postpartum depression

where I stand in this bold life | meet nicole series

Life is hard. Life is tricky. Life is love and lust, pain and sadness, and full of so much growth and learning. Life is all we have. I find it strange that we go through childhood wondering, wishing, and striving to be an adult as if all of our problems will dissolve. Our vulnerability will be erased because we will be bigger, more educated, emotionally stable. I shake my head even writing that sentence out, but it is so true. We begged for our drivers license, graduation day, the ability to buy our own beer, but we got stuck with a car payment, driving to find our first job, and wondering if we have enough money left over to splurge on that beer.

I don't want my daughter to grow up too fast. I want to hold her tighter, rock her to bed, brush her hair, and get lost in her fort reading books till we fall asleep. We will not get this time back. I, like many women, struggle(d) with postpartum depression. While I have lived with PTSD, anxiety, and depression for the majority of my life, I am slowly learning how to just be. To be me, slow down, and have patience with myself and those around me. My tiny human teaches me day in and day out that it is okay to get upset, it is okay to laugh straight from the belly. Emotions can be fleeting if we let them. We are allowed to have bad days, but we are also allowed to have good days, happy days even!

Being a mother, wife, sister, and daughter I am finding grace in sitting in my emotions and situations. I'm not always looking for a solution to a problem. Sometimes I just want to hear you say, "I understand, " or "I hear you, it sucks," or even, "when you're ready we will figure it out together." Life is so much more about the living than the doing. Slow down! Smile at strangers. Buy yourself that coloring book and crayons and go color in a park after an awesome warm car nap. Just be!

I know some of you may be reading this thinking, "I can't," and coming up with a million reasons why you would rather create yet another to do list. Lend your self some grace, please. These battles we fight every day - what are they for? Why are we working day in and day out, year after year?

These are hard questions. I do not have the answers and feel they will be different and even change season to season. I have a hard time with all of this. I am so grateful to my husband, friends and family who let me gush to figure things out. Being open with who I am, talking about it, being vulnerable and real has me wondering why I ever felt alone.  Balancing my life, between a full time job, being a wife, mom and photographer, is tough. I fight the clock, shake my fist at needing sleep, I carry guilt, harbor anger, but I continually come back to my why.

I intrinsically want to help people. I want to show people how beautiful and real life can be the way it already is. The struggle IS real. I'm not going to ask you to smile in my images, I want you to be authentic. I want you to remember who you are in the moment. This is not always smiley, sunshine and rainbows. That is okay! That is real! That is life! It is okay to be!

So next time you are sitting on your couch or laying in bed, with all those swirling thoughts, take a deep breathe and let go.


With grit and grace,