When Andrea Grant was 9 years old, she and her brother found themselves in a house fire that happened due to a gas explosion. Grant would recover, but would end up with more than 85 percent of her body covered in burns. The Jacksonville woman, as an adult, was told that because of the burns on her stomach, she wouldn’t be able to carry a child past four months. Because the skin of the stomach has to stretch, they worried that her skin wouldn’t be able to. The 24-year-old woman has defied the odds. She’s currently 37 weeks and planning to carry her baby boy to term. The first time around (she’s a mother to a 4-year-old named Jada), she stayed covered up. This time around, she decided to do a photo shoot with photographer Terrence Armand and wasn’t afraid to expose her scars to celebrate something truly beautiful. One of the images would soon go viral, garnering more than 20,000 likes.
“I really didn’t think that was the response that was going to happen,” Grant told the CBS Jackson, Fla. affiliate, “but I’m honored.”
The beauty takes extra special care of her skin to help it stretch. Twice a day she applies a combination of oils and butters to her stomach to ensure that it can do what it needs to do. The stretching is sometimes painful for her, but it’s worth it.
Grant also told CBS 47 that she created a group called “Beyond Scars” to encourage burn survivors and help them meet other women and men just like them. The Red Cross is affiliated with the group, and Grant is the perfect person to lead it, as her positive outlook (and smile) is infectious.
“Once you build your confidence, no one can take it down,” she said.
Check out a few more images from the photo shoot (and her shower) below, as well as her interview with CBS 47.