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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > September 2019 > Hello beautiful

Hello beautiful

Two pregnancies and a tragedy left Emma Coxon overweight, and struggling with self-loathing. Would a naked photo shoot help her heal?

Standing in front of the mirror, I study my body with mixed emotions. Over the past four years, I have put on five stone and become someone I don’t recognise. I still feel like me inside, but my body is heavy and cumbersome and I’m constantly tired. When I see a photo of myself, I can’t believe it’s me. I feel lazy and a failure for this weight gain. Yet, if I allow the negative voice in my head to quieten for a few moments, there is compassion underneath, reminding me of what this body has been through.

As real life often is, these four years have been a roller coaster of incredibly happy and painfully challenging times. There was joy at marrying my wonderful husband and moving to a thatched cottage in the countryside, a place I feel I truly belong. Yet, along the way, there were periods of acute anxiety that hit me like a freight train and brought me to my knees. Losing and giving birth to twin boys at 20 weeks’ pregnant, my priority was comfort, to keep my head above water emotionally, rather than caring about what I looked like. I ate to take away the confusion and pain, and piled on the weight.

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