Today, July 1st, 2020 I have my 10 years living in Denmark-anniversary. After all, it feels like home and the moments where I miss Hamburg and Germany are now only connected to special people I miss in my life here in Denmark.
I remember my last day at work in Hamburg like it was yesterday. I remember the tears streaming down my cheeks while my sweet Dane drove me across the German/Danish border to live with him in Denmark. The sun was setting late evening and I had no clue what was waiting for me. I had given up my job, my life and myself (for a moment) and had to find myself again in a totally different set-up.
I wish I had known what I know today about living in this beautiful country, which I don't think I will ever leave again. It has changed me in so many ways. I have grown and I am proud to live here.
And those of you who know me also know, that the Danish health system had its challenges for me a lot of times - however, it changed me totally. But I will get back to that part a little later.
Since I gave birth to two children - all by myself (however with the great support of my superman!) - I felt the urge to claim my right to like the body I live in. Grey hair, a bit more weight, some wrinkles. Why the heck should I feel bad about this?
Body Image has become a more and more important topic to me. Especially because I am raising boys, which I want to guide into becoming kind, accepting, listening and mature men who treat other people - and women - kindly and who actually like themselves too.
Body Images is a sensitive topic for many people all over the world - not only women but I feel it needs to be addressed way more than it is and especially women after birth are having a lot of issues with their changing bodies.
With my own birth experiences, something changed in me. I became another person and I was so amazed by what my body actually could do. It changed my view and attitude about birth radically. For sure this is one reason why I am a birth photographer today, and I am on fire for it.
For me today there is nothing more empowering than the process of birth.
During the last years, whenever I heard other women complain about their bodies, I felt this deep inner disagreement - especially with women who had carried one or several kids, birthed and nurtured them with their bodies and their minds.
I couldn't understand how you wouldn't give your body the credit that it deserves for such an achievement.
To be honest, when we expected our first child in 2013 here in Denmark, I expected to buy myself a c-section. I was shocked, when the Danish midwife told me, that this was only an emergency option - I would have to give birth naturally - with pain relief if I wanted to. I panicked for some days, but then I picked myself up and prepared as well as I could for what was to come.
Luckily I was able to experience the mind-blowing transformation that happens during birth.
Within only 6 years my point of view changed drastically. I am living proof.
Since I was a teeneger, I have been very critical towards my body. And I didn't think or talk very caring about myself. Today I regret it and wish I had know earlier, how amazing our bodies really are. However, many years went by and I would first learn this at 35 years.
Birth is raw and the process can be very revealing. During birth, you don't only birth another human being, you also give birth to yourself as a new version - a mother. That definitely happened to me and there went even more years until I realized it.
Carrying children, breastfeeding and no sleep during longer periods of time leave footprints on a body. Luckily I found a way to love my body for what it is capable of AND I am healthy today at 42 years.
This is worth celebrating - instead of being hard on myself everyday, because my looks might not exactly be what I imagine or see in the media. And this applies to EVERY SINGLE WOMAN.
Unfortunately, a lot of women don't feel this way. They feel bad about getting older, they don't want to tell reveal their age, celebrate their birthdays full-on or even feel ugly and want to hide.
The moment where girls or women hate their bodies or feel ashamed to show up in their lives properly, I get very upset. Especially if those feelings are based on a body image that has nothing to do with reality.
Every woman has the right to feel confident and happy in her own skin. Not matter what that skin looks like.
Based on all those thoughts I carried around for some years now, suddenly I got an idea. A crazy one.
I needed to get in front of my camera for once in my life - and make a statement about this. With my flaws, my scars and my ordinary body of a woman - postpartum 2 kids. I do not want to hide, I want to go to the beach and feel good.
And I do.
Or do you hide?
And then something incredible happened (article continues below the image...)
After I had convinced my good friend to shoot my naked images in a grainfield one late evening and finally edited the images - I posted a few of them in a closed photographers group that is based on telling stories through their images. And the feedback was amazing.
The women in this group said THANK you to me (I still am amazed about that), for giving them the inspiration and a push to re-think their own body image. The feedback was overwhelming.
One of the first responses was of the founder of the group, amazing Twyla Jones from http://www.twylajones.com/. She reached out to me and wanted to feature my images in a blog article on her page http://emotionalstorytelling.com/blog/ under the category INSPIRING FEMME and Inspirational Self Portraits.
Wow. I didn't expect that. I have gained and still gain so much inspiration from that group and this was crazy.
Hell yes, I said thanks lady. I will do this.
Her words in the article 100% match my thoughts and I am proud to be a little part of a movement towards more acceptance and self-love. I my images can inspire only one woman to more self-acceptance, this was so worth it.
My message for you today: Find yourself a photographer or a good friend and document your body, your love or your family - you will be greatful many years from now.
Don't wait for a better moment.
The best moment to document now, is NOW.
Read the full article on Twyla's Blog here or click on the image below.
Thank you, Denmark.
Thank you to my sweet Dane.
Thank you to my boys.
Thank you to the Danish part of my family for the last 10.
I am looking forward to the next 10.