The arrival of my daughter Ana was (and still is) the best moment of my life. Hands. Down. For my husband and I becoming parents for the first time was everything we dreamed about throughout our pregnancy and successful delivery. We prepared and welcomed to the world 1 beautiful baby girl with 10 fingers, 10 toes and 2 knackered parents. The usual scenario right? After posting what seemed to be a million photos of Ana on social media, our version of happily ever after was successfully liked, loved, and recorded forever on the internet. I, however, was miserable. I didn’t know it yet, but Postnatal Depression was getting ready to punch me in the gut, laugh in my face and try to take my marriage down.
The “new baby” euphoria wore off extremely quickly. This euphoria was replaced with feeling down; I struggled to adjust to the new normal all while my partner snored away during night feedings unbeknownst to him. My partner was often the target of my strong emotions because I was upset that he was not suffering as I was. In the beginning, I thought maybe it was just the “baby blues”. I was extremely sleep deprived and could barely get a bite to eat or hop in the shower (greasy hair can really make a woman go mad). Night after night I lie awake nursing Ana with aching, cracked and bleeding nipples courtesy of breastfeeding. I’m overwhelmed, tired, and it is not fair that he is able to sleep while I get to be the one suffering. Why can’t I cut off my boobs and make him do this part? HOW DARE HE SLEEP LIKE A BABY AT A TIME LIKE THIS!?!? Because of my anger, I wanted to check out of my relationship altogether. What I did not realize then was how my attitude and behavior created a huge space between my husband and I. We nearly called it quits
Postnatal Depression can take a toll on the strongest of relationships. My attitude certainly did not help. Nor did social media. A quick scroll immediately triggered feelings of anger and uncertainty. Seeing posts of perfect family photos and seeing videos of Dads being helpful, or reading posts about how amazing a friend’s husband is, etc. would add to my anger. There is no way in hell that I would be able to write a sappy Facebook post about how amazing my husband is and how much more in love I am with him now that we have welcomed home, Ana You wish to be like the perfect people you see on the screen. I refuse to pretend that life after baby is amazing. It can be rough, challenging, upsetting, and rewarding all at the same time.
We have to remind ourselves that online perceptions are carefully crafted and people only want us to see the good stuff. People are happy to omit the moments when their boobs are leaking through their blouse after returning back to work, or the selfie in the car on the way out on a family day trip when 5 minutes previously they have all been bickering and arguing because that’s not a good look!. No one is perfect and no parent is perfect. Eliminating the outside noise and chatter is the key to keeping it together. I am now on a mission to start showing you the real life side of parenting and encourage you to do so too. Be real, be you and most importantly be HAPPY!
Its time to be real written by Victoria Jennings the founder of Bloom baby classes. Parenting expert regularly featuring in the national and international media.