Updated: Sep 9, 2020
The temperature drops.
Tiny droplets of ice fall from the sky, driven against my cheek by an angry wind.
My eyes go upward, looking for yellow leaves.
Photographing families in beautiful Lakewood, Colorado has me constantly thinking about nature: the light, the wind, the fires and their smoke filling our skies, the earth and its variety of colors as the seasons change. Photography has sharpened my awareness, for sure, and the only consistent thing about nature seems to be that it is constantly changing.
And change, for many of us, is not easy.
Two summers ago we were preparing for a move from Golden to Lakewood. I had expected great things: more space for the kids to play, new neighbors and community, new locations for photo shoots and adventures with the kids. However, I was not prepared for how hard the transition would be.
Even a very positive change turned out to be very difficult. The kids became clingy instead of adventurous. Their fighting increased, and my own irritability with them was so intense and enduring, I wondered about a hormonal imbalance. I wasn’t sleeping well, I vacillated between apathy and rage and wondered what was wrong with me.
Recently I was reflecting on this challenging season with a friend who mentioned she experienced something similar when she moved, and I realized it was as simple as that: transitions are hard. I thought of our transplanted tomato plants from earlier this summer, taken from their tiny plastic pots—so pitiful and inadequate—and carefully planted in God’s beautiful, rich soil full of earthworms and compost that we had collected over the winter. However, instead of standing tall and stretching toward the sun, the little plants all slumped and looked close to death for a very long time.
Turns out, transitions—whether a move, a new job, a new baby, or even just a change in seasons—are hard. Even when it’s something we’re excited for or we have really prepared well for, we can still experience a biological response that leaves us feeling powerless.
But we are not powerless. When we feel ourselves slumping like those tomato plants, we owe it to our children, our spouses and most importantly to ourselves to seek out help.
Easier said than done, of course. In my case, I had blood-work done, took supplements, had acupuncture, and slowly, slowly found my way back toward wholeness.
My friends, Stephanie Weeden and Lauren Jensen are local grief counselors who have both reminded me that grief can include so much more than the loss of a loved one. We can also grieve the loss of an identity, a community or a way of life that is gone because of a transition. They have also reminded me that it’s okay to enter into that grief, for a time. Give it space in your life, and then let it pass by, like ocean waves that come and go.
If you find yourself in a transition that has you feeling more under the waves being tossed and pummeled rather than standing on the shore feeling them come and go, please, please reach out for help. You are NOT alone and there are tools to help you toward wholeness.
I've listed a few resources below for you to consider, and if you have your own thoughts, please leave a comment below:
From Nurse Practitioner, Liz Cowan (pictured above):
"Being a mom and a healthcare provider I can attest that perinatal/postpartum mood changes are common and can [present] well up way past the 6 week timeframe many parents expect. I definitely experienced more gripping anxiety- and I have never really been on the anxious side before! Here is a local resource from children’s hospital, I like bc 1. Children’s will work with any family, regardless of insurance or status, and 2. It’s a multi-modality approach. https://www.childrenscolorado.org/doctors-and-departments/departments/psych/programs/mental-health-moms/"
Holly Freeman is a lifestyle family photographer based in Lakewood, Colorado with a passion for families and believes they are strengthened through quality time together and images that celebrate their love for one another. Please reach out to schedule your own relaxing photo shoot.