Saskatoon

Sask. photographer explores world of post-partum depression

Jenna Rutherford says a photography project has helped her deal with her own post-partum depression.

Jenna Rutherford finds healing in talking, photographing women dealing with depression

Wendy Monks-Janzen posed for the photo blog Unspoken: Ending the Silence of Post-partum Depression. (Jenna Rutherford)

Jenna Rutherford says a photography project has helped her deal with her own post-partum depression.

Four months after she gave birth, Rutherford grew angry and depressed, and started having suicidal thoughts.

She just looked at me and knew something wasn't right.- Jenna Rutherford

During a routine exam, a nurse told her she had one of the worst cases of post-partum depression that she had ever seen.

"She just looked at me and knew something wasn't right," said Rutherford. "She could tell I was masking what I was saying to her, and I had a breakdown in the office that day."

After talking about her struggles online, Rutherford started hearing more and more stories from women dealing with the same issues.

'I was able to see a light'

Photographer Jenna Rutherford and mother Wendy Monks-Janzen. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC News)

Eventually, she started a blog called Unspoken: Ending the Silence of Post-partum Depression, where she took pictures of the women and gave them a chance to share their stories.

"It was half helping myself as well as helping other women," she said. "From those women that had contacted me, I was able to see a light that I was not alone in this journey."

It can happen to anyone.- Wendy Monks-Janzen

Through the project, Rutherford met Wendy Monks-Janzen, a new mother who also battled from depression. In one of her pictures, she posed curled up in a ball.

"It was this feeling of no control," said Monks-Janzen. "No matter what I was doing, my reactions would just happen, and there was no way that I could stop them from happening."

Ultimately, she wants all women to know there is support for them.

"Anyone can go through this experience," she said. "It's not just a particular type of individual that it affects. It can happen to anyone."

For a link to the photography blog, click here.

With files from CBC's Saskatoon Morning

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