Since I married James in 1991, I’ve been every size, from a 12 to a 20, but at no point have I felt completely happy with my appearance. Yet through all those years of yo-yo dieting my husband has always told me I am the most beautiful woman he knows. He buys me pretty underwear and tells me I’m sexy, but still I beat up myself over my curves.
I’ve no idea how Anthony will react when I give him the pictures: they’re a gift for our first wedding anniversary. He’ll either love them or think it’s vain and self-indulgent. I want him to remember that the girl he married 12 months ago is still full of surprises. That I am daring and unpredictable, and perfectly capable of running off and having a stark naked picture taken without telling him first.
I’ve always hated my legs — I’m convinced they are bigger and chunkier than they actually are — but seeing the shots made me realise it’s all in my head.
I know my body is far from perfect, but having these photographs taken is a way of teaching me not to agonise over my looks.
These pictures are proof that the real me is alive and kicking again.
At first, that picture tormented me. I was barely functioning at the time — just getting out of bed and pulling on clean clothes felt like a huge effort.
Suddenly, that picture gave me something to aim for. So as soon as I lost my baby weight, I vowed to have another set of nude photographs taken as gift for Matt to show him that he has his wife back again.
I was more nervous this time. My body has carried and breastfed two more children. I’m normally obsessed with my stretch marks and the way my body has changed after having children, but, in fact, I realised these ‘battle scars’ are a celebration of my life, how far I’ve come and the beautiful children I’ve carried.
As I stood there naked, I felt really good about myself. And I’m more proud of these pictures than the ones taken when I was so much younger.
My body and I have been through so much and these photographs are testament to the fact I’ve survived.
I will hang my favourite on the wall next to the old photograph with great pride