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Getting Out From Behind The Lens

I've always been petite, with the exception of when I was pregnant or had recently given birth. I have spent most of my time enjoying what I now understand to be the privileges of being thin. It was relatively easy to date, I was respected at work, my kids' teachers all assumed we lead a healthy lifestyle, etc.

That all changed for me after my fourth pregnancy. Whether it was age related, or because I didn't breastfeed (this was a surrogate pregnancy), or if it was because I just didn't have the time to focus on myself anymore, I didn't lose the pregnancy weight.

I went from being 105 lbs pre baby to being 165 lbs. On my 5'1" frame, that made me a plus size person.

I spent the next 2 years trying diets and hiding my body. I felt so much shame when I would see people I knew, or would have to interact with people that I believed were judging me for being overweight.

At some point I came to the realization that I could either be unhappy or I could choose to accept this new body and embrace this new version of me. There wasn't a specific moment, but just a gradual shift towards wanting to feel whole again.

Of course, self acceptance has been more of a journey than a destination. There's been lots of times when I have seen myself in the mirror, or in photos and felt taken aback by just how big I am. I know so many of you can relate to that feeling.

As a part of my journey I endeavoured to take some self portraits. These photos to me represent self acceptance. They represent giving myself the love that I deserve to have. They even represent a sense of sex appeal that I didn't know was possible in this new body.

Most people who know me, know that I don't particularly love to be photographed. Even when I was thin, I hid from the camera. The thing I've come to realize is that having photographic proof that you have lived is important for everyone. When I look back at these photos they show me that I was alive and doing brave things.

Another brave thing is sharing these photos. It's my sincerest wish that you will see yourself in these and know that you too are capable of self acceptance.

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