Guest Post - Nicole
Hello! Welcome to a Guest Post written by one of my best friends; Nicole! Nicole has become an amazing mother to two beautiful daughters and I am so thankful she was willing to share these thoughts on my blog.
Boundaries are Made to be Broken
The title of this blog post sounds like it should be inspirational and uplifting, but in reality it is about how bloody terrified I was to do a boudoir shoot.
December 2, 2015 I became a mother of two, to two beautiful girls. After having babies your body is never the same and it’s almost like being a teenage girl again as you’re trying to figure out who you are now and what you can/can’t wear. Months leading up to the birth of my second daughter I was so concerned about how I was going to juggle two children so close in age (16-month age gap) that my identity was becoming that of a mother of two. Which is not at all a bad thing, but when it came to taking care of myself and my self identity was virtually non-existent, especially after the baby was born.
Months came and went, juggling two very young children took up my very existence. I was beginning to forget what it felt like to wear make-up, go outside to run some quick errands without the 20-minute preparation to leave the house. I was feeling the need to do something for myself, feel sexy and beautiful again. But, who was I kidding, a mother can’t be selfish and do something for herself that doesn’t revolve around her kids can she? I put the thought to the back of my head, but it kept eating away at me until one day I saw that one of my friends had done a bra and panty modelling. If she could do it, why can’t I, as she was also a mother.
There was a post that I found on one of my swap and buy Facebook groups that a local boudoir photographer was looking for water boudoir models. I had mulled it over for a couple of hours and talked it over with some friends and got their opinions, and of course they were supportive. With my new found confidence and inspiration from my friends, I sent in my head shot (which was just a bad selfie) and sent an explanation about why I wanted to do this shoot. Then I hit send, and it hit me. What the hell did I just do. All the negative thoughts came through my head, what if the photographer decides to use my photos from the shoot and is used in promotional material and it comes across someone who knows me? Boudoir photos are meant to be intimate and the thought of someone from my past seeing these photos made me terrified. Once again I went to my trusty friends and my husband and they were all so proud, because this is something that I wouldn’t normally do. After calming down and not hearing anything for a couple of days, I got depressed. Was I too ugly? What if she was looking for smaller girls to do the shoot? Was there something wrong with me? The self hatred was beginning to set in, why would a boudoir photographer want me?
A week passed and I had accepted that I was not modelling material and went about my chaotic life. Then the phone rang, it was the boudoir photographer; she wanted me to do the water boudoir. I was ecstatic and was very eager to set-up the photo shoot. After getting the details from the photographer it sounded like it was going to be an all day event. I was a nursing mother and my baby needed me for food, and bringing her on the shoot was not an option. After penciling in my shoot with the photographer I called my husband to see what we could work out. The beautiful man that he is, booked the morning off of work so that I could do the shoot. Weight off my shoulders and a mix of excitement and dread set in weeks coming up to the photo shoot.
I went shopping and bought my first ever lingerie, being quite busty I knew that my options were going to be limited. Thankfully I was able to find something that would work for the photo shoot and for personal time with my husband (he was very excited about these purchases). I was now beginning to get excited about being able to do something that was exclusively for me.
When the morning of the shoot came, I was giddy. Someone else was going to be watching my girls and take care of them so that I could go and do something that made me feel like a better version of myself instead of tired run down mom. I went the salon and I got my make up and hair done by a professional, she was lovely. When the photographer got there, she was so sweet. I felt so at home with the both of them that I forgot that we weren’t all friends, as we were talking about music, Pokemon, kids, boyfriends/husbands etc. When the makeup and hair were done, I loved what she had done and I didn’t recognize myself. I had taken so many selfies because I had to be sure that the person starting back at me in the phone was in fact myself.
Since the photo shoot was water based, this meant that we had to go to a lake and pose for my photos in public. My first thought, was “is this legal”, and people were walking about and I was in my lingerie. Thankfully my photographer was amazing and got us immediately to work so that I didn’t have time to get self conscious, until an older couple started throwing their dog's ball right beside where I was posing in the water. This was really hard for me, it’s hard to pretend I am sexy and beautiful when there’s a golden lab running into the water not 10 feet away. I was trying hard to think of this as a sign saying that I look like a wet dog. Thankfully the photographer made me forget (I don’t know how she did) that I was wearing lingerie and that I was posing for basically anyone to see my intimate self. For the first time in a while, I wasn’t worried about my toddler, I wasn’t a source of food for a baby, I didn’t have to worry about naps, dinner or anything; I was just me. When the shoot was done I was actually sad that we couldn’t continue, but I had to get home to my children and get them lunch so that my husband could return to work.
The best part was that I would be able to see the photos the same day. I was very excited and nervous about seeing myself in this manner. When I got word that my photos were ready, I dropped off my toddler at a friend's place and took my baby to go and see the photos. Many thoughts were going through my head as I was driving to view the photos, “how fat will I look”, “what if I hate the photos”, “what kind of role model am I being for my girls”, “what if I hate what I see, what will the consequence of this photo shoot have on my already minimal confidence”. When I sat down to look at the photos, there were some that I HATED because I looked fat, my breasts are huge, why did I think I could do this and pull it off. The photographer obviously read my mind, and told me just how beautiful I was. I should be proud of the way I look and how proud she was of me to do this. I smiled appreciatively at her for saying such kind words that I knew were genuine. It was at that moment I was glad that I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone and made myself feel like me again.
I ended up keeping all the photos and gave them to my husband who was delighted with the photos. He too told me how proud he was. It was hard for me to not put my children first and to only think of myself, but after doing the shoot and talking about it, it made me realize that it is okay for mothers to put themselves first. In fact, in the long run it can create huge issues like resentment towards the children/husband because we are in fact our own people.
Photos taken by Katie Pahara Photography.