I Had Postpartum Depression
You never really know what's going on in someone's life. With the inside look that social media provides to people's lives its easy to see the way that someone else lives and compare your life to theirs. So often the picture we see online is not really what's going on behind closed doors.
Originally today I was going to post some pictures from a recent session but after waking up to the news of yet another tragic suicide I felt instead a pull to share my own story with mental health.
Life as a stay-at-home mom can feel very lonely and isolating. It's easy to see other moms who look like 'they have it all together'. I'm sure people have thought that about me. Comparing one's self to another is where our downfall lies.
For a little over three years my entire focus has been on my children and, somewhere along the way, I forgot that if I don't take care of mama, I can't take care of them. Many don’t talk about how hard it is to transition from one to two children. You always hear about the difficulties of transitioning from two to three, but I think having even one thing shouting "MAMA" at you all day long would get to anyone. After Adilia was born my mind got lost along the way. Postpartum caught me off guard and it took me awhile to acknowledge that it was more than just being tired or not handling the transition to two children. Recovery from having my second child wasn’t easy. I had a few complications and a health scare which I believe triggered my anxiety and depression. I'm someone who likes to stay in control and I found the lack of control in motherhood overwhelming.
Looking back on the last year it all feels like a cloudy blur. I put in the work I started taking time for myself again. Working out, finding creative outlets and trying to find where my mom-self ended and my individual-self began. What I’ve learned is they are both always there. I will always be Neva and Adilia’s mother but I will also be Adrienne Leigh an imperfect, opinionated and passionate individual.
I'm telling my story because I wish there was less stigma and more conversations about mental health and the different forms it shows up. Through the support of my family and the help of a therapist I can now say I feel like myself again. Feeling like "myself" doesn't mean I'm never anxious, I'm never sad or I'm never overwhelmed. It means that I know now that when I'm in those moments that I wont feel like that forever. Nothing is forever. No one is perfect. No one is not struggling in some way.
Depression comes in many levels. I ignored mine for so long because I thought postpartum meant I wouldn't have an attachment to my child or I'd be suicidal. For me that's not how I felt. For me it was sensory overload. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by things that I previously wouldn't have been. Acknowledging my feelings to my husband and beginning to see a therapist was what helped me climb out of my depression. My therapist gave me the tools and I put in the work. I reordered my priorities moving myself to the top of the list.
Photography has become my outlet. Everyone has their own story, their own struggle. Capturing someones joy and sharing their story makes my heart sing.
Being a mom is hard. Take time for yourself. Voice your feelings to someone you trust. I promise you are not alone. What you are feeling will not last forever.
Thank you for listening. I hope you all have a joy filled day.