"It's been years since the moment I got the news from my doctor that would change my life forever. The moment that my self-worth as a woman and my confidence crashed and burned.
My husband and I had dreamt of having a family for a while already but only had been trying to get pregnant actively for about a year. Without success. I wasn't terribly worried though. My cycle had always been a little irregular, so I was already guessing that we may need a little help in conceiving. At that point, I could have never imagined that things would be so fundamentally wrong. I felt completely healthy, and I have always taken care of my body.
Wanting to speed up the process of getting pregnant, I made an appointment with a specialist. But already during a first ultrasound, the doctor realised that everything wasn't as it should be, and he sent me to the lab for a blood test.
The results came in the following Monday. And for the rest of my life, I will probably remember that day.
My ovarian reserved had diminished. Menopause had set it in early, I was 30 years old. None of the regular treatments to help a woman get pregnant would help in my case. I remember how everything got dark in front of my eyes. It was hard to breath, my head was spinning. I couldn't understand what this meant. I can't have my own child, ever. My world changed at once and has never quite been put back together since.
I blamed myself. How could I have missed the signs? Why didn't I get myself checked much sooner? Why on earth did we wait this long to try and have a child?
We had received a harsh personal reminder of the fact that life can never be planned completely. Since then we have tried and push through. To help each other through the pain and loss, and to move on in the best way we can. It is like someone has died, but there is no grave to mourn at. We will never meet our little one. We will never know how they would have looked like, what kind of person they would have grown into. Which features they would have got from their dad and which ones from me.
In addition to the sorrow this has caused me, my inability to become a mom and the early onset menopause have had a deep effect on my self-esteem and the way I feel like a woman. I am disappointed in my body for not being able to do what it's supposed to. I feel like I'm part of that natural selection. Discarded. I have had to learn to accept myself again, to be kind to myself and my body. It has been a long journey for me to see myself as beautiful again and to embrace my womanhood - and to understand that this doesn't make me somehow worse than others or worthless.
I don't know if I will ever feel myself as complete in my womanhood again, but in front of Pauliina's camera I have found parts of that old feeling again. The boudoir shoots with her, and seeing the end result in these photos have been a big part of my journey back to myself. I have started to accept my body the way it is, and I have started to love it again."