“This photo of Grace and I was taken on 15th October 2016. Grace was almost one and I had recently returned to work after maternity leave. This was a Saturday afternoon, and like most working parents, I longed for the weekend so that I could rest.
I am smiling in this ‘selfie’ because I am happy to be with Grace. I am so relieved to be at home for the weekend, I don’t have to rush out the door in the morning to get grace to the childminder’s and to get myself to work on time. I don’t have to paint an enthusiastic smile on my face at work. I don’t have to pretend that I’m on top of things. At home, with Grace, I am feeling safe. I don’t want to leave these four walls. My smile in this photo says, ‘I am with Grace and I am safe’.
My eyes in this photo tell me other things. I look at this photo and I can tell by my eyes that I’m feeling lost. I am so overwhelmed that I am paralysed. I am so full of fear. I am thinking about all that I have to do in terms of work and in terms of home life, and yet I cannot do any of it. I am unable to concentrate on anything. I want to escape and run away to be on my own, but I can’t and won’t do that to Grace. I am feeling sick all of the time. I am at breaking point.
The next weekend after this photo was taken, I broke down. I couldn’t pretend anymore, I couldn’t be strong anymore, I couldn’t try to get on with things anymore. I contacted my GP, phoned in sick to work on Monday and from there my PND diagnosis and journey from illness to recovery began.”
Laura blogs at Being Mammy, Being Me
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