I’ve started and stopped, and then started over with this blog post both physically and mentally more than once now. I’m all for being real on social media, but how real is too real? For those of you that know me in real life, you know that I have very little filter. If you ask, I will tell you. If you don’t ask, I may still tell you, just more carefully haha! I feel like some filter is warranted online though when I’m not face-to-face. I’ve wanted to blog more about motherhood on here because while photography is my passion, motherhood takes first place in my heart. I will tell you that as a mother, July was HARD. In fact, a lot of things are hard. People tell me that I’m super organized and that I “have it all together” a lot, but the truth is I don’t. I APPEAR to have it all together. And I AM very organized. But what people don’t know is that while these are partially personality traits, they are also coping mechanisms. I would go so far as to call them survival tactics. I learned as a child how to appear perfect on the outside when you were dying on the inside and I perfected this into adulthood. Sure, I make jokes about how my kids sleep in and wear the same clothes for days on end and eat chips for lunch (they do… I’m not 100% perfect on the outside), but there’s a deeper, more serious struggle few people know about.
I had post-partum anxiety after Levi was born. The cleaner my house was after he was born, the emptier my inbox was, the more I was falling apart on the inside. I should have probably honestly been on medication and only a few close friends knew how bad or how serious it was, but because I “had it all together” on the outside, I was overlooked by medical professionals. I should also say, in their defence, that I was guarded about letting them know what a dark place I was in so they didn’t “quite” have all the facts as I attempted poorly to ask for help.
This time around I was braver. I asked for and received help earlier. Once I got pregnant again, I very quickly went back to the place I was in after Levi and I learned that prenatal depression or prenatal anxiety is also a thing. I’m actively getting help this time around and even have a real “diagnosis”. A label to use. I also have at least one more serious label that “may” apply, but they’re not going to say 100% yes or no without further meetings. I don’t know how I feel about this. In some ways I’m like, “Good, there’s a name for this and I’m not just going crazy,” and on the other hand I’m like, “How much mental and emotional energy is it going to take to address this because it’s real now and not just ‘in my head'”.
So yes, July has been hard. My entire pregnancy has been hard actually. I’m functioning very well on the outside though – too well. It’s a sign that everything is so very not okay on the inside. Why do I share this on social media? Because 10-15% of moms go through the exact same thing and many do not know how to ask for help, understand their feelings, or get told “they’re fine” when they’re not. I share this so that those moms know they are not alone. So that those moms don’t give up. I even had a trusted counsellor tell me that I “just” had to let go of control and inappropriately questioned my decision to have back-to-back babies as though, in some ways by my life decisions, I was asking for these feelings. DON’T give up. TRUST your gut. If you know something is wrong, go find a different counsellor, a different doctor, or a different friend. You are worth the time and effort it takes to not give up on yourself. Get the support you need and fight for it if you have to. I also share this so that those of you that tell me I have it all together know that I don’t. I really don’t. And that’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t either. Motherhood is messy. People are messy. Let’s be messy together and help each other along the best we can <3. I say this to all of you moms out there, and I say it to myself as well because I need to hear it, too.