A Visual Exploration of Postpartum Depression
What could be worse than being miserable while something great is happening in your life? That is what postpartum depression felt like for me after my firstborn. The Anxiety and Depression Association of American defines postpartum depression as, “…a mood disorder in women shortly after childbirth. Mothers with PPD (postpartum depression) experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can affect the woman's ability to care for herself or for others.” This traumatizing illness is what pushed me to create my current body of work, “Poporodní Deprese”.
Postpartum Depression is so quiet and taboo. There is not enough education and resources for mothers out in the medical world to help recognize the symptoms and be able to get help without judgement or panic. My work seeks to show the symptoms, emotions, and disconnection that mothers may feel. I photograph mothers who have personally suffered with postpartum depression, and work to explore the range of symptoms that can manifest. Not one experience with postpartum depression is the same.
Digital photographic media are used in order to be more easily approached and understood. Digital Images can be adjusted to create a mood and environment that is subtle, dark, quiet, and mysterious, in order to provoke contemplation and dialog.
The digital editing is dark and cold to represent the interior sentiments. The ethereal touch shows the delicacy of mothers in the trying time of postpartum depression. These photographs push the narrative of postpartum depression, to create an awareness of those small signs that the illness is emerging. The power of the photograph as both documentary evidence of and heightened surrealism places this hidden/ignored illness at the foreground in my work.