Postpartum project | Healing My Soul

“I still remember the day you were born. The exact moment they laid you on my chest. I remember looking at you and I see your face and your tears so vividly even today. I knew I loved you in my mind, but for some reason I didn’t feel it in my heart for many months later. I protected you fearlessly, day and night. Nobody, not even your father could care or attend to you with my standards. Yet still, I didn’t feel what I thought I was supposed to feel. Telling this to you now brings tears to my eyes. I feel emotions of guilt and shame for even saying this out loud. Why did it take me so long to bond with you? What is wrong with me? You, are perfect.”

The last year has been a process of healing for me. I have a lot of hurt around my own struggles with motherhood, postpartum and childhood hurt. I’ve struggled most of my life with relationships. More specifically with woman and my own mother. I’ve always felt I wasn’t enough. I was taught that if I looked the part, that would be enough. But my confidence wasn’t there.  When my husband and I decided to have a family, in the back of my mind I worried that I  might struggle with PPD. I have always struggled with mood disorders – manic highs /lows and seasonal sadness. Now living in a place where I had virtually zero support system and spent many hours of my day alone. Yet when it became my life, I was clueless.

My son was born Nov. 24, 2013. It was a beautiful and mild sunny day! On the eve of his birth my husband and I took our dog down to the lake, I had a nap through light contractions and later a glass of wine (baby was cooked! Don’t judge). We had a beautiful home birth, exactly what I wanted. I had heard so many stories of childbirth and I was feeling really blessed. By January of 2014, I weighed a 115 lbs, barley sleeping and living off drive through burgers when I remembered to eat. My child was attached to me and my husband worked long hours in the city, which meant long hours we were alone. I was isolated and spiraling. The hardest part for me now,  is visualizing my sons sweet baby face and regretting not breathing him in and savoring every moment. I was living in a fog.

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I’ve always worried about things just a little too much. All of my thoughts from childhood till now, weigh heavy and I feel desperate for change. My dearest friend said to me once, “If nothing changes, nothing changes”. It was a sentiment that her father said to her, and something about it just resonates with my core. It’s so simple, but so obvious. And yet so many of us, waist years or an entire life holding onto guilt and hurt, when there is absolutely nothing about the past we can change!!

Flash forward to 2019. For the first time in a long time I made a quiet resolution, to be my authentic self. To accept the things I cannot change. To give myself and those around me grace. And to try and be more present. As an Artist, I’ve always found solace through my creative outlets. So this year when Ghost Town hit and my creative self was in a definite rut. I decided to look within…

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I know I’m not alone in that I am not the only woman to suffer from postpartum depression. And I know I am not the first person to bring light to this topic either. But over the last few years, I have been portraying a very different image in my work. One that while very beautiful, has in a way contributed to what I feel is a really big problem in our culture today. The “curated feed”. This idea, that putting only our best self’s on display is OK. For individuals that are hurting, this act of our behavior can be very isolating and damaging. Not just to others but also ourselves. It’s human nature to not want to feel alone or be alone. And when millions of people (intentionally or not), are gloating about just good, it’s a really worrisome thought. But let’s go deeper. Woman, specifically the ones who are now in their child baring years. Are still by products of the baby boomer generation. I know we are making progress here, but there is taught sense of purpose and worth for young woman. WE ARE, the way of our future, but we still have a lot of work a head. Men still earn more on average and Women are still the primary caregivers. And I still hear very derogatory things about woman. Petty comments about very natural and primal actions. And judgement, left right and center about weight, size, culture, financial status and more. And while I know I cannot change it all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we didn’t destroy our planet in one generation. But I feel a great sense of urgency to create and show “what is real”.

Motherhood is REAL! There has been, NOTHING in this world that has encouraged me to want to change more. There is nothing, that has bonded me so much to other women. And I have never before, seen such beauty in our world. This project for me is so multifaceted and heartfelt. I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with each of these woman in such a profound way. Our connection as woman is paramount for future generations. And raising children, who will become confident, compassionate, caring, innovative voices of the world.

These photos started as an Art Project for me, but in the process, I have found my soul. Being able to learn each of these woman’s stories, hurts and triumphs, has opened my heart in new ways. And while I truly love to photograph it all! I am moved and humbled by the beauty of something so REAL.

It was very difficult to narrow down these photos. But I just wanted to express my immense gratitude to each of these woman for giving their time and allowing my to share the beauty in Motherhood, we don’t often see. Namaste.

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World Maternal Mental Health Day
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

International Maternal Mental Health Week
Monday April 30 – Sunday May 6