I recently attended a 2 day intensive training with PSI- Postpartum Support International. I learned SO much, and it fueled my passion for postpartum care even more. I am so passionate about mothers in general. The birth of the child and the birth of her mother is such a beautiful thing no matter what type of birth you have or how many children you have. Each birth is such a transformation. A huge part of that passion, that fuels my love for these women and their birth rights, extends to the postpartum period. I believe that the postpartum period is a sacred time in life, that does not get nearly enough attention. There is so much beauty, and power, and great deep emotion there. This is a time when a women should have the opportunity to really bond with their baby, and in order to do so there has to be a system of care built around her.
She should not have to worry about what to cook, what to wear, or who's picking up Marie from preschool. I really and truly believe this is where we need to step up as a society, bring back the village mentality and the community support. Meal trains, postpartum support groups, closing ceremonies, house care help, there are SO many ways to build on this. I believe that every single person alive, who is not a mother of a newborn child, is responsible for creating this. We all have mothers in our lives, and if we spend time supporting them, connecting with them, and caring for them in the tender and authentic ways that they deserve (the way they care for us!) we can change the world. They say, the children are the future of tomorrow. But who is leading these children? If it is women who are broken, alone, uncared for, suffering from mental health disorders, and suffering from unjust birth situations and trauma, how can we expect our future to prosper?
We must step up, all of us. The teenagers, the elderly, the church, the friends, the child free 20 somethings, the 30 somethings, the retired 50 somethings. Everyone. Everyone needs to be a part of this. YOU can afford to give a little love, pay for a meal, clean her house without being asked, support her, care for her, love her, CHERISH the mothers in your life. Your sister, your friend, your niece, or distant cousin, or the women who comes to your grocery lane every day. There are mothers in everyone's life. We all are here today, because of a mother. And when a mother is supported, cared for, loved, and unstressed, her children will thrive.
I know we have a long way to go, and most of us don't have the support we need in this area. I am going to post again soon, and go into more of what I learned in this training on PMADS, and the mental health of the mothers. There is so much I could write about, so many areas to touch on. For now though, lets get back to what we can do. If your not a mom, support your mothers in your life. If you are a mom, and your struggling, make a plan. The best time to do this? BEFORE your baby is born.(but its never too late) Everyone knows what a birth plan is, but have you ever heard of a postpartum plan? The term is a little new to me! Recently I met an amazing doula mama who is expecting, I am going to be her birth photographer and I am SO excited, shes due any day now! While listening to her birth plans, and getting to know her, I was just amazed by the light within her. She is the one who brought this term to my attention, she has taken this postpartum period so seriously, she has an AMAZING postpartum plan. I may ask her to share some of the details in another post. She has ideas for activities for her other children, numbers to call in her team, house care, child care, sleep care, food and meals and supplements and herbs, all planned and ready. There is so much. I love this, because being intentional about postpartum is a HUGE way to honor it and avoid being blindsided by its turns. There is so so many things I want to share about postpartum work and care.
I love the postpartum period so much. When I was a new mom, it was so scary. I wish I had seen it from the perspective I do now, back then- I had so little education. I didn't know anything about postpartum, so I definitely didn't have a plan for it. I believe that if I had, I would not have suffered nearly as much as I did. I was unprepared and unsupported, I suffered from extreme PPD, PPA, and birth PTSD. It took me years to really recover, and get back to feeling good again, and feeling like I deserved the title of MOM that my son gave me. It made a huge impact on my marriage and my relationship with my son. So I am really passionate about sharing what I have learned and been through, so hopefully someone will see my photos or my words, and be inspired to take control of their own story.
The next season of my photography journey, I really want to focus on highlighting the amazing women who choose to cherish their journey into motherhood. I want to take my camera beyond the birth room, and travel into the world beyond, the world between a mother and child. I want to cherish mothers, lift them up, celebrate their bodies and the miracle that they are. I want to cherish their journey into motherhood, and bring some light to the authentic beauty that is so often hidden away in this stage of life. I want to bring honor to postpartum, to the 4th trimester, to the power that is within each mother in the way she becomes and unfolds. I want to capture the messy, the funny, the lonely, the sad, the beautiful, the bond, the struggle. I want to capture it all, and bring honor to it. There is no map for motherhood, its so uniquely uncharted, there are no guarantees or rules that will shape it exactly how you want it. Its a complete surrender to control, to nature, to God, to instinct.
Here is a preview of my very first postpartum session, where I had the honor of meeting Stephanie and her little boy, and got to capture the story in their home and journey.
I can't wait to capture more sessions like this, if you or someone you know is interested in a postpartum session please reach out. I would love to honor everything and anything within your postpartum journey. From breastfeeding and pumping, to bottle feeding, the bond between you and baby, honoring your new body and stretch marks, finding the light, anything and everything. Feel free to come with your own story and ideas, and we can capture something that is uniquely you.
I look forward to doing these sessions, and to furthering my knowledge of the postpartum. To discovering the needs, and inspiring others to learn more as well. To inspire others to start to offer the support needed to the mothers in their own lives during this amazing, vulnerable, beautiful time.
Random note: The postpartum period is not agreed on by all. Traditionally recognized as right after birth up until one year of age. But I believe that the first couple months are a unique postpartum zone, and that the first 2-3 years after birth should also be included. I wish there was more vocabulary for the specific time frames, but all of it is postpartum to me.