I remember these photos being taken, as if it were yesterday.
But there’s also a part of me that doesn’t want to recall them at all.
Reuben was 3.5 months and I was in the throes of Postnatal Depression and Anxiety.
By this stage, I had asked for help twice – from two different health care professionals – and both times got nowhere.
And so, to deal with the heartache and turmoil that was my inner life, I told myself –
“this is just your fault”,
“it’s obviously how you deal with motherhood – BADLY”,
“You must have missed the ‘mum-gene'” and
“Suck it up, this in your life now”.
The days were hard – long, lonely and dark. But they would get worse before they got better- I had another 18months to wait before I finally got help.
I so desperately wanted Reuben’s first Christmas to be special and I worked hard at making it so. Decorations, presents, friends, invitations, family… we did it all.
But I wasn’t feeling “jolly” and all was not “merry and bright”. I was mentally ill and feeling like I wanted to walk out the door and never come back. I was also very frightened and ashamed of myself, for feeling as I did.
But these photos don’t tell that story and without what I’ve told you above, I doubt you would know, would you?
Yes, we’re in our Pj’s – Christmas ones – but that’s quite ok and ‘normal’. I’m smiling. Granted I might look tried and a little bit pale, but nothing out of the ordinary. They don’t give you any indication of the sheer darkness that was my daily existence and the cry for help I was desperate for someone to hear (again) but terrified to verbalise.
I’m pretty sure, when I shared them on social media I got the usual lovely comments – “too cute”, “wow, he’s adorable”, “you look great together”, “aww mummy and baby”… you know the drill. I didn’t want or expect anything else, I was presenting the image I needed the world to see (to help hold me together) and the image I thought the world wanted to see.
But it wasn’t real life. It wasn’t the truth, in this case it wasn’t even a ‘half truth’. That’s the thing with social media and life online isn’t it? What we see isn’t always what we get. We don’t truly know what’s going on behind the camera or self stick – I’m pretty sure it’s A LOT more than what we let on.
The #MeYouDontSee in this photo is exhausted, running on empty, frightened, holding on by a thread, lonely, anxious, overwhelmed and daily considering leaving her family behind.
What’s your #MeYouDontSee?
Over the next few months, Have you seen that girl? and MummyLinks are hosting the #MeYouDontSee photo series and we’d love you to join us any with photos you feel you can share.
Find out what it’s all about and how to join our #MeYouDontSee photo campaign HERE
Make sure to scroll down and to see others who’ve joined us on the website or follow us on social media and see who’s also sharing there! Let’s so this together!