Boudoir After Baby: Channeling the “sexy” through the spit-up

I’ll be honest.

It’s not an easy task to maintain ANY level of sexy when the majority of your days involve no sleep, diaper changes, baby vomit, and the same pair of sweatpants.

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I remember being so hopeful in regards to my postpartum sex-appeal while I was still pregnant. (lol) It made sense for me, though. My pregnancy had its fair share of challenges and strife, as most pregnancies do. However, I did have a fond love of my pregnant body and felt beautiful (up until the last few weeks…).

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be bad. But being left with a deflated belly, an unexpected cesarean scar, stretch marks, and bad acne- almost overnight- was a lot harder to deal with once it was right in front of me. Add in the sole responsibility of a new, tiny human, a sprinkle of sheer exhaustion, subtract any showers or personal hygiene, and a super-size pack of adult diapers, and that- THAT was the reality of my post-baby self

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It’s crazy for me to think about now. I remember feeling so much pressure to act like I had my s&$% together after giving birth. I bought spanx for the first time. I would layer them over my belly band and squeeze into my post-baby jeans. I literally was still recovering from surgery, could barely walk, was STILL wearing diapers, AND I WAS WORRIED ABOUT MY APPEARANCE. *face palm* If I could get a time-machine purely to slap my self at this time, I would.

It’s OK to be easy on yourself and let yourself recover from childbirth. I think we forget that, and that is silly. Whether you pushed that watermelon of a baby out, or had your abdomen sliced into to retrieve it-

please realize, that if anyone deserves a break or downtime, IT’S YOU.

So, Mommas, be kind to yourself. Wear your husband’s baggy sweatshirts with pride. And when you are ready to summon your inner-goddess again, come back and read this.

It’s true, that being a mother means sacrifice. But, you shouldn’t sacrifice ALL of you. This is one of the hard lessons that I learned.

We are taught that we are “bad” moms if we allow our selves any personal pleasures. Hobbies, talents, and even careers are pushed aside when we pull the mom jeans on. We feel guilty when use any of our time on ourselves… which, after time, can result in running ourselves into the dirt.

Ladies, I’m here to tell you, it’s OK to take time for yourself. It’s OK to regain your confidence after having a baby. It’s OK to feel sexy again.

IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD MOM.

Your children need a happy, confident, and positive role model.

If that means putting on makeup during your baby’s nap time- then that’s OK.

If that means being a working mom and providing for your family- that’s OK.

If that means going to the gym and taking your child to the daycare- THAT’S OK.

(Are you catching on?)

Before I had my daughter I had dipped my toes into the “modeling” industry. I was no stranger to bikini and boudoir shoots.

But after I had my daughter, that really didn’t seem like an option to me anymore. I wasn’t happy with my body and I felt uncomfortable with the idea. Which, truthfully, saddened me. Photography, beauty, cameras, make-up… If you know me, you know that these are things I loved. So, would I really need to give this all up now because I am a Mom?

I met Mackenzie Kessler by chance, when someone tagged me in her Facebook post looking for a couple to photograph in Saint George. Accepting that bridal shoot was one of the first steps I took into regaining a bit of the “old” me. After months of struggle, anxiety, self-doubt, and depression, confidence I hadn’t felt in a long time came back. It was nice.

We created a friendship and I later learned that she also specialized in Boudoir Photography. I remember thinking, “Oh that’s cool. I have several friends that I could send her way for that.”

And a few weeks later, it hit me…

Why not me?

SO, eight months after I had my baby, I did a boudoir shoot.

And this is what happened…

(Warning: BOUDOIR PICTURES BELOW. If you don’t want to see them… don’t look.)

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Presley’s Birthday and the stretchies she gave me. ❤

One of my biggest motivations in following through this shoot was to love and celebrate my new “mom bod”, so I asked Mackenzie to keep all my stretch marks and keep my body “as-is”- meaning no crazy photo shop. Which, she gladly obliged.

