3 Tips to Help With Post-Partum Depletion

While not as commonly known as post-natal depression, post-natal or post-partum depletion is a very real thing affect 1 in every 10 Australian mothers. Australian doctor and author, Dr Oscar Serrallach has shared the issues surrounding post-partum depletion and how our modern Western culture has severely impacted mothers and their capacity to parent after birth.

What is post-partum depletion

You’re probably familiar with the symptoms but were unaware it had a scientific term. Post-partum depletion involves feeling hyper vigilant, foggy brained, frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious, little libido, isolated, vulnerable, exhausted but unable to switch off. Sound familiar?

Many women know they aren’t depressed, but something isn’t right so we tend not to get the help we need or go to the GP about it. When left without support, mothers with post-partum depletion are more likely to get post-partum depression and there is definite overlap of the two conditions.

What can you do to help?

If you have or think you might have post-partum depletion there are things you can do to help you recover.

  1. Eat as well as you can

During pregnancy and childbirth our bodies have gone through significant change and our baby was reliant on our nutrients and stores. If we aren’t replenishing our bodies, eating well and ensuring we get enough nutrients, our bodies simply can’t cope.

Angela Harris said, “After the birth of my baby I was exhausted and barely ate. Bread crusts, snack foods and soft drink were pretty much the only things I had. As a result, I became more exhausted. With a newborn, no sleep and no time for myself I couldn’t think straight. By the time Sam was a toddler, I was just eating whatever he left behind as a typical fussy toddler. With no real food or sleep, I began to feel like a zombie. This is when I knew something had to change.”

“I went to my GP, had some blood tests and sure enough, my iron level and other vitamin levels were quite low. I needed some supplements and a drastic change in my diet. I had always scoffed at the advice about what we eat, but it really had a massive impact.”

  1. Get Sleep!!!

As impossible as it seems, it’s essential! In ancient cultures and still today in many Eastern cultures, the weeks or months after birth are for the mother to rest and be taken care of. Traditions involving certain soups, teas and rest, along with massage are common across Korea, China, Japan and Indian. Ensuring the mother can rest and restore herself after the birth is viewed as sacred and necessary for the entire family and community or tribe as  whole.

 

See if a friend or family member can watch your little one so you can get a full nights rest. If your baby isn’t sleeping well, get help with it. There are programs and clinics to help with sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture used in war! So get the sleep you desperately need and do not feel guilty about it.

post partum depletion
Being a parent is a tough gig! You are responsible 24/7 for the new little person in your life. It’s easy to become completely exhausted after putting everyone’s needs before your own

  1. Get help

Sacrificing every part of  yourself for everyone else is no way to live. Our mothers typically had communities around them supporting them. Ancient tribes supported entire families when they had a newborn because they knew how important it was.

Nihirika assumed it was homesickness since they had moved to Australia and had no support when their daughter was born. But after a few years of exhaustion, she knew something had to be done and finally went to her doctor.

“In India, after the baby is born, the whole community helps. Our families would have been there, I would have had time to recover, rest and be taken care of. It is an important time in our culture. Moving here to Melbourne, we were alone and both of us had to go back to work quickly to afford to live after our baby. After a few years I was so exhausted I could not even stay upright for long. I finally went to the GP and my iron levels were so low I needed treatment in hospital but the wait here was a few months. My husband and I decided it would be best to send my daughter and I back to India for a while and to get treatment there immediately but also to have family support.”

“As soon as I arrived, I had the support I needed. I was able to rest, had the treatment at the hospital and spent a month in India recovering. My family there connected me with more people in Melbourne and I made an effort to go to mothers groups when I got home to Australia, and find more of a support network for myself at home. Now, I feel so much better and can’t believe I let it go on for so long.”

Being a mother in today’s society can be an isolating experience leaving you completely depleted. It doesn’t have to though. Diana from Mother.ly knew this all too well.

“A little over a year ago, I was walking out of a play gym class with my toddler and newborn, when my toddler ran out towards the parking lot. Don’t worry, I caught him. But not without skinning both my knees (ps that hurts way more than I remember from my childhood) and almost dropping my newborn. It turned out fine, but all I could do in that moment was sit on the sidewalk and cry.

I was just so, so tired. I felt depleted, overwhelmed and quite frankly, a little lost.

And that’s when a mom—an angel—came over to me, bent down to help me up and said the words I will never, ever forget (and always appreciate) —

You’re not doing it wrong. It’s just that hard.

As mothers, we know it’s a hard gig. That’s why it’s important for us to support one another, recognise the signs and get help when needed.

