As a maternity photographer, I get to meet and photograph so many amazing women. Sarah and I started talking in our pre-consultation. I knew she would be a great Mother of the Month to tell her story. Read to the bottom as Sarah opens up about post-partum depression and how it happened, how she realized it, and how she healed herself.
I have worked with many women trying to let go of postpartum depression or feel beautiful in their pregnant body. Have questions? Want to feel beautiful? Let’s talk about creating a special healing session for you.
1) Tell me a little bit about yourself, Chris and how you met. Why you decided to have kids. Was it an easy process?
I’m a wife and a mama. I have a bachelor’s degree in theatre with an emphasis in performance from Northern Arizona University. I’ve always loved singing, acting, and dancing. I was runner up in Ed McMahon’s “Next Big Star” national talent contest in 2001. I’ve done several stage productions and a few commercials. I now keep my performances limited to my living room with my toddler and dogs being my only audience members. We tend to have several dance parties and concerts on a daily basis.
My husband and I unknowingly met during high school when our two schools had our choirs singing the national anthem during a minor league baseball game. He was a senior and I was a sophomore. My parents have pictures and video footage of the moment where he and I literally sang elbow to elbow. We weren’t formally introduced to each other until September of 2006. My husband’s mother was actually the person who set us up and it worked! We married a few years later and knew we wanted to start a family once we were settled and ready. We welcomed our first babe in 2014. Baby #2 should be gracing us with her presence at any moment.
2) How do you want to guide this little person in the world?
The world we live in can be intense, crazy, and even scary at times. Our goal is to instill good values in our children and raise good people so they go off and do great things once they set out on their own. We want our kids to be kind, caring, helpful, strong, and independent. My husband and I hope for the best for them. We’ll always be there for them whether they need us or not.
3)Tell me about why you decided to have professional family or maternity photographs, and why you trusted me to take these special photos.
Photographing our life as a couple/family has always been important to us. Yes, cell phone and tablet pictures are great and we do have thousands of those, but we find that hiring great photographers to capture special moments and events in our life from time to time is awesome and much needed. We get to relax!
I came across Jennifer’s work just before we conceived our first child and loved it! We didn’t get a chance to work with her that time around, but I made sure that we did this time around while expecting baby #2. I needed it. Her work is so artistic and stands out!
4) Please use this last question to talk about your post part depression and how you healed from it, how others can heal or what they should look out for. This is a great opportunity for you to impart some kind of wisdom about what you learned along the way.
I struggled with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and nighttime panic attacks after I gave birth to our first born. It took me a long six months to realize it all. I had noticed that I wasn’t quite “me” anymore, but I just brushed it off as being a super tired new mama trying to get back into the swing of things. One day it just dawned on me that I could possibly be struggling with those exact things. I looked it up, read tons of articles on those struggles, and my suspicions were correct. I was upset with my doctor for not screening me at all after the birth of our baby. I stewed on it for about a week before bringing up my findings to my husband. My husband felt awful after I told him everything because he had noticed the difference in me, had been frustrated with the changes in me, and hadn’t mentioned the things he was seeing in me. It took a lot of analyzing and venting to work through it all, but I got through it.
It’s just crazy thinking back on the things that triggered my fall into all of that! The biggest trigger were some poorly chosen words spoken to me by the hospital’s on call laborist after a long a tough labor. Then there were some nurses who had terrible bedside manners. Add a few other things said and done by a few others and it all snowballed together and pushed me into a deep pit that I had to climb out of.
If you have a wife, partner, sister, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, or friend who has just given birth you need to pay just as much attention to them as you do their new baby. Don’t forget about them. Don’t brush them aside as you play and coo over the newborn. Talk to the new mama! She could secretly be struggling or she could be like I was and not know at all that she is struggling. If you notice something, say or do something to try and help. It takes a village.
Jennifer helped me regain some awesome confidence in our recent photo session. It was like a final release of the postpartum depression and anxiety. Her Sacred Mother Project is beautiful and amazing! I feel empowered. I am woman, hear me roar!
To read more essays from other mothers featured, please visit our Mother of the Month archives.