My friend Justine is an extremely talented photographer so when she offered up a boudoir photoshoot in order to build her portfolio I was intrigued. The boudoir aspect was intimidating though. When I think of boudoir photography I think of corsets and platform heels and strands of pearls and false eyelashes and red satin. There's nothing wrong with any of those things. They're just not me.

Justine had something else in mind entirely. Her goal was to use light and shadows and keep things really natural.

These photos were taken a week and a half after my second surgery. I almost cancelled because I was still a sad, stressed out, puffy mess but a small part of me felt like putting on lace knickers and forcing myself out of my comfort zone, and pretending for a couple hours that I wasn't a frumpy housewife, would at the very least provide a nice distraction.

I wasn't expecting to have so much fun. Justine is hilarious and made me feel so comfortable with a body I struggle to love. I'm awkward and a bit nerdy but Justine made me feel relaxed and beautiful. At one point she told me to "channel my inner sexy" and I couldn't help but laugh because please, have you met me? But then I saw these photos and I'm beginning to think that I may have an inner sexy and Justine found it.

I sometimes hate this broken body of mine. It's difficult not to when my scar is so prominent and unavoidable when I look in the mirror. Hormone replacement therapy and comfort eating has earned me twenty extra pounds in the last two years (I'm cringing as I type that). My deflated baby bump is visible in these shots. My hair is patchy and my skin is dry. But I don't see any of that when I look at these photos. I see a balance of strength and softness that I didn't know I possessed.

I don't mean to get all "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" on you here but I honestly feel differently about myself after doing a boudoir shoot. It's not about stripping down and taking photos in my bra and underoos. It's about loving this broken body and celebrating all it can do instead of hating how it fails me and how I fail it (I say as I eat another brownie.)

If you're interested in boudoir or family or wedding/engagement photography, I highly recommend you check out Justine's work. She's a damn ninja with her camera as well as being a genuinely nice person.

Justine B Photography / Instagram / Facebook