 

What have you done or what do you recommend for post-partum depletion? What was your experience?

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    Top 5 Tips for Displaying Your Photographs in Your Home

    Photos aren’t meant to be hidden on a USB in a drawer somewhere.  They should be displayed in your home for you to enjoy every day!  But choosing the right images, suppliers, and position for your wall art can be confusing.

    Here are my top 5 tips for displaying your photographs in your home:

     

    Tip 1:  Design a Wall Art Collection

    A collection of canvases or frames is the best way to create a stunning feature in your home.  It can be difficult to visualise how several images can look on your wall.  The best way is to ask your photographer to put together a wall art display guide using your images.  You may even be able to send your photographer a picture of the place in your home that you’re planning to put your images on to get a real-life view.

    displaying wall art photography at homeUsing wall guides is a great way to put together a design and to be able to visualise exactly how your images will look on your wall

    Canvases and Frames can be a large investment, so I offer discounted collections in 2 different designs – the Jigsaw (4 images) and the Trilogy (3 images).

    Tip 2:  Purchase quality products

    There are so many online options for printing products.  Many people after seeing a photographer and getting the digital files, shop around online for the cheapest priced canvases and framed prints.  Don’t be fooled!  Many of these cheap products are of a poor quality and will not stand the test of time.  I have seen many albums which are falling apart and canvases which are becoming discoloured within a year of purchase.

    As a photographer, it’s important to me that my clients receive the best quality products available.  I’ve spent time finding the best suppliers in Australia – many of whom offer fantastic 75 year guarantees!  As the old saying says: “you get what you pay for”.  And this is the truth!

     

    Tip 3:  Buy the biggest sizes you can afford

    When it comes to wall art, the bigger the size the better.  The most common mistake that people make is to have a canvas or a frame that is too small for the wall where it is being displayed.  Using a wall guide display can help you visualise the right size for your wall.

    amy tong photography wall artUsing a wall display guide is a great way to be able to visualise the correct size for a frame or canvas on the wall. Many people mistakenly purchase smaller displays that don’t look right on bigger walls. This is an example of an 11×16 inch display.

    best newborn photography near meLarger displays have better presence on walls.  This image is a 20 x 30 inch framed print which looks beautiful on the large walls in a bedroom or nursery.

     

    Tip 4:  Take care of your canvases and framed prints

    When you have your beautiful canvas art and framed prints on display, there are some things you should do keep them in pristine condition for the years to come.  To clean, use a duster or a cloth to remove dust.  If necessary, you can use a slightly damp cloth with water only.  Don’t use any solvents or cleaners.  When choosing where to display your images, keeping them out of direct sunlight will ensure that they last as long as possible.

     

    I hope this article has inspired you to get your beautiful images on your wall.  Enjoy them every day!

     

    Have any questions?  I’d love to hear from you.

    Amy x

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      Thinking of becoming a baby photographer? Read this first

      Are you thinking of becoming a baby photographer?  I totally get it.  I was in your shoes 7 years ago.  The allure of becoming a baby photographer is huge…

      – flexible work hours
      – the ability to balance being a Mum & having a career
      – spending time cuddling gorgeous babies
      – earning a living from something you love doing

      But if you’re considering taking the plunge and becoming a professional baby photographer.  I hate to break it to you.  It’s not all roses.

      Building a successful baby photography business can be really hard.  I would even argue that it’s harder now than ever before.  Certainly, when I first started almost 7 years ago I don’t recall the same struggles that there are now in 2018.

      I hate to burst your bubble but the numbers aren’t pretty…

      95% of photography businesses fail within the first 5 years!  Yes.  You read the number right.  As shocking as it is, it’s important that you understand this if you are considering this as a career change.

      Why do they fail?  I would argue that this figure has a lot to do with people not charging enough for their work.

      so you want to become a baby photographerSure, being a baby photographer has it’s perks. But don’t let the sweet faces deceive you. Running a successful and PROFITABLE baby photography business is no walk in the park.

       

      The explosion of online photography education….

      The number of new baby photographers that have started out in the last 3-4 years is absolutely staggering.  In my opinion, this is largely due to the absolute saturation of online courses, workshops and tutorials in the baby photography market over that time.  Just about everyone is now offering workshops, tutorials and more.  What used to take years of practice, trial and error, and thousands of dollars in in-person workshops, can now be learned in the space of only a few days and only $100 online.  What I wouldn’t have given to have had the amount of online resources available to me when I was first starting out!