When she sent me the pictures, I almost cried- for real. After so many times of being sad at my reflection, I had these pretty images to love. I turned these- and more (not all of the pictures I am sharing with you!) into a beautiful book for my husband. (I never got to give him one before our wedding). After all we had survived together the past year, it was a small and pretty token that we had walked out of it all with.

I loved these images and how Mackenzie made the process so painless and FUN, that I wanted to share more about her with you- and the idea of a boudoir shoot.

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Mackenzie Kessler

Share a little bit about YOU. Who you are, and how you got started into boudoir photography. What is your favorite part of being a photographer?

My name is Mackenzie Kessler and I specialize in boudoir and wedding photography. I will start by saying that I have always loved taking photos of family and friends. I seriously have 19 photo albums between junior high and high school but I never dreamed that I would turn that passion into a business. 

I started my business after trying to find a boudoir photographer for myself. I wanted to give a boudoir book to my husband as a wedding gift. After doing some research on boudoir photographers in my area, they were way out of my price range. I thought, “I shouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars just to get some sexy pictures of myself.”

So I grabbed my camera, a willing friend, some cute outfits and away we went. I changed all the settings on the camera, put myself into a pose and told her to point and shoot. The images were awesome! Quickly after, she wanted a boudoir shoot, then her coworkers and next thing I know, I started a Facebook page with some of the photos. Overnight, I had inquires about my pricing and where my studio was. 

I jumped into action and Bashful Boudoir Photography was born! Right away, I knew that I wanted it to be affordable for EVERYONE to do a shoot. So, I have a variety of packages starting at $400.

It’s a crazy time we live in today’s world. There are insane pressures from social media to look a certain way. As a Boudoir Photographer, someone who sees REAL women’s bodies on a consistent basis, what do you have to say about what is portrayed in the media? Do you feel pressured to edit your pictures a certain way or to change the way your clients look?

Social media is a beast and it’s not real life! It’s so visual and everyone is trying to compete. Magazines, T.V. shows and celebrities are always pushing the “ideal body”. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, that’s NOT how real women look. Photoshop is such a powerful tool and I personally feel that it’s used incorrectly.
Yes, I use Photoshop and Lightroom for my editing. I remove blemishes, bruises, scars and even out the skin tones. However, I refuse to “take a few pounds off” or “make your waist smaller.” That is not who you are and I believe so strongly in feeling powerful, sexy and confident in the body you’re already rockin!

I think it’s become fairly normal to book a boudoir shoot for someone before getting married… however, when else do your clients come to you to book a shoot?

I think you would be surprised at the mix of clients I get.

Yes, I get the clients who want to do a shoot as a wedding gift but there are so many other reasons as to why my clients do a boudoir shoot.  You can do a shoot for an anniversary, birthday gift, Valentines Day or Christmas gift, or maybe you just got that revenge bod and want to have the photos for your self. I have had a few women who are young, single and just want to look and feel beautiful for the day! Really, there are NO guidelines for having a reason to do a boudoir shoot.

We did our boudoir shoot when I was about eight months postpartum… Do you see a lot of new moms booking with you? If you don’t- why do you think that is? What would you want to tell a new mom who was “afraid” of getting in front of the camera after having a baby?

I have had a handful of new moms come for a shoot but I wish I saw more. After talking with friends and clients who are new moms, what I hear most is “my body doesn’t look like it used to and I don’t feel sexy.”  Well hello, you just created a beautiful human and that’s something to celebrate!!
I think that most new mommas are worried about the few extra pounds they gained, stretch marks and even scars.
Listen, getting in front of a camera in your skivvies is pretty uncomfortable for a lot of people. However, I have done hours and hours of research on posing every body type so that it looks amazing. I do a phone consultation with all of my clients and we talk about trouble areas and what outfits you can wear to draw attention away from those spots.
If you decide to do a boudoir shoot, please trust your photographer! I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t feel good vibes during that phone consultation, don’t book with them. You must be able to trust that they will make you look and feel like a million bucks.  You deserve it!

If you want to learn more about Mackenzie and stay up with her photography, follow her Instagram Pages here and here.

I think women celebrating their bodies and feeling beautiful are amazing things! Who’s with me?

XOXO,

Ruth Lee

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