Posted on April 24, 2013
At the end of March we were feeling so sick of our cold snowy weather. Our babysitter Mary had spotted a photo that I had put up of my Mary in her Halloween costume, a red queen’s dress. All she had to say to me was “we should take some photos of Mary and I, as I have that same costume at home”. The wheels started turning. I had some late night chats with my creative friends, and a few days later with help from my very creative friends Jenn of By Invitation Only and Michelle of Chellshots Photography we did a styled shoot. Into the woods. An escape from the “castle” for the day.
Once upon a time there were two friends who spent their whole day behind castle walls, learning everything they need to become royal princesses. They were both named Mary and they loved all things nature and outdoors. One snowy day they escaped from their castle and into the woods…..
They came across a tea party in the woods, where they stopped for a rest.
When they had finished their sweets and had decorated with hearts, they kept walking in the woods in search for some treasure….
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Posted on April 2, 2013
Jessalynn sent me an email after I shared her sister-in-law’s story~Esther’s story. Jessalynn is Esther’s sister in law. We discussed her portrait, and had a plan, but it took us a good month to get the perfect Sunday morning for her portrait. As I drove north I wanted to stop many times to take photos as the sky was amazing. The fog/mist/frost was rising from the cold ground. Just before dawn I met her at her farm. The morning was stunning, it was like it was planned for us. Waiting for us with all the beauty and stillness that only can be felt at that time of day. It was perfect~me photographing her, photographing the stillness and peace. Here is Jessalynn’s story.
Jessalynn ~ Mommy of 2, Farm Wife, Sister, Graphic Designer
I experienced PPD after my first child, Jenna who is now 5, was born. I struggled through breast feeding problems for the first few months after she was born. My days were spent alone in the house while my husband worked at the busy harvest time and preparing for the next growing season. At that time we lived in a town that wasn’t close to where he worked. I didn’t have help from any other family members and I felt like I was blindly raising this new little life with no clue how to do so. I was angry that it seemed like no one cared. I felt alone, but I just coped with it and carried on and eventually things seemed ok.
After moving to our farm a few years later, we decided to expand our little family. In the first week of January 2010, just two short weeks after grieving the unexpected death of my father-in-law, I found myself grieving the loss of my pregnancy. About a year and a half later, I was grieving over another miscarriage. Shortly after that on Christmas morning, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was filled with mixed emotions and thoughts of the two little ones I had already lost. I was terrified of losing another pregnancy.
A year later, and Jacob is a happy, healthy and beautiful 7 month old. The first few months after he was born were hard. My mind always went to the two miscarriages I had; thoughts of what they would have looked like, were they a boy or girl? I was angry with myself for thinking that way and not focusing on the baby I now had, and took it out on my family. Photography had been my happy medium. I love landscape photography and the stillness of the photos; the cold, crisp winter mornings, or the fog after an evening summer rain. This photo reminds me that there is order to my world and that everything will be ok; every new morning brings a fresh start.
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Posted on March 31, 2013
It all began back in January with My Story of Post Partum Depression. My goal is to put a face and photo to the journey and struggle. To share other’s journeys, to support each other. To bring awareness to Post Partum Depression, and to continue to talk about it. I was fortunate to meet Meghan a few years ago in a PPD support group. She is a wonderful mother and friend and I was honoured to photograph her and share her story.
Meghan’s Story~ Mother, Wife, Survivor, Health Nut, Wannabe Runner
My journey through postpartum depression started 5.5 years ago after the birth of my daughter Ellery. I had a long difficult labour that did not go as I had hoped but when I laid eyes on Ellery for the first time it was instant love. We made it home from the hospital and from that very first night it was apparent that Ellery was hard to sooth and calm. We walked with her through the night, rocked her so she would nap and she slept on our chest for her first 3-4 months.
