…a Facebook status. That’s what you are thinking right? You sit down and sign on to your computer and think of that “I’m going to impress everyone” comment. That thing that when you type it everyone will want to be you, have your life. Now that is real life. (cough). When I was struggling with Postpartum Depression my FB status’s were not all peaches and cream. I often hoped that I could find someone that could relate to my experience or I just needed to release the ugliness that was in my head. If you’ve experienced PPMD you know what I mean if you have not this would be difficult to understand. Well, my releasing via FB returned very ugly remarks instead of help. I was encouraged to post happy comments and to “chuck it up”. Well, that was helpful. not!
Sooooo….what did I do? Well, I was already doing the things I needed to do to help me though my depression and anxiety; seeing my doctor, taking supplements, crying (and lots of it) etc. The other incredible thing I did was pick up my camera. My camera was my expression. I was feeling robbed of what should have been a happy life with my children so I’d capture the happy moments. My only problem with that was it didn’t feel real to me. It was kind of like the happy FB status. The picture looks wonderful and happy but it was the “what you don’t see” that still had me down. I wanted to rid myself of this depression and anxiety and I wanted to help others that had it too so, because of a class I was taking, I started a photo project on the subject of Postpartum Mood Disorder. In fact, I was just interviewed by an incredible lady who is writing about my story. I am not going to post my project here, just yet, but will do so in the future.
If you struggle with Postpartum Mood Disorder (anxiety, depression, psychosis) you are not alone. There are wonderful resources out there that can direct you to the help you need. A great organization to start with is Postpartum Support International. If they don’t have a chapter in your area I believe they can assist in direction you to a someone that can help.
These past 7 years have been a whirlwind of craziness. I got married, quit a career I had for over 20 years, had a child, became a stay at home mom and then had another child. What I didn’t realize at the time was how I gave up me. I put into my head that I had to be a specific way as a stay at home parent and what I didn’t realize was that in doing so I gave up me. Not just a part of me but all of me. I became someone else and struggled so hard to keep up this facade of this new person and as a result I have been living with stress, anxiety and depression. The realization came, quite suddenly, as I looked around my home. My home has always been a special place for me and these past years I’ve done nothing with it. While my husband works hard at keeping the yard and garden going (a tough job for just one person) I’ve just sat by watching him and doing nothing but trying to keep the house almost clean. Those special little details that I would create to make the house warm and inviting have gone. I don’t know where they went but they are gone and not replaced with anything new. I don’t even put flowers around my home anymore and I l-o-v-e to have fresh flowers in every room. Once I made this realization I lit up. I’ve started making my lists and am finding ways to add the personal touches back to my home, to my yard and to my family. And all of those things that I thought I needed to be when I became a parent? Well, I took most of them, the ones that are not me, and put them in the trash.
I stopped to pick up some supplies for a wedding I am photographing on Saturday and stumbled across this cool space, courtyard. It happened to be a project I worked on just before quitting my job to start a new life as a stay at home mom. This was a fun project to work on (design by GGN) and a great project to end with but all in all I was very, VERY, happy to leave my job. I was no longer happy in my job and longed for something new so felt that being a stay at home mom would offer me many new opportunities what I didn’t think about was the many new struggles that would come along too.
I had this wonderful dream of becoming a stay at home mom, bonding with my children, cooking with them, being crafty with them and all sorts of other wonderful things I see by moms on FB, blogs and other places. Aaah, blissful right? Maybe. I take photos hiking with my kids, hanging out with them at the lake and today was going to take a photo of them helping with cookies it’s what I DON”T post that tells the story, the real story. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children but let’s be real, it isn’t what you see in social media and you can’t predict what you will learn about yourself. Me? Well, I find that when I am feeling a little chaotic and out of control (hmm..every day life with kids) I want my house clean. It makes me feel a little in control and it feels good the crazy thing is there is no such thing as a clean house with 2 young children. I clean up one area and another gets dirty it is a never ending cycle. I also realize I yell. Now, I don’t want to yell it is just something about me that comes out. I want to be that calm, in control mom I see but nope, I’m the yeller. I am not that perfect parent I envisioned and the more I try to be that perfect parent the more stressed I become. I could compare myself all day to other moms and feel really bad about myself or I can, instead, look at all of those great qualities about me. I may not be the craftiest of moms, I may not be the calmest of moms, I am a mom that loves my kids and tells them that every day.
Life isn’t always bliss, if offers us struggles too and it is these struggles that provide us an opportunity to grow and learn. I wanted to share a bit about myself because I don’t want to send the message that life is perfect and, instead, want to share some of the struggles I’ve had because this is where I’ve learned so much about myself and I wouldn’t be having so many great things in my life if I didn’t. Now I cry a lot but I am finding even more things that make me smile and laugh.
This weekend I scouted the location of the wedding I am photographing on Saturday, my first. I gave up a career I had for 20 years to take on a new challenge in my life. With this new challenge I wanted a creative outlet. I chose photography. I dabbled in it at first, I took a few on line classes and I took an awesome classWD-40® FOR THE CREATIVE SOUL: HOW TO GET UNSTUCK. This was a bit of a turning point for me. I didn’t think of it as my getting “unstuck” it just started me down the road of thinking in a different way and taking pictures took on an excitement for me I had not yet experienced. The journey has been and still is incredible. I am excited to take the skills I’ve learned and use them along with my own creative expression as I photograph this beautiful wedding. These are a few photos from my scouting the site.
Reality check: I add this note to some of my posts due to my having suffered with Postpartum Mood Disorder. When I struggled with PPMD I felt that no one could relate to what I was experiencing and reading the experiences of other moms on the web was horrible. Their posts and statuses made me feel like I was alone so I felt that it is important for me to share a bit of reality, at times, in my posts. The journey to my getting to this point where I can photograph a wedding didn’t come easily, it came with struggles, tears, more struggles and tears and a lot of hard work and that is why this one experience is so rewarding to me.