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I’ve FINALLY learned to love myself the way I need to

Love the skin you're in.

HEADS UP! This article contains adult language.

In December 2017, Natalie Amber Freegard was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and had emergency ileostomy surgery to save her life. She decided to publicly post her pictures on Facebook and talk about her surgery, body image issues, and lessons about self-love.

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This picture was taken in February and do you know what, it’s taken me fucking ALL year to post this, but I’ve been feeling so so so positive lately, and I’ve FINALLY learnt to love myself the way I need to, and so FUCK IT. So, not only in December did I wake up to find out I was on life support after being bloody resuscitated and having kidney failure and sepsis. I woke up to a stoma bag. This is all because of misdiagnosis. I didn’t learn for weeks. I was out of it. My whole world shattered my heart. I’m a model and a dancer, it was just like, what the actual fuck my body is ruined. I cried for months and months. I felt so ugly and just hated it. I could not look at my body or anything. I felt so vile. And it has taken me so long to be GRATEFUL for my little stoma friend who I’ve named her "IT" lol. Because she SAVED MY LIFE. Yes, she's a fucking pain as she leaked in London not long ago BUT she also changed me into a better person! Me and IT are nearly at the end of the road, in November she gets taken away and the stoma bag is gone forever. BUT I will not forget this experience and what she has taught me and I will always remain positive. And this person I’ve become now I’m actually proud. So what I’m saying is love the skin your in. Don’t give a shit what anyone says. We are all beautiful with or without body imperfections, and this is why I’m constantly preaching and trying to make a change for Crohn's disease, not because I wanna shout out about it, but because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I want to say thank you to everyone who still loved me with the shit bag and tried to boost my confidence and make me feel good. Like it makes me cry to write this post cause this is just something that consumed me. But how can I preach to others and make them be confident and love themselves if I wasn’t doing it myself? ALSO, Jasmine Haakerson if I didn’t have you to guide me when I was learning I would’ve been fucked. I am so thankful for you. I admired you for so long and every day I prayed for the day I could be like you and not be ashamed of IT. I’m finally there. I love you!

Natalie is a model, dancer, and performer with over a decade of experience in acting and commercial roles. She completed her professional training at The Wilkes Academy and Liberatus School of Performing Arts in Wiltshire, UK.