      Whilst this is all great at face value.  I can’t help but feel that the negative of the widespread access to all of this low-cost learning, is an enormous number of people becoming baby photographers.  Of course, in economic terms this means an over-supply of photographers, and a dilution of the value of what we as photographers are able to charge.

      Many people when they first start up, charge very little for their work.  I know that I was in this position when I first started.  I think when someone is still learning, and their work is not yet of a high standard, this isn’t necessarily a problem.  What I do feel is a problem though, is that there are some photographers who aren’t charging what they should when their work is really really good!  Potential clients are overwhelmed with the number of baby photographers available to them.  Of course, they’re going to find the cheapest photographer available.

      Inevitably, these cheap photographers can’t stay cheap forever.  They’re either going to go broke (or discover that working at McDonalds for minimum wage they’ll actually earn more for the amount of hours they put in to a session), or they’ll have to increase their prices to make a sustainable business.  But… there is always another person with a shiny new DSLR equipped with the knowledge from the latest online workshop just waiting to take their place in the “$100 for all the digital files” game.  And so it continues….

       

      Do your numbers

      If you’re thinking about becoming a baby photographer.  Please think long and hard about this decision.  Do you really want to make this a business that earns a decent living and contributes to your household income?  Or do you just want to keep photography as a fun hobby and take photos for family and friends?  If it’s the first option, then you need to be prepared for the hard yards.  Get serious about becoming a great photographer and charge what you’re worth.

      Find out what other photographers at your level are charging in your area and don’t undercut them.  Work out how much money you need to earn a year (minus tax and the cost of doing business/equipment/insurance etc), divide that number by the number of sessions you can do a year, and you’ll find your minimum profit per session that you have to make.  If it’s anything less than $500 per session, you may as well go get that job at McDonalds.

      Do the numbers.  All photographers deserve better.

       

       

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      • Natalie WestonIt’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this excellent blog!
        I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my
        Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will
        talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

      The Risks of Copying Newborn Photography at Home

      Newborn photos are a wonderful way to preserve memories. Our gorgeous babies grow and change so quickly, it feels like you blink and they’re a teenager! Capturing precious moments with your newborn such as photos in cute poses and different outfits is something every parent wants. However, many popular newborn photos can be dangerous if attempted at home.

      Professional newborn photographers have spent years learning their craft, not only photography but safety around babies. Poses which seem simple to you may actually carry risks to your baby if not done properly. Often, these images require editing and Photoshop work to achieve the exact result. This doesn’t mean you can’t do beautiful photos yourself (I have tips here for you to do them), it simply means be careful.

      • “Froggy” & The “Potato Sack” Poses
        We’ve all seen the adorable image of a newborn resting its head on its hands, with their legs tucked neatly under (froggy pose).  Or a newborn sitting upright all wrapped up (potato sack pose). What you might not know is this pose requires a few photos in different positions, then the photos are edited together to create the image.

        Propping a newborn baby up in these poses can be dangerous and should never be attempted by anyone except a very experienced professional. Newborns need their heads to be fully supported at all times. At this age, their heads are too heavy for their arms to support and they simply don’t have the control to hold the pose themselves.
        Photography assistants hold the baby’s head in place in one photo then their arms in another and the images are merged.

      newborn photos sydney
      Advanced poses such as the Potato Sack pose should never be attempted by anyone other than an experienced, professional newborn photographer.  The baby’s head must be fully supported at all times and a composite shot put together in Photoshop.

       

      • Photos with pets
        Pets require time to get used to a newborn baby and there are recommendations for introducing your baby to your pet which all pet owners should follow. Not matter how well trained your ‘fur baby’ is, accidents happen. Sudden movements, the baby accidentally gripping your pet or the pet simply feeling out of place can all cause an otherwise patient and loving pet to attack.  In seconds, your gorgeous baby can have scratches on their face or even worse. Over 13,000 people a year are hospitalised for dog bites. Don’t let this be you or your precious bundle of joy!

       

      • Hanging poses
        Poses where a newborn is hanging in a sling or similar can present risks. While a newborn might be sleeping when the image is attempted, it is all too easy for them to move suddenly and fall out. Assistants are used by professional newborn photographers to help with these images and to ensure the baby is always supported properly. It’s easy for them to edit images as needed to get the pose a parent wants.Better still – lay the baby on a soft surface on top of a black blanket.  This can create an optical illusion to look like your baby is hanging when really they were laying and sleeping soundly on a blanket the whole time!newborn photos sydney

      Many photos that professional baby photographers take are optical illusions. Photos like this may appear to be of baby being held in the air when they are actually laying safely on a black backdrop.

