after my first shoot, I found out I was pregnant, and now I have a four month old.  My face is rounder, and I am the heaviest I have been with the exception of when I was pregnant.  My skin is a little saggy, and I have a hard time finding that line between my chin and my neck, it all just sort of blends together.

My body isn't even mine right now.  When you have a baby, you don't feel great after.  I have had many conversations with women about this, and some feel back to normal after a couple of weeks; but more commonly, it takes up to a year. There is a loss of sexuality, a loss of belonging in your own body and it is a very uncomfortable feeling.  Sometimes it even hurts to wear clothes.  Not in the way that it hurts me emotionally, but physically uncomfortable to be clothed.  I find myself pulling on my outfits a lot.  Usually when I get home from the studio, it is a race to get back into my nursing pajamas and sweatpants, just to find a little comfort.

Needless to say, the thought of doing a boudoir session, when I feel like this, is so incredibly scary, I can't quite put my fear into words.  I know I am not alone, and I know this is natural to feel this way... but it doesn't mean that I have to like it.  Right?  But I feel that it is so important for me to capture my body like this.  All of the new curves, lumps, sags, and everything else.  Because I know that it can be photographed beautifully.

I can tell you that I am excited to have my stretch marks photographed.  I think they are beautiful.  I am also excited to look back on this session twenty years from now.  I will be 56 at that point.  I really hope that 56 year old Jes is proud of 36 year old Jes.  I am excited to show my daughter Emily, all of my sessions.  That may seem weird to some of you, but I fully believe that boudoir is not about sex, it is about building confidence.  I am going to teach my daughter that the female body is beautiful in all shapes and forms.

My husband asked me my reason for another session.  My answer was because I had a baby, I needed to, and I need to often.  Even though I am afraid, and even though my body doesn't belong to me right now, I need to... for myself, for my husband, for my daughter, and for all women.  No, me doing a boudoir session is not going to change the world, but it will start the healing process for me... and maybe it might inspire another woman, who is feeling the same way and alone, to do the same.

I am still afraid, and that is ok... but I am ready.

image of boudoir photographer Jes Hayes at her studio in Duluth, MN