postpartum depression and self-employment, what to expect when you're a pregnant wedding photographer, pregnant wedding photographer

Postpartum Depression and Self-Employment

Did you know that up to 1 in 5 Canadian women suffers from postpartum depression?  Postpartum depression can be scary enough as it is but postpartum depression and self-employment can cause additional challenges for many women.  Postpartum depression can affects women differently and at different times; some women can begin showing symptoms even before the baby is born while others may be symptom free for several months after the birth of their child.

Remember all of those “what if’s” that we talked about planning for; your mental health postpartum should be one of the important things you consider too.

Some women find that working and shooting weddings postpartum, while battling postpartum depression, is actually therapeutic.  Others find the idea of running a business to be more intimidating than ever and postpartum depression and self-employment becomes terrifying.  There’s no way you can predict what the status of your mental health will be postpartum nor can you predict how you’ll be affect by PDD if you are.

The take home message in this article is to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  If you’re dealing with self employment as a wedding photographer as well as PDD, you are not alone and there are resources for you.  You will get through this.  You are loved and you have support.  There are so many people around you who will be willing to help you not only with your every-day life but with any lingering business items while you’re taking care of yourself.  Trust me.

postpartum depression and self-employment, what to expect when you're a pregnant wedding photographer, pregnant wedding photographer

Below is Shelly‘s story:

“I am a wedding photographer who had a normal, very healthy albeit very nauseated pregnancy that took a sudden turn at 26 weeks, and delivered a healthy baby boy at 30 weeks. The business plan was to stop shooting at 30 weeks, tidy up all the loose ends of the biz by 36 weeks like editing, blogging, emails, etc, and take a mat leave after baby came for 3 months.

Those plans changed dramatically and along with welcoming a premie, I was also faced with postpartum depression.
Managing and taking care of my mental health is not new to me. I’ve dealt with a massive burnout and depression, am currently managing depression and anxiety on an ongoing basis, and also seasonal affective disorder. Going into this whole journey of starting a family, I knew that most likely my mental health would be affected, and that there was a high chance of my experiencing postpartum depression so I made sure that there was plenty of recovery time after the birth of baby to recoup.

That being said, since baby came early, ALL of my business plans were blown out of the water so for the most part I did put it aside for the most part, but I did keep my commitment to the things that were scheduled like an engagement shoot, editing a shoot, and etc. But I did not actively WORK on my business in terms of marketing, blogging, etc until I felt I was able to manage my family life and mental health WELL. So things did coast for a bit in terms of social media, blogging, etc…

Even though I knew that there was a possibility of postpartum depression, I wasn’t as informed as I had thought I was. I thought it would manifest as me crying all day long. But what in the end tipped me off that something was wrong was that when my loving, super awesome husband came home every day from work, I would be so irrationally angry at him. It turns out that PPD can manifest as irritability.

But the funny thing is I would only be irritable and angry with my husband and family, but not clients. For me, my business was an outlet, and was actually life-giving. I had a great time shooting the engagement session and weddings that were already on my books even though I was dealing with postpartum depression at the same time. That said I know that everyone’s experience is vastly different. Everyone has different triggers and stressors. It just so happened that mine was not shooting. I would get stressed if I thought about all the stuff that I should do to build my business that I was NOT doing, and I had to learn to lower my expectations for business because for me, baby and family came first.

I would say for all entrepreneur mama to be’s to be aware and to educate themselves on postpartum depression BEFORE they give birth. The best resource I’ve found is

I’ve heard so many stories of women who would struggle for a year and a bit to be diagnosed, and be miserable for that entire time. How much better would it be to get help right away and feel better sooner for yourself, and for your family and business.”


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