Posted on March 18, 2013
I am so honoured to be able to volunteer for such an amazing organization as The Tiny Light Foundation.
The Tiny Light Foundation is a non profit organization that provides professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses.
I was so excited to meet my second Tiny Light Liam, and his family. Such an amazing family! Full of joy and laughter. We had so much fun in my studio, and it was such a pleasure to photograph their memories. Liam stole my heart the minute he walked through the door, and his little sister is just the sweetest little girl! Here is just a few images from their session.
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Posted on February 28, 2013
When I first posted my story, Geraldine was one of the first who messaged me, and reached out offering support for my project. I asked her if she wanted to be part of the project, making it clear that I didn’t want to add any extra stress or pressure for her. We were on a bit of a time crunch for her, as she is now 9 months pregnant. When I read Geraldine’s story I cried. I am thankful to have started this journey. It is what I am meant to do. I have connected with all of these women through experience. I thank-you for all the support. Here is Geraldine’s story.
Geraldine~ Mother, Grieving Parent, Wife, On-again-off-again Runner, Dance Mom and Cake -Baker Extraordinaire.
Inhale. Exhale. “Just breathe”. This was the very sound advice of my grief counsellor after our son passed away. It has become something of a mantra for me in the five years since.
James was only five weeks old when he passed away from SIDS. His gravestone reads “So small, so sweet, so soon”. My husband, myself and our three young daughters (2,4, and 6 at the time), were naturally devastated. I carried the added burden of guilt, blaming myself for his death.
But Steve and I knew that our first responsibility was to the girls. We sought counseling, spoke about him often and openly, and while we were often sad, angry, and missing James terribly, we felt we were doing a good job on the road to recovery. And I think we were.
A year or so after James’ death, we decided we were ready to add another baby to our family. I was understandably nervous when I found out I was pregnant with Melanie, plagued by thoughts of “What if….”. Of course, ‘what if’ never materialized, and she was the quintessential happy, healthy baby girl. We all loved and adored her (and of course we still do!) But….
But, it was hard. It was SO hard. Harder than it should have been. The smallest details of caring for her and her older sisters were often enough to throw me into a tailspin of despair and hopelessness. I spent so much of my time with the older girls in anger or in tears – I really was the “World’s Worst Mommy”, something their confused little hearts had no trouble pointing out! I prayed, I talked to my doctor, I joined a therapy group. These things all helped, a little. But not enough.
When I finally brought up the idea of medication to my doctor, she seemed visibly relieved. She said that I’d tried this on my own long enough, and it was time to accept the extra support and help that medication could provide. Still skeptical, and feeling like a weakling, I skulked to the pharmacy to fill that prescription. But oh, how wrong I was. In just a matter of weeks, I was feeling much more like my old self again. I was a nicer Mommy and wife. I could see the beauty and hope in the world again. I was so unbelievably relieved – as was my long suffering, but strong and silent husband!
Ahhhh, a happy end to a sad story? Not quite. Eight months ago, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant again (I know, I know…. I’m not a naive 16 year old – after 5 kids you’d think I’d know better!). After spending several weeks ranting at God, fate, and my own stupidity, I finally accepted the inevitable – we were having another baby. I weaned myself off my medication, and faced whatever was coming. It’s been a struggle sometimes. I question every black mood, every period of exhaustion. “Is this depression again, or is it normal tired, achey, hormonal pregnancy?” I still haven’t been able to answer that question. Time will tell, I guess. In just a few short weeks we will finally get to meet this new little one, and I will either settle comfortably, once again, into the role of new motherhood. Or I will struggle. Either way, I feel prepared this time. I will NOT say “I’m fine”, if I’m not.
I absolutely LOVE this photo that Rebecca has taken of me.
Surrounded in darkness: questions, fear, anger, and yes, even still grief.
But yet there is the light: faith, hope, love, the support of my family, and even my own strength.
Because this time I know it’s not weak to admit to needing help. My husband and my midwife and my doctor will all stand by and offer that help and support if needed. And this time, if I end up with a prescription in my hand, I won’t skulk to the pharmacy – I’ll walk in with my head held high, feeling no shame, knowing that I’m doing what I need to do for my own health, and the good of my family. And I will remember to “Just breathe”.
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Posted on February 27, 2013
A few weeks ago I shared my story of Post Partum Depression. My goal is to photograph other women who have gone through PPD or are going through it now. I have only just begun this journey and already have met via email and messages some amazing women. Strong women. I am so thankful they are willing to share their story’s to bring awareness to Post Partum Depression. We need to support each other. We need to talk about it.
I was so grateful to Sam for sharing her story with us. It’s been 14 years since her daughter was born. I wanted to photograph her reminiscing. Remembering. Here is Sam’s story.
Sam~ Mother of two, Wife, Daughter
“It all started for me with the surprise of becoming pregnant. I was told years earlier that I was not able to have children due to endometriosis. Two weeks before I found out I was pregnant I had a laparoscopy due to complications from endometriosis. The pregnancy didn’t show up in my pre-op blood work, and I also took heavy pain medications to help with recovery. When I did find out I was pregnant, I was shocked, scared, happy, overwhelmed and every other emotion possible. I worried about my operation and the medicine and what it could have done to my baby while starting to develop. But as the months went by, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to meet my baby.
The labour was surprisingly easy and I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl. I was so thrilled and prepared to be a mom. Or so I thought. When I took her home, I was a little scared, but I knew I had plenty of help from my family.
I remember feeling like there was something wrong about a week later. I wasn’t quite as happy as I thought I was. I started feeling depressed and that elation I felt was gone. I would cry a lot and feel very overwhelmed. I stopped taking care of myself, and even stopped eating. Not only was I emotionally sick, I was physically sick as well. It was like there was a war inside of my head and I had no peace. Nothing made me happy, in fact I felt rather drained every day. It was hard to get out of bed let alone tend to an infant that depended on me for everything. The thing I remember most was contemplating different solutions to end my life and which one was right for me.
To this day, I am so thankful that I never acted on any of my negative thoughts. With constant help from my psychiatrist and the the proper medication, I learned that the thoughts I was feeling were somewhat normal for some mom’s. For the times I would wonder what was wrong with me and if I was crazy, I realized that post partum didn’t mean I didn’t love my baby or didn’t want her. I am so glad that I got help when I did.
Today that baby girl turned into my beautiful 14 year old daughter, Emily, whom I am very proud of. Along with her and her 10 year old sister Katie, I am so grateful and thankful for the help and understanding I received. I would have never thought motherhood would have turned out to be the most rewarding thing in my world.”
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