In late 2012 a client approached me about her upcoming family photo session. Inexplicably trusting me, she confided that she had contemplated suicide the night before. Her son—5 months at the time, healthy and happy—had no idea that his mother was slowly suffering inside with postpartum depression.
With the help of a small group of resourceful women, we were able to raise money for the mother’s treatment. Six months later, free from the temptation of suicide and working towards rebuilding her relationships with her husband, son and friends, we finally had the portrait session that had been canceled earlier in the year. There was a soft, misty rain that afternoon in the flower field. The family came together in an effortless huddle of love, forgiveness, and hope.
Afterwards, on the ride home, I had an idea for a few photographs of her and her young son in a small pine forest off the side of the road. She agreed to entertain my notion, and within 20 minutes, I had the first images for the Partum Me series. When we later viewed the images, she shared that the moment captured during this impromptu session was the first time she had hugged her son without reservation and with so much intention.
This confession floored me. I knew there was a need to share her story, so I began to gather other women to participate in creating a series of images and stories in hopes of raising awareness about postpartum depression.
My hope in creating this collaborative series is that we can reach women that feel like they are alone and help them start a dialogue about their suffering with friends and family. This project is honest, loud, and brave. I honor those that have already shared their voices. They have taught me so much about motherhood, and what can be looming under the surface of all of us. We are not meant to fear these feelings as mainstream media has taught us. We are meant to confront them, create noise, and find a rhythm to regain control over our experiences, together.
Read their stories here.