Treya Sayad (40), mother to Gavin (21), Oliver (4), and Henry (7 months - pictured)
Logan, Utah | Photographed in Las Vegas, NV
Treya shares -
I had one miscarriage. I got pregnant at a time in my life when I couldn't possibly care for another child. I was a single mom of a 7 year old at the time (he's now 21). I researched abortion and adoption options and decided I wanted an abortion. In the meantime, my body rejected the pregnancy and I miscarried. I was very relieved to have miscarried.
I have never loved the body I was in. I grew up with a mom who was constantly dieting and obsessed with weight. Hers and everyone else's. My two older brothers mercilessly teased me about being a chubby little girl. They would moo when I was near, and they called me heifer. I didn't even know what that word heifer meant.
I developed an eating disorder at 17. At first I was strictly anorexic, but I loved food too much, so I also turned to bulimia to be able to still eat and stay thin. I thought being skinny would change my life, and everything would fall into place. I found out that wasn't true I was just a more desirable size, but still had all my same emotional issues. Being skinny didn't heal those! My eating disorders continued until I found out I was pregnant with my 1st child at 19. I was so excited to be pregnant, because I knew I had to eat to sustain life - one that mattered more than my own.
My pregnancy with my first child created stretch marks all over my stomach. My least favorite body part, then became even more ugly to me. Being pregnant, I gave up eating disorders and scales and decided to just LIVE. I decided to eat whatever I want, whenever I want! Incidentally, I've gained 60 pounds since I was 19. A lot of that weight came after starting an antidepressant in my 20's. I decided to embrace the fat, dress as well as I could to hide my big stomach and pretend like I didn't care I was fat. I did care, and I still do. I'm still trying to love myself and my body. Posing for 4th trimester bodies is something I am pushing myself to do. I am extremely uncomfortable doing this photo shoot, but I want other moms to see that beautiful women come in all different shapes and sizes.
Since adolescence I have consistently struggled with depression and anxiety. As and adult, I felt I had no business having children, that I wasn't mentally well enough to be a mother. I worried my mood disorders would affect my children negatively. My children have been catalysts for healing and change in my life.
Five years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Oliver, I got sober. I quit drinking and smoking and decided to be more present. Rather than self medicate and avoid emotional pain, I decided to feel my feelings and to honor them. I had avoided feeling any emotion that I felt was "bad" or difficult for a lifetime! Doing that catches up to you! Those feelings have to go somewhere! Becoming an emotionally well person and mother was hard work. I was in therapy for nearly 2 years working on some deep, old, painful issues. Little by little I watched the pieces of my life really just fall into place. My marriage improved. I was an active, involved mother. I was starting to have good relationships! I dusted off my camera and decided to pick up photography again! I credit sobriety and therapy, and my children who came along and really forced me to lift myself out of the rut I was in.
I got pregnant with our last child in December of 2017 and although we were excited, I was worried I might be upsetting the balance I had found in my life. What if one more child would tip the scales? What if I couldn't handle two little children? What if my mental illness would make it impossible for me to parent these babies in a way that I would be proud of? I was terrified. During my pregnancy I had gone off my antidepressant and decided I never wanted to go back on. I hated being medicated. I wanted to try to handle life on my own, without medication.
My pregnancy went okay, but as soon as I had the baby, I was so sad. I cried everyday. I felt stuck at home, I wondered how I could ever handle the responsibility of two little kids. I felt joyless, stuck, trapped, afraid, angry, and alone. I tried everything to battle my pre existing and my newfound postpartum depression. I exercised, I reached out to friends, I talked about my depression. I googled depression, I went to a support group. I talked to my husband. I increased my therapy sessions to weekly. I resisted going back on my medication until I couldn't take it anymore. I really could not cope with life. It felt too hard. And I felt like I'd never feel better. When Henry was 8 weeks old, I caved and went to my doctor and went back on my medication. And honestly, within 2 days I felt better. The crying jags stopped. I didn't feel so hopeless.
Unfortunately, my anxiety increased with the medication but the depression completely lifted. I have been working on the anxiety piece for the last 5 months. And I found recently that increasing my dosage of my medication would help with that anxiety. I didn't believe my doctor when he told me I should increase my dose but I wanted relief, so I tried it. Increasing my dose has really helped. We are almost 8 months into this transition from one child to two and life is really good. The best its ever been!"