About the Author: Surakhsha Soond is a chronic illness blogger, who uses her platform to talk about everything about chronic illness and what people may not know about it. From fatigue to mental health to body positivity, Surakhsha writes about all of it on her blog!This blog post is an excerpt from another post on her blog on body positivity with a stoma. If you like this post you will love her other content on her blog which you can find here, or her instagram (@gutsgigglesandmore).
All images below in this post are by Emmanuel Mah (Instagram: @mlbvision)
My name’s Surakhsha, I’m 24 years old and I have crohn’s disease. I also have a permanent ileostomy which I’ve had since the age of 19. I don’t say that for sympathy, I say it for inspiration.
I've had a stoma for over 4 years now and for the past couple of years I have been wanting to do a little photoshoot to boost my self-esteem and remind myself that I can be both confident in myself and look great with a stoma. As a young woman one of my biggest fears was not having that ‘perfect’ body,
When I was told I was going to have a bag for the rest of my life, it didn't really register at first. I never thought about how I would look, and I certainly never thought about whether I'd be able to look good or feel confident ever again. Once I did start coming to terms with a permanent change, I wondered if anyone would ever find me attractive and as a young woman, I don’t think anyone should ever have to think that the way they look is dependent on whether or not they find love.
My body had been through a lot and I was not about to make myself go through any more trauma and be constantly negative about my body image. It took time but eventually, I accepted my new body and the way it looked. Don't get me wrong, I do sometimes grieve my flat, bagless tummy and I do have bad days where I feel like I look a state. I’m only human at the end of the day but truth be told if I chose not to have a stoma I most likely wouldn't be here today. I realised that the key to loving myself is acceptance. I became much happier and I genuinely feel like once I learned to love myself, everything else fell into place.
The funniest thing is, people are actually a lot more understanding than I ever thought they would be. I’ve not (yet) come across anyone who’s not been accepting of my stoma, at the end of the day it’s a part of me now.
The aim of the shoot was to feel good about the way I look now, to uplift other women and show them that you can still be sexy with a stoma!
You can see a few of my favourites below...
Having this photoshoot helps me with my not so confident days, I'll take a look at them and remember how much of a baddie I felt like. I look amazing and I'm so happy to have done this. I really hope this reaches someone and helps them accept their new body too. Remember, you can have a stoma and still be sexy. Be proud, be confident, be positive.
I really hope this reaches someone and helps them accept their new body too. Remember, you can have a stoma and still be sexy. Be proud, be confident, be positive.
Lots of love,