Ferna Says I am More Than My Numbers

Apr 4, 2017 | Emotional Support, Hurray for Lingerie, More Than My Numbers | 0 comments

Meet Ferna. Her story in the More Than My Numbers project is a little different than most. Many of the numbers that other women listed as defining them, or having struggled with in the past, were on Ferna’s list, too. And one number stood out: 2. Ferna is a sweet, caring, creative person. Soon, she’ll be a mother for the first time. But this is not her first marriage. Like many women in the USA, Ferna has been divorced. And 2, the number of marriages she’s had, has loomed over her as something negative. It almost halted her from really putting herself out there to find a wonderful partner. Almost halted her from creating a baby. Almost discouraged her to be and share as her full, wonderful self. I applaud Ferna for her bravery and her beauty. She shows us what is really true: that the number of partners, husbands, lovers, or marriages you’ve had do not define you. Hurray! Read Ferna’s story and watch her video, and see how you can get involved to inspire other women, too.

Special guest appearance by the first male to be a part of the More Than My Number’s project – Ferna is expecting a baby boy 🙂

Name: Ferna 

Age: 39

Hometown or background: lives in Astoria, New York by way of Austin, Texas

Where can we connect with you? 

  • Instagram: @fernabear
  • Twitter: @FernaZahsum

Q: What made you decide to share your numbers and your story in the More Than My Numbers project?

A: The More Than My Numbers project speaks to me on many levels, both as someone who has let numbers define me far too often, as well as someone who has a current goal of challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone. Putting into words how I’ve let a specific number define me, while showing far more of my body than I would ever typically share, put me in a very vulnerable position. I was glad to have the opportunity to challenge myself so much while at the same time inspiring (I hope!) other women to do the same.

Ferna shares her numbers with More Than My Numbers. Share yours as well!

Q: What are some of your numbers? 

A: 8.5, 2, 39, 163, 0

Q: You said in the video that your number of marriages or your divorce is a number that defined you in the past. Tell us about that.

A: My number of marriages is two, and I have let this fact define me. I have heard comments stating that anyone who gets married more than once is likely to continue the pattern of divorce/marriage/divorce/marriage. I’ve also heard that a divorced person is a failure because people should be able to make a marriage work. I let these negative views color my own. While I was coming to terms with my divorce and then later realizing that I could be happily married post-divorce, I then worried about how others would judge me, as someone who had “already had her chance but failed to make the marriage work”.

Join Ferna in saying I am More Than My Numbers

Q: How do you think focusing on your number(s) affected you the most? What did it stop you from doing? How did it make you feel?

A: I became embarrassed to admit that my previous last name was not my maiden name and often would not correct people when they assumed otherwise. I also felt ashamed that I now had three separate last names on my résumé; it was like a timeline of my personal life, and not just a work history. I worried about being judged negatively, whether as a failure or as someone who did not honor the sanctity of marriage. While I know that neither of these is true for me, I couldn’t help but let the comments I’d heard others say impact how I saw myself and my situation.

Q: What is your advice to women who may be on a similar journey to you?

A: Life is full of choices. Some are easy to make. Some take years to commit to and tear you apart inside along the way. When you are faced with making challenging, life-changing decisions, you may be far more impressionable, and you may be more susceptible to accepting the negatives that people throw at you or at your situation because you are likely already in a spiral of self-doubt. But you can’t listen to the negatives. No one – NO ONE – knows your situation better than you do. Chances are that only your closest friends and close family members, who most certainly would have your best interests at heart, have good advice for you. But it’s just that: advice. In the end, it’s your choices that matter. You are stronger than you think you are. You are powerful, and you CAN pull through this.

Ferna numbers with 31 MTMN

Q: What is your relationship with your bra size? Tell us your bra story!

Underbust: 30.5”

Bust: 36”

Overbust: 34”

Bra Size in the video: 34DD

{Find your own bra size starting points, and see notes below about why expectant mom’s also use an “overbust” measurement}

A: For most of my life, I considered myself to be small-chested but usually felt fine with this as I was able to wear some clothing that a larger-chested woman may not have felt as comfortable in, given the extra unwanted attention she might receive. When I was younger, I used to joke about my pear shape, stating that I could have children (wide hips), but how would I feed them? But only I was allowed to joke about this; if anyone else made a comment to the effect of me having a smaller chest size, I felt crushed because I was in some way inadequate. To this day, I remain a fan of push-up bras because, in my mind, they help balance out my figure.

I wore the wrong bra size most of my life. I knew little about how a bra should actually fit (and just as little about how to care for one). Getting fit by a professional (through Hurray Kimmay!) helped me find the right size and shape I needed for my body type.

Find out why Ferna is saying I am More Than My Numbers, read her unique story here

Q: Why do you think it’s important to not let numbers define you? What’s possible when you let go of their definition?

A: When you let numbers define you, you allow yourself to be categorized arbitrarily. Yes, numbers are important as a starting point, but they aren’t tell-all. I am 39. That’s a number that can define me. But what does it mean to be a 39-year-old? Does it mean that I am approaching middle age? Maybe; that depends on my family history and my personal health. Does it mean that I’ve likely been married for 10 years and have 2.5 children? Nope and nope. 39 is the number that tells how many years I’ve been on this planet, but that’s it. What I’ve done with that time is a completely different story than what every other 39-year-old in the entire world has done. The ONLY thing we have in common is the amount of time we’ve shared a planet. That is it. So why should I let my age define me? While we may have an idea of what it means to be a typical 39-year-old in the United States, it means very little when you get down to the individual level. When you let go of arbitrary categorizations like age, you set yourself free to create your own vision of who you are and how to be what you want to be.

