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Danielle’s Story – from Heartache to Heartwarming

July 5, 2023

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From Struggle to Empowerment

Hey y’all! My name is Danielle, I’m 23 years old. I am a nurse, a wife and a mom to two sweet angel babies in heaven.

Brunette leaning against the windows in Elevation Boudoir's Studio in downtown Tuscaloosa AL wearing a black lingerie outfit

My story is long, but I believe that somewhere, somehow it will reach someone that needs it.

I had a rough childhood, like a lot of us did. Skipping some details, I lost my dad to cancer at 18, got married to a man that I thought was my whole world, miscarried our child, dealt with mental and emotional abuse, then divorced at 21.

Whatever self confidence I had, was completely obliterated. I was told I was not worthy of being loved, that I was worthless. I fell into things that I shouldn’t have, but did whatever to fill the gaping hole I had, even if it was temporary.

Then comes along my amazing (now) husband. I pushed him away so much, I felt like I was undeserving of the love that he was giving me. I’ve never been confident in myself, much less my body. I’ve always been smaller, I’ve never had the figure that society envisions as “perfect”. I don’t have the curves, or the boobs or butt. Always teased even in school of how I was too small.

After about a year of my husband and I being together, I found out I was pregnant. As ecstatic as I was, I was terrified because of the previous miscarriage I had with my ex-husband. We got no answers, I was young, I was told “it just happens sometimes”. I was so worried that my now husband would not look at me as sexy anymore, granted y’all, childbirth is a beautiful thing. The fact that our bodies can do these things, grow a human, deliver this human. It’s beautiful. But it added to my insecurities. I could already tell after a couple weeks, my tummy growing, my hips getting bigger and widening and I was gaining weight in all the wrong places. My body was changing and I felt like me, but in someone else’s body.

Fast forward, at 8 weeks and 6 days I had an ultrasound done. It showed that our sweet baby was three weeks behind. Our doctor told us there was a 70% chance we had something called a “growth arrest” and a 30% chance that our baby just needed more time.

We waited a week, went back to the doctor and sure enough, our baby’s heart had never developed. We were scheduled for a D&C the next day.

Going home that day, I felt like it was my fault, as any woman would. I felt like my body was not doing something that it was supposed to do. That something in my body caused this.

We had the D&C, and our doctor was able to run some tests.

After going home, awaiting our results, my body was changing once again. I felt it. My tummy felt empty. And all the guilt came flooding in from all the times I felt insecure about my body growing to make room for our baby. My depression hit an all time low. Then we got a call from my doctor.

The tests detected Grade 3 Precancerous Internal Cervical Cells. I was told if I would have completed the pregnancy, I would have had cancer by the end of it. 23 years old. Cancer. Shocked does not do it justice. The test also detected something called Trisomy 15. Which is to be believed the cause of our baby’s growth arrest. Did you know? 70% of the time that specific genetic malformation is passed from the father. But under the circumstances, it’s believed that it’s an atypical gene that I carry.

Right after getting those results I saw the post about these story teller sessions. My husband, the amazing man that he is, Encouraged me to apply. I was so nervous because I’ve never done anything like this before. I was so nervous that I was not going to like what I saw in those pictures. All of the changes that have come about in just the last few months. But then I thought, I want to do something that will allow me to see myself the way that my husband does. I want to see myself in a way that I never have before. I knew that Rachel and Justin were the right people to help me achieve that.

It seems crazy y’all, I get told all the time “there’s no reason for you to feel insecure” ONLY because I’m small. But ladies, insecurity comes in all forms and fashions. It doesn’t matter your size, hair color, age. It’s about self love. Loving yourself and feeling good about yourself. And majority of the time, most of us ladies don’t love ourselves. We are so quick to pick out the things we hate before recognizing the things we love. I’ve never in my life felt SO out of body. Not like myself. and then I did this session.

When I saw those pictures, I couldn’t believe it was me. I saw a woman who has beaten so many childhood statistics, a woman that has picked up the broken pieces time and time again, on her OWN. a Woman that finally sees the beauty in all the pain. I saw someone strong, beautiful, and SEXY. something I never thought I would feel. I was not a mentally/emotionally broken down person anymore. I was someone that got up, fought her hardest everyday and came out on the other side better than ever. ALL FROM PICTURES. seeing this other side of yourself, is something unexplainable. all the love and thanks go to Rachel and Justin and the mission they have to do this for women. I sure walked out of there today feeling like I was on top of the world.

Thank you all for still reading, I hope somewhere my story will help someone along the way.
All my love,

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