In this article “You Can’t Tell A Mum Has Postpartum Depression By Looking”, you will find plenty of photos of happy mums but who were actually going through postnatal depression. Women find it so hard to show the world how they really feel inside, as the depression alone makes us feel like we have nobody to talk to, or if we did speak up, others might judge us.
Those who don’t understand might say things to us like, “But you should be happy, you’ve got a beautiful family.”, “You’re so lucky to have a beautiful child.”, “You should be grateful for what you have.”.
WE KNOW ALL THAT.
Do you think we CHOOSE to be depressed? Hell no! But that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got postnatal depression. It is A THING. It is REAL. We don’t ask for it to be part of some “club”.
After reading that article, it made me think of a photo shoot we did together as a family. My husband and I had our last child, I knew that we were now done having children. My husband and teenagers hated photo shoots but they did it because I wanted them done. And they knew, if they rejected the idea, they would have had to deal with me. I would’ve cried, I would’ve said nobody cared, and that none of them were proud to be a family unit. None of that was true, but that would’ve been something I would’ve thrown at them. They knew it, and I knew it.
It was set to be taken at Trigg Beach in Perth, Western Australia. Just before we left the house, my husband and I weren’t actually talking to each other. There was tension. I don’t remember why, but I remember our anxiety levels were pretty high. My husband wouldn’t dare say anything in case I’d lose the plot over something. Everyone was walking on egg shells around me.
We got to the beach and waited for the photographer to come. We sat by the rocks. Everyone was quiet… My teens were playing with the two little ones. My husband and I were on the edge the whole time. And then I burst into tears. Why? I can’t remember. I just cried. Then I cried some more.
I get a phone call from the photographer to say she’s arrived. I dry my tears, put on a smile and we all performed like show dogs and posed for her. So here are two photos from the photo shoot. I want everyone to know, that no matter how we look like on the outside, or on photographs, it doesn’t always mean it’s our true selves at the time.
Thankfully, this is all behind us now. With the help of medication, I no longer suffer from postnatal depression. But please don’t judge those who choose to or choose not to take medication for their depression. We all have our battles inside our heads and all we need is your support, friendship and to not judge us mums. If you don’t know how we feel, just ask, but most importantly – be sincere.