"It took a long time. It took finding a husband who found me irresistibly attractive. It took having babies, seeing the wonder my body could produce, and then the setback of accepting a postpartum body. And right when I was ready to embrace my body all over again, I suffered a complicated birth, one in which the statistics were not in my favor. During my painful recovery, and for months after, every time I looked in the mirror, I struggled with staring at a body that had failed me, a body that had failed to serve its natural womanly role of bringing a child into the world. And even the therapist I saw to help cope with my birth story dismissed my pain as nothing more than, “you just had a baby, and you’re nursing.”
It took a long time. It took turning to God and accepting, it took turning to my reflection in the mirror and accepting. It took an exercise routine and healthy diet that made me feel strong, healthy, and alive. It took the loving support of my husband, the sweet embrace of my incredible children. It took the realization that life is bumpy, and that while the potholes can hurt and damage, the healing that follows makes us fuller and more complete people.
It took realizing, as a kallah (bride) teacher, the importance of a healthy body image in a marriage. That women owe it to themselves and to their relationship to feel beautiful and sexy, and that I had to channel those feelings for myself in order to give them over to the kallot whom I teach.
It took another look in the mirror and the decision that my body did not actually fail me. My body fought and survived against the odds, and the knowledge that I possess that strength as well as how much I have to live for, that pushed me to want to celebrate the body that is mine. It took overcoming my anxiety to schedule a boudoir shoot, to see myself through a singularly talented photographer and, as I wrote to her, “to see myself the way my husband sees me.” Because, when I ask, my husband claims that he does not see my flaws. He sees a beautiful whole, the beautiful whole with whom his life is joined, the beautiful whole who carried and birthed his children, the beautiful whole who is his partner in everything. And now I have these stunning photographs as a constant reminder of my blessings. I owe that to Rebecca.
And finally, it took a reminder that timing is everything. A week after my boudoir shoot, I found out that I’m pregnant – I could not imagine a more perfect beginning to the next 9 months."
Kodak Film Processed & Scanned by Panda Labs