       

      Don’t be disheartened though.  There are lots of beautiful & simple images you can capture of your new baby. Be sure to grab the camera and snap as many photos of your adorable baby as you desire, just be sure to do them safely. Babies are beautiful as they are whether they’re swaddled with headbands and other accessories or simply laying on a rug.

      Remember – if you do want more complex poses of your baby, or you realise that you can’t capture the standard of images that you want of your new baby, be sure to book in with a professional newborn photographer ASAP before your baby grows too much!

      Amy Tong is a multi-award winning newborn photographer in Sydney’s Inner West.

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      • TamaraOmg I TOTALLY agree with you babe! So many people are unaware that ALOT of the images we take are composites!

      • AmyTongIt’s pretty scary isn’t it Tamara? I dread the day that I read someone has accidentally injured their baby trying to attempt a pose at home themselves 🙁

      How to Photograph Your Own Baby DIY

      Capturing our precious children when they’re newborns is magical. So sweet, so innocent, they’re memories we treasure forever.

      But not everyone wants to, or can afford to, hire a professional for a professional photo shoot.  If this is you, you’ll be happy to know that you can capture moments on your own with a few tips.

      Tips for Photographing Your Own Baby

      1. Safety first

      The most important part of any baby photo shoot must always be your baby’s safety.  If you’re planning on doing your own baby photographs, please make sure that you don’t attempt any complex poses that you see online.  Many of the adorable newborn photos you see use a few photos edited together to get the perfect shot, also known as a composite image.  Keep it simple and safe!  Place your baby on a large soft surface such as a bed or a lounge.

      2.  Research, research, research

      Look online to see images your like, props, positions and backgrounds. With the positions, as per tip number 1, check how they are done and if they are doable at home or on your own. Many, such as the froggy pose are not. Check out this post for newborn photography ideas that are easy to do yourself at home including poses, people and props.

      newborn photography composite images
      More complex poses such as the popular “potato sack” pose should not be attempted at home. These sort of poses should only be done by an experienced professional newborn photographer

      3.  Lighting matters

      In a studio we use professional lighting to get great images, however, you don’t need to. One of the best sources of lighting is natural light from the sun. Mid morning or mid afternoon so the sun isn’t it’s harshest provides beautiful natural light for your photos. You can use a baby doll or other prop to check the lighting in different areas of your house such as a bedroom or living room window, work out where you want to do it then play around with the lighting. Alternatively, head outside. Shaded areas such as under a tree can be wonderful for newborn shoots.

      In the home the most beautiful soft light is next to a window with white sheer curtains to diffuse it.  Sit your baby next to a nice big window and you’ll have the perfect light for your session.

      4.  Have extra hands to help

      Your partner, family members or friends all make great helpers to either hand you props, support your baby, be in the photos or hold Having extra hands also contributes to tip #1 with being safe.

      5.  Patience

      When you book a professional photographer you have a set amount of time to get the shot in. At home, you have more time, can take breaks and even space it over a few days if needed. Work with your baby when they are at their happiest, most rested or when they’re sleeping to get the images you would love to have. You don’t need to rush it.

      Photoshoots rarely go exactly how you want them to, but you will always get memorable images! Patience will help you and help bub create great photos.  (Crying photos are definitely worth capturing too!).

      best diy newborn photography tips
      Simple photos like just placing your baby on a blanket next to a window make the best DIY photos. Be sure to capture lots of different angles as well as close ups and wider photos.

      6. Capture lots of different angles and types of photos

      Place your baby on a soft surface such as a bed or a lounge next to a window of light.  The light source should be at the side of your baby’s face.  Capture lots of images of your baby.  Remember to change positions for different angles.  Try close up shots as well as wider photos.  Don’t forget to take parent and family photos – get a friend or another family member to take a photo of you all together.  Don’t forget to be in the photos yourself!  When your baby grows up they will want to see a photo of you both together.

      7.  Print your images

      I can’t stress this enough! All too often we take thousands of photos but they all get stored on our phone or on SD cards and rarely get printed. You took these photos because you want these memories, so print them out. On top of that, studies have shown children who grow up in homes with photos of themselves displayed have higher self esteem. If you need more reasons to print your photos, read my 5 reasons here.

       

      How did your newborn photoshoot go?  I’d love to see what you come up with!

       

      Amy Tong is a multi-award winning newborn and baby photographer in Sydney’s Inner West.  Amy specialises in natural, beautiful images of babies from birth to age 1.

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