Downs Side Up Uncovered - the Shoot

After Kate @kateonthinice who writes the Naked Mum blog persuaded me to join her one naked mum a month drive to celebrate our mummy bodies, I decided to tie it in with World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March, the theme being LOTS OF SOCKS or different socks as we are calling it in our house, for everyone is different.

While I was at it I thought I might as well raise funds as well as awareness, so I am collecting monies for the vital work of Down Syndrome International, the Down's Syndrome Association and the Cornwall Downs Syndrome Support Group.

And so the wheels were set in motion. These things are always organic, I never have an end plan, I just follow my nose. 

The wife of a former employer is a supremely talented and professional photographer Maryna Halton of Photograph by Maryna, who happens to specialise in boudoir photography. Although not the natural Mummy look we were trying to achieve, she was used to snapping naked bodies, putting semi clad women at ease and had 'seen it all before' so to speak. She very kindly offered her skills for free. 

So too did her partner Julie Wieczorek of Angel Face, expert mineral make-up artists on Miss World.

Julie applies make-up to a trembling Hayley

A local film maker also offered his services, and Geoff's video clip of the preparations and why I did it is at the bottom of this page.

Suddenly there was a team involved in Downs Side Up Uncovered. The sponsorship started rolling in and there was no going back. Gulp

As the day dawned and the props had been gathered, the nerves increased. I'd made my reasons for doing the shoot clear in Downs Side Up Uncovered, showing the bodies of mums of children with disabilities are like any other, that I lay my feelings bare in the blog, that I am not just a campaigner and Mum but a woman and wife as well.

The day began, the nerves soon abated, but I was astonished at how emotional I found moments of the day. Tears welled in my eyes. What I hadn't foreseen were the stories of those helping out, the reasons behind why they wanted to help.

I hadn't twigged either, that the last time I had been naked in front of near strangers was at the birth of darling Natalia. My body was remembering. I thought too about the families we support and what the day was all about and the tears pricked more, a kind of pride too I guess.

Then of course there are the emotions associated with getting older. The last time I took a really good look at myself naked was probably about 10 years ago and I didn't have to suck my tummy in then. Now, at 43 years one has to work a bit harder to look effortlessly natural, or maybe it just doesn't matter as much what you look like. Priorities have shifted significantly.

Hayley clings to her trusty dressing gown

And so, we did it. We spent 5 hours, doing different poses and locations. We all felt washed out at the end, nervous to get it right, not offend anyone, to produce artistic, tasteful images that portray the real woman. I haven't seen the pictures yet, Maryna is looking through them now. We'll choose the best and  send one over to Kate for her blog next month. Perhaps we'll reveal the others slowly as the charity funds mount up in the pot. Maybe a newspaper would like to feature one and champion our cause. Who knows. 

For now, here is the first of the behind the scenes pictures of the naked mum that is Hayley Goleniowska.