Ferna opens up about how she let go of numbers in the More Than My Numbers campaign

Q: What role do you think numbers should play in our lives? How do you strike the balance somewhere between ignoring them altogether and focusing all your attention on them?  

A: Numbers are important. They are a starting point for comparison purposes. If I want to know whether my work toward my weight goals is effective, the number on the scale or on the clothing item or on the measuring tape can help guide my journey. But it isn’t the be-all end-all for whether I’m successful. How do I feel as I make those changes? You can’t measure feelings with a scale or measuring tape. How do I look in the same outfit I wore when I was at a less preferable weight? Again, that’s subjective. Looking inside myself to evaluate my feelings about how I feel upon being strong enough to elicit the change I wanted…that’s immeasurable.

Ferna shares the words that describe her in the More Than My Numbers Campaign, what are your words?

Q: What does define you – who are you to the core?

A: I am empathetic, silly, curious, a loving wife, and a mom to be

Q: How do you feel in the pretty bra you’re wearing here? Do you say hurray for lingerie?

A: This is the first time this entire pregnancy that I’ve worn a bra that actually fits! And not only does it feel great, but it’s really pretty. I didn’t know how to pick out a maternity bra and learned that I didn’t need to buy a true maternity bra; I just needed to purchase a different band and cup size than I was used to. When much of your body feels awkward and foreign, as it does during pregnancy, the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable underneath your clothing. Wearing the right bra helps so much. The support makes me feel more confident, as well.

Ferna just learned how to get a correct maternity bra, do you know the best tips? More on the blog

Q: Who inspires you?

A: I am inspired by so many people. My parents, whose support and love I hope to emulate in my own marriage and upcoming motherhood. My husband, who is one of the sweetest, kindest, smartest, most supportive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. My favorite authors (especially J.K. Rowling), whose writing styles and skills I simply adore and would love to emulate. Anyone who challenges himself or herself to step outside of his/her comfort zone in order to grow. And people who make it their goal to help others to succeed or to find happiness. Life is short; when someone chooses to spend time actively helping others, this warms my heart to no end.  

Q: What makes you say hurray?

A: I am easily entertained, so many things make me say hurray. Puppies. Hugs. Unexpected kindness. Writing the perfect description of something so that others can see and understand my vision. Seeing others achieve victories. Attending parties with good friends. Experiencing the perfect weather for my mood. Food! Being told that something I did or said positively influenced someone else.


Your turn: Can you relate to Ferna’s story? How have you let numbers define you in the past? What numbers can you choose to use as information but not as a definition? Do you know anyone who has let the number of marriages or their age stop them from finding happiness? How can you help them, or yourself?

Have you found your bra size starting points? What loving steps can you take to say hurray? What inspired you about Ferna’s story? Journal, brainstorm, and share with us!

Do you want to support more stories like Ferna’s? Join us! Learn more about how you can get involved here.

Ferna measures her overbust to learn how to get the best bra while pregnantA note on bra sizing for pregnant women! Expectant mom’s can use an extra measurement to help them find their bra size starting points. The “overbust” measurement is typically a great way to compare band size options. Simply wrap the soft measuring tape you used to take your bust and underbust measurements around your torso, just underneath your armpits and up and over your chest and bust. Usually, you add 0 inches to this measurement as yet another option for a bra band size. In Ferna’s case, her overbust measurement was 34 and the bra that fit best was, indeed, a 34 band. Keep in mind, pregnant women’s bodies are continually changing – typically growing. So a snug bra band is key for a great fit, and you may want to estimate up slightly to accommodate for your growing bump.



Sponsor Spotlight: Ferna’s story was made possible by Own Your Sexy. This stunning boudoir photography in NYC is owned and operated by Laura Boyd. And the work she creates is just as stunning. Laura specializes in helping women find and own their sexy. That includes the women who say “I’m not really sexy. I’m not beautiful. I’m not a model.” Trust me, Laura will help you feel and look that way in her studio, and your jaw will drop when you see your images.

Own Your Sexy is the photography studio we use for More Than My Numbers, and Laura is so supportive of our mission, because she lives it. And part of her business’s mission is to help women see past their numbers, stop comparing themselves to airbrushed images in the magazines, and step into their own sexy power. While she does believe in and use light airbrushing in her photography, the beautiful images you see here of Ferna (and each participant in the More Than My Numbers project) have ZERO airbrushing or editing. Her work is just that good, and each woman is just that gorgeous. Just like you.

Book your own boudoir session – to show a lover, to show your body some love, to own your sexy. Want to see some of my work with Laura? Check out my post on How to Own Your Sexy, and How to Awaken Your Inner Muse.

From the site: “Own Your Sexy is a luxury boudoir photography studio in New York City, focused on women’s empowerment and celebration. Owned and operated by women, for women. Located in the heart of Manhattan in a private studio. We photograph woman of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. Founded in 2010 by professional photographer, Laura Boyd, we believe all women are beautiful, all women are sexy, and all women deserve to own it.”

Follow Own Your Sexy on Instagram.

PS: Sponsors help make the More Than My Numbers project possible. So huge hurray and thank you to Own Your Sexy and our other sponsors!

Credits: The photos of Ferna were taken by Laura Boyd of Own Your Sexy with zero photo shopping, airbrushing, or editing of Ferna’s beautiful, pregnant body. Hair and Makeup by Zulieka Acosta. The video was filmed and edited by Next Round Productions. The More Than My Numbers project was created by Kimmay Caldwell of Hurray Media.