Jo had been struggling to appreciate and love her body after having kids, she's suddenly realised that 20 years had passed of her not even liking her body, something which is scarily common. Women will focus all their attention and energy on their loved ones, jobs, children etc. and not leave any left for themselves. By the time your kids have fled the nest, or other parts of your life have died down, you won't be able to remember the last time you did something for yourself.
The push to get in touch
"I think most women have a really bad idea of what they think they look like, and I'm no different. I had surgery a year ago, I had my gallbladder removed (which left ugly scars which has only left me feeling worse about my body) and I've had three kids, so I look back at photos of when I was in my 20's and I was you know, young, fit and amazing and then obviously now I've got into my 40's, I was a bit like “I don't really like myself very much” I forgot who I was, really. So I actually came to do this portrait session to just see how other people saw me, rather than just looking at myself."
When Jo arrived for her session, as most women are, she was terrified! That soon changed once she relaxed and realised she had nothing to be afraid of.
Whilst we were having a look at images before her session, she failed to connect the fact that the images she was seeing - were what her photos were going to look like. She believed that her portraits would be some lower level of photo than the ones we were showing her. Spoiler alert : she was wrong.
"I was so nervous coming in, as I think probably everyone is. Before the session I saw the really lovely photos and I remember thinking “I'm never gonna look that good” and you know, not really believing in myself and that sort of thing. So I was very, very nervous about it, for sure."
Seeing her photos
When she came back to view her images, Jo had some last minute nerves, the thought of having to look at herself in photos was not something she wanted to do, in the slightest.
"I think I was fine, until about half an hour before I walked in the door, because I knew that obviously the images were gonna be of me and obviously when I'd come in before they were of of other people and I was admiring those and I didn't know how I would feel about actually seeing myself in the photos. But I was very pleased about it because they're amazing!"
"I actually appreciate my body a lot more now, I've now seen it in different angles that I haven't really looked at before. I know that I had my hair and make-up done on the day, but actually the photos are of ME and I should start believing in myself that I am pretty and actually quite hot."
A few final words of inspiration from Jo
"Just do it. Even if you're really nervous and you think that it's not a good idea, come and do it, enjoy the experience, and start believing in yourself because everyone's amazing."
The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.
It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.
It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.
And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.
We are now taking submissions to be a part of the Embrace Your Body project from October onwards!