With a baby who didn’t sleep and 3 months of breastfeeding challenges I was sleep deprived, over whelmed and didn’t want to be alone. I planned activities and outings every day because I felt like I was suffocating being at home alone. I found a great post partum support group where I never felt judged and got the help and support I needed to make it through each week. I kept waiting for things to get better and feel like myself again and it just wasn’t happening. I spoke with my Doctor about medication when Ellery was about 7 or 8 months old and we found one that worked well. With the help of my amazing family, support group and medication I was feeling better and weaned off of the medication and was coping well.
In March of 2010 I was surprised to find out I was pregnant again. Ellery still wasn’t sleeping through the night and I ended up being diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum which is severe nausea, vomiting and dehydration during pregnancy. I was admitted to the hospital for a week to help with the dehydration and was prescribed 4 different medications to help reduce the nausea and vomiting. Each of the medications also had a sedative effect and made me very tired. After a few months of this I became extremely depressed and lost interest in caring for my daughter and felt absolutely no connection to the pregnancy and baby. I couldn’t even find the energy or desire to read Ellery a book or push her on the swing outside. After 6 months the nausea was getting better and I was able to reduce some of the medication I was on. At this point I started to have anxiety and panic attacks about the possibility of having another high needs colicky baby and how I would be able to cope with that while caring for Ellery who still didn’t sleep through the night. I still felt no connection to the baby, didn’t want to be pregnant and avoided talking about the baby when people asked. I felt like a horrible mother and felt so alone, isolated and lost in my dark and negative thoughts.
I talked to my Doctor about going on medication and although there could be side effects for the baby when it was born I couldn’t go through the rest of the pregnancy feeling so lost, hopeless and alone. I tried a few different medications but they all made the nausea and vomiting worse which I couldn’t deal with on top of the depression. It was apparent I was going to have to stick it out and rely on my supportive family, post partum support group and counsellor. By the end of the pregnancy I felt like I had lost 9 months of my life and was cautiously waiting to see how I was going to feel once the baby was born and could start taking anti depressant medication again.
I had another very prolonged and difficult labour with some complications. Once my son was finally born he was whisked across the room as they were concerned we had both developed an infection during labour. I remember staring blankly across the room hardly registering that I had just given birth to my son. I was physically there but not emotionally present. Shortly after he was born he was taken to another hospital for observation for a few days.
On the way to see my son the next day the negative feelings from the night before were replaced with anxiety that we had been separated almost 24 hours and he wouldn’t know who I was. I walked into the nursery, picked him up out of the incubator to hold him and my heart melted and I fell instantly in love. He immediately started rooting and wanting to breastfeed and latched on perfectly. I didn’t want to put him down and held him for the next two days except for short 30-60min stints where I would lie down in bed to catch a bit of rest. I remember feeling smothered and overwhelmed when my daughter could never be put down but after 9 months of such dark and horrible feelings and thoughts about the pregnancy and baby I just couldn’t get enough love and tender moments with my son.
After 2.5 days in the hospital we were given the ok to go home and get settled. Things at home in the first few weeks were easier than I had anticipated. Fionn (pronounced Finn) was an extremely easy going, laid back baby and was easy to settle. I had anticipated starting the anti depressant medication as soon as I could but I actually felt amazing and better than I had in years.
When Fionn was around 5 months old his sleep habits changed and he was waking a lot in the night and Ellery still had sleep challenges at this point. The depression, exhaustion, being overwhelmed and unable to cope started settling in. I felt like I was treading water and could stay afloat if I had to but if any extra stress came about I couldn’t handle it. I went on the medication again and found that my mood levelled off and I could handle the day-to-day stresses easier. I was on the medication for a year when I decided to go off of it. After weaning off of the medication I started to exercise and run, eat a better diet and look after myself. I felt a spark in myself again and finally remembered what it felt like to be “me”.
Life with two kids still brings its stress, exhaustion and busyness but doesn’t define me and bring me down like it did when I was lost in the depression.
This photo for me represents being lost, isolated, alone and surrounded by darkness. Feeling hopeless and not knowing who I was anymore.
The tree represents my family, friends, support group, Counseling and doctors that helped to hold me up when I just wanted to give up.
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