A mother who dropped five dress sizes after being branded 'thunder thighs' by bullies has deliberately piled the pounds back on to regain her 'womanly' curves - and is now forging a career as a plus-size model.

Ashley O'Brien, 31, who is from Cannock in Staffordshire, suffered more than a decade of torment from people who abused her and called her a 'fat cow' over the size of her legs and waistline, the Daily Mail reported.

When the birth of her second child Hayden in 2012 triggered postnatal anxiety that left the mum housebound, Ashley was prescribed medication that saw her weight start to drop off.

She went from 15st (95kg) to 11st 9lbs (74kg) and a dress size 10, but found she was unhappy with her reduced frame and missed her 'thick thighs'.

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Now a size 18, Ashley promptly dropped her anti-anxiety medication for hypnotherapy, and steadily gained weight to reclaim her curves.

In just six months on medication, the 31-year-old blogger says she went from a size 20 to a size 10.

But while getting ready for her first night out in more than a year, Ashley looked in the mirror and was devastated by what she saw.

The mum's slim frame made her feel like a shadow of her former self – as she had lost her 'womanly' curves.

Determined to get back to her former self, Ashley ditched her medication in favour of hypnotherapy and is now a curvy size 18, weighing 14st (88kg).

And having regained her voluptuous figure, the mum auditioned for a plus size modelling competition, Ms Curvaceous.

Ashley said: "I had always been around 13st 4lbs and a size 16, but when I had Hayden I went up to 15st and I just couldn't get out of my maternity clothes.

"I suffered from postnatal anxiety and [it] got so bad I couldn't face leaving the house. If it hadn't been for my kids and my responsibility to them I don't know if I'd be here. I did think about suicide.

"I went to my GP and they prescribed me anti-anxiety pills. They stopped my panic attacks but I felt really sleepy and dazed all the time and my weight just started to drop off.

"I should have been happy but I wasn't. When one of my friends came over to take me on my first night out in ages I remember getting ready and when I looked in the mirror I was so upset.

"There were no curves, no thick thighs – it wasn't me, it was just this shape of a person I didn't know.

"It sounds silly because I don't think all slim women look unfeminine but I really felt like I looked like a boy without my curves and I realised for the first time how much I loved them.

"I was determined to get back to myself and stopped taking the medication. I started going for cognitive behavioural therapy and tried hypnotherapy. After that first session I felt like a new woman.

"I've got my curves back and I am happier than ever. I feel so confident and I want to celebrate my body to show other girls and women that if I can be happy then they can be too.

"It's why I am putting myself out there with Ms Curvaceous and sharing my story because I want people to know they're not alone in what they've been through.

"And they should go out there too and flaunt their amazing figures. Celebrating yourself is what life's all about.

"I'm a size 18 and I feel beautiful and fabulous so other women can and should too."

The mum-of-two's life was so transformed by her hypnotherapy that she has now become a qualified hypnotherapist so she can change other women's lives for the better.

Ashley, who lives with her partner Steve, 31, and their kids Halle, seven, and Hayden, five, is constantly promoting self-love after years of feeling 'worthless' because of fat-shaming taunts.

The body positivity blogger is determined to make sure other people never feel the same way she did – and Ashley always encourages her children to focus on what they love about themselves.

Ashley said: "I remember I was 13 when my body started changing and it was very sudden. In just a few months I went from being in children's clothes and then I was suddenly in an adult's size 14.

"I started to get comments from bullies at school calling me 'fat' and 'thunder thighs'. It was awful and I got really depressed.

"Also because I had bigger breasts, that became a real focus for boys and they would always say things to me. It made me feel objectified and was really damaging to my sense of self-worth.

"My dad was a single parent and he did his absolute best to try to support me and cope with how I was feeling but it was really hard for him as a single dad to deal with an insecure teenage girl.

"When I got to uni things got a bit better because I had friends who accepted me for who I was but whenever we went out I would always get looks and horrible comments.

"I remember once being in a club and a guy got in my face and shouted 'you fat cow'. I just thought 'why can't I just have fun with my friends?'.

"Just because I was big, complete strangers thought they could treat me that way and call me names.

"Fat-shaming is such a problem in society even the word plus size is said in a negative way as if it is something you shouldn't be.

"People are trying to reclaim the term but really there isn't plus size or 'normal' size there is just size and all people should be valued and respected no matter what size or shape they are.

"'I do everything I can to make sure my kids grow up knowing that. They both have these A4 binders with maths and literacy in but there's also a whole section dedicated to things they like about themselves.

"For my generation it was seen as a negative to be confident. I remember hearing adults say 'oh she loves herself' as if it was a bad thing but really we should be saying 'wow, she loves herself, that's wonderful'.

"I just hope that by being part of Ms Curvaceous and by doing my hypnotherapy, I can spread that message to every other woman feeling down about themselves."

Ms Curvaceous founder Theo Ilori said: "Our aim is to boost women's confidence and to equip them with the skills to become confident, successful role models in the media and the fashion industry.

"They will give younger women growing up positive role models they can relate to and help to drastically reduce the number of them who grow up with low self-esteem, a lack of body confidence, being bullied and suffering with mental health challenges."