Hi! Welcome to my blog! Since this is my first blog, ever, I thought I would start with an introduction. I’m inviting you in, so to speak, to let you know why I do what I do and why I love it so much!
First, my name is Amity Graham. I am primarily a stay at home mom of three amazing, wonderful, creative and energetic children, Brandon (6), Lizelle (4) and Aurora (1). My family is the most important thing in my life. I am incredibly lucky to have these three little people in my life!
Second, I am a newborn, baby and child photographer. I LOVE my job! How could I not? I get to snuggle and photograph newborns and play with babies and children. In the end, I give their families a beautiful memory and heirlooms to be enjoyed for generations. One of my favorite parts about my job is seeing the love and adoration on the faces of the parents. I love that I can give families a beautiful memorial of this fleeting time that is childhood.
Having a new baby is such an amazing and tumultuous time. It goes by so incredibly quickly. It’s almost cruel how quickly. This leads me to my “why.” Why do I feel so strongly about having newborn, infant and child portraits and why it touches my heart to be able to give families these beautiful memories of their babies.
You see, after the birth of my son, I struggled with PPD (Post-Partum Depression). I loved my baby boy more than anything in the world, but I felt inadequate. I felt like I didn’t deserve the honor of being a mother to this beautiful baby. It was paralyzing, I did the best I could to care for my baby boy, but everything felt like a Herculean effort. I did not reach out or ask for help. My PPD went untreated. I have very few photos of my boy as a baby because I literally could not find the energy to take them. PPD stole those memories from me. The Photo at the left is the only "newborn" photo I have of my son.
When my son was about 18 months old (photo at right), I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I had never treated my PPD and it morphed into APD (Antepartum Depression). My son, unfortunately, saw me at my worst. There were days that I just held him and cried. All day. I had worked out a very detailed plan to end my life, I just had to try to hold on until my baby girl was born. I loved her so much and she deserved to live. I felt like my children would be better off without me, I just had to wait. So, I suffered in silence. Until one day, I broke.
Breaking the Silence
We had a package delivered (I honestly have no memory of what was inside). My son was very excited to see what it was. I was holding the kitchen shears, preparing to open the package, when I had an extreme urge and vision of using the shears on myself. I looked down and saw my baby boy looking up at me, waiting patiently, and my pregnant belly. I panicked. I dropped the shears on the table and picked up my boy and my phone. I texted my husband and told him what happened. He rushed home and held me and our boy while I cried. He made me an appointment with a therapist. I started going to therapy once a week until my beautiful baby girl was born. It most definitely helped. It didn’t end my depression, but it helped make it more manageable.
After she was born, she needed me full time and I stopped going to therapy. I slipped back into depression. It scared me because I knew just how dark it could get. I wasn’t going to be silent about it this time though. At my six-week checkup, I told my doctor everything. He prescribed me medication and advised me to adjust my diet and go for walks for fresh air and exercise.
As my emotions started to level out, my muddy brain began to clear. I tried to look back on the past few years and realized just how much I missed. How much PPD stole from me. I let PPD steal from me by not reaching out for help sooner. That is when I picked up my camera again and swore I would not miss any more! Again, this is really the only "newborn" photo I have of my older daughter.
Missing No More!
When my third, and final, baby was born, I didn’t miss the newborn portraits. I got those milestones! I treasure those prints! I fill albums with photos of my children. I look around at the portraits of my children proudly displayed on my walls, coffee tables, mantle, piano and just about every other surface I can put them on, and I feel the overwhelming love. I just wish, more than anything, that I could go back and get those baby portraits of my first two.
This is my very personal “why.” Why I do what I do. I don’t want anyone to feel that regret. I absolutely LOVE what I do. I love that I can capture that time and present my clients with beautiful portraits of the most precious beings in their lives. Katie Thurmes put it perfectly when she said, “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” That quote is so powerful because it is so true. Children will never be the same as they are in this moment, so remember your children forever, the way they are today.
If you, or anyone you know may be struggling with depression, any type, reach out and get or give help. PPD has been silently torturing women for way too long. Too many women think they should be able to deal with it by themselves and this can lead to devastating consequences. Please learn the signs. You can learn more by visiting Postpartum Support International, call their helpline at 1-800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453. More locally, visit the Perinatal Mental Health Coalition of Missoula's Facebook page.
If you're interested in booking a session, you may contact me here.