This photo was taken at the end of our session as a request by my new favorite clients. I really was just giggling the entire time while taking it. Baby was screaming – poopy diaper just laying open. Awesome.
But lets get real. The excitement of the last 9 months. The planning. The dreaming. They all fall away sometimes when you have this baby and BAM… you’re a zombie.
I was in my early 20’s when I had my first baby. He was planned. I got pregnant the first month and BOOM, I couldn’t wait to fulfill the mommy dream that I had imagined since I was a little girl. I wanted to be a mommy more than anything. I LOVE children. I LOVE babies. Fast forward to 9+ months, 21 hour labor, 8 +lb baby and home. My perfect life I had dreamed of just got REAL. REALLY REAL.
We were the first of our friends to have a baby and I didn’t have any close girlfriends. My husband was my BFF and he was a grown man child in his own right at 25. I had NO ONE to prepare me for the aftermath of what would happen to my body, my spirit and hormones following the delivery of my precious miracle.
I remember hurting. Badly.
Standing and looking at my new post baby body in the mirror and just crying, I thought, “This was the new me. This was how I was going to look forever.” (or so my 20-something mind thought.) I stood at my sons crib in the middle of the night watching him scream his head off and I literally started peeing all over the place. WHAT- THE -HECK??? Do I need diapers along with my child? My boobs were enormous and hurt like no ones business. DYING. Let’s not even mention the comatose state my husband would lay in nightly when the baby cried. The dark circles under my eyes grew along with my growing senses of sadness. I felt stuck. Trapped. I LOVED my beautiful boy, but the reality that I had created in my head was not this. I wasn’t the woman that loved pregnancy. I was hormonal and moody. This wasn’t the perfect image I had created. Was this my new “real”?
So instead of getting out, I did the opposite and hid. I hid within the walls of our home with our son and didn’t go anywhere. I felt so, so sad. So very alone.
Looking back, I now know I suffered from postpartum depression. It didn’t last longer than the first 3 months for me but for some can last up to the first year after delivery. It is treatable under medical care.
When moms come to my studio now following the delivery of their baby, I LOVE talking to them, getting to know them. More than anything being an encouragement to their spirit. These mamas have just witnessed one of the most amazing miracles of life. It’s overwhelming and awesome and rewarding and amazing. It can also be scary. Some of my moms sit and talk for an hour or two after our sessions, craving some adult conversation. I LOVE that. I always want them to know my door and my couch are always open to talk. To feel normal. To be someone other than a baby’s mother.
Motherhood is tough. It gets so much easier in some ways and so much harder in others.
If you think you or someone you know suffer from postpartum depression, here are some signs and signals:
Get help. Talk about it. I wish I had.