The amazing Kerry Haynes, Hanna (5), and Jeffrey (almost 3)
"I feel so lucky to have had two wonderful pregnancies that blessed me and my husband with two beautiful, happy, healthy children. It was the postpartum periods that I found to be difficult".
After the birth of her daughter, Hanna, Kerry struggled with what would be classified as "baby blues" but attributed it to the fact that she was having a really difficult time with breastfeeding. "I had no idea that it could be so hard! I couldn't seem to produce enough milk." Hanna had trouble latching and Kerry had to supplement with formula which led to her feeling like a failure.
Kerry went through the motions of her day to day but almost immediately after the birth of her son, Jeffrey, knew she wasn't well. "I found myself (or should I say, I lost myself) in a very dark place. I knew I should be happy, I wanted to be happy, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't feel it. I feared what people would think, so like so many other moms, I hid it. I struggled quietly with postpartum depression and anxiety. I was consumed by guilt, shame and fear. And I was angry, I was angry at myself for feeling all of these things. I kept waiting for all of these feelings to pass, but they didn't. For nearly a year, I felt like a stranger in my own body - mentally, emotionally and physically. I felt guilty for feeling depressed and I felt depressed because I felt lonely and disconnected. These feelings were further compounded by sleep deprivation and anxiety. And I cried. A lot."
Kerry says that she has since found strength in her struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety. When she was unable to find a support group in her area, she built herself a support system and she hopes to be able to do the same for others moms. Her personal experience has lead her to become a strong advocate for maternal mental health.
"Participating in this project was an important part of my personal journey. I did it for me. I have always struggled with my body image, but I have started to come into a place in my life where I care less about what I look like and more about how I feel. I did it for my daughter. I want to be a positive role model for her in a world that sets unrealistic standards for girls. I want her to know, to believe, that every[body] is beautiful. And I did it for all the moms who have ever doubted that they were less than beautiful. I LOVE everything about this project. I feel so honored to be a part of something that empowers, inspires and celebrates motherhood!"