I am stepping outside of my normal ALL THINGS wedding this year (in more ways than one but let's start with this!). While weddings are the most dear to my heart photography wise, there is an issue that I feel I must address this year. Postpartum Depression and the stigmas that cause women not to seek help. Different cultures and communities have their own stigmas toward mental illness and that is true too when it comes to postpartum issues. Postpartum depression is actually one of the key factors that brought me down the road of owning Magnolia Ridge Photography and I will be sharing my story with you at a later date.
This year my goal is share the stories of women in our community who have experienced PPD (PostPartum Depression) in its many forms to help normalize the conversation so that women can seek help. Why do this on a photography blog dedicated predominantly to the wedding industry? 1) Because I can. 2) Because brides will often be faced with this issue within a year or two of marriage. If my followers or brides who may visit my page REMEMBER this project or ONE of these blog posts, then maybe they will seek the help they need when it is time.
Our stories are not the same. The symptoms are not always the same. Not everyone experiences the thoughts of harming their child or suicide but some do. Anger and Rage are a very common symptom and unfortunately it is often taken out on those closest to us including our husbands and partners. I hope you journey with me this year meeting the mothers of our community. Share their stories, talk to your friends who have just had a baby. Ask them if they are okay. If you need help, please feel free to contact me through this website. I will be happy to talk to you online or if you are local, invite you for coffee/tea and help find resources for you. I am hoping to share an entire post of resources as well.
Please help me support these mothers and future mothers who need our help in normalizing PPD and not being afraid to find the help they need.
To start off our series, I want to introduce you to Su. Su is a strong woman I met at my children's pre-school three years ago. She is vivacious and outgoing. I had the pleasure of sitting down with her recently and we shared our stories. I am going to let her tell you her story in her own words as I share pictures of her and her beautiful daughter Lennox from a pretty winter day in January. Leave a comment and show Su some love for being a strong and amazing mom in our community! If you would like to share your story, please contact me. ~Krista
"My first time experiencing PPD was my second child. My first daughter. There was a horrible thunderstorm outside. I was home alone with my two children. My son, who was three and a half at the time, and my daughter who was four months. The lights had gone out due to the storm and my son just couldn’t understand why were in the dark. So he starts to ask twenty questions per minute. I was frantically trying to find matches or a flashlight or something that would help me through the obstacle of toys that were on the floor. By this time, we’re five minutes into the blackout and my daughter starts hollering, which in-turn makes my son start crying. And I start yelling. I still can’t find light. And they wouldn’t stop. Now I feel anger. I just want the noise to stop. And in a split second, I’m standing at the top of my stairs thinking, “If I throw her down the stairs, she’ll stop screaming”. The feeling was strong. I just wanted to be able to think in silence. At that moment I grabbed my son by the arm and yanked him into the bathroom right behind us, where I crouched down in the tub with them and cried until the lights came on one hour later. The next morning, I showed up at my Doctor’s office without an appointment begging for help. I was prescribed something for anxiety.
Fast forward Ten years later, and my surprise “menopause” unplanned miracle arrives in the form of a beautiful baby girl. She filled a void that I was unaware existed in my life. My two other children were old enough to help. This was going to be a breeze. But I was now almost Forty years old, starting over with a baby. My life consisted of nursing a newborn, changing diapers, catching up on last season of “This is Us” at 3 A.M. On top of my older children’s busy extracurricular schedules. I was managing two hour stretches of sleep at a time. I went back to work at the Preschool ONE month after I had her. The preschool was my happy place, I would have help with the baby because she would be in the nursery and I felt a sense of fulfillment that I didn’t feel at home. So, utterly exhausted, I returned to work ONE MONTH postpartum. I even continued babysitting children that I had previously babysat for years after work because I didn’t want to let their mother down. All while extraordinarily sleep-deprived.
One morning, I’m driving the three children to preschool. The two I babysat and my own. There were three car seats in my back seat. I didn’t see the red light that I ran and was sideswiped by a huge pick-up truck on my driver’s side door. Airbags deployed. My car smoked. And could you believe not one child cried? By the grace of God, the only one hurt was me and it was due to the airbag. But what hurt the most was having to call these children’s mom and tell her that I had just had an accident.
Once home, I cried for days. All I could think about was that I almost killed someone else’s kids. I was without a car, I was tired and I had nightmares about this episode turning out so differently. I became severely depressed and lost my will to live. Thank Goodness my baby was still a newborn and slept most of the day because that’s all I did. A week later, I went to my doctor and told her what I was feeling. She listened and cried with me. She prescribed an anti-depressant that helped take away the darkness (along with prayer) within a week.
I’m thankful for a doctor who knew how to listen. I’m grateful for a God who shown me signs when I should step back and be still. And I’m blessed to have three beautiful children who show me love when I feel unworthy."
Thank you Su for sharing your story. You are such an amazing person and I'm so glad you have had a hand with my young children. I hope your story speaks to someone and they find hope in your words.