If you have scrolled through Instagram recently and looked at pages relating to Mothers and Motherhood you will be forgiven for feeling a little inadequate. With all the perfectly photo shopped glamorous Mums hugging their super trendy babies in their pristine clean homes.
I'm all for photos and sharing memories but I often wonder about what took place before and after the photo was taken. You would never see the Mother scolding her child for not smiling for her photo or that she had taken her antidepressants that morning just so she could get through the day.
What I'm getting at here is that if we as Mothers only show our 'highlight reel' it can often lead to other Mother's feeling anxious that they aren't enough .
Isn't it so refreshing and comforting when you talk with a fellow Mother and they share a common annoyance with you or a problem they are having. For example the other day when I dropped my son to school I was talking to a friend of mine saying how my son has started giving me attitude and pushing boundaries which is a little out of character. She immediately replied 'My son is doing the exact same thing !, immediately it put my anxiety at rest . I was beginning to think it was something I was doing or not doing.
I finally feel like I have a group of 5 Mothers that I can honestly share just about anything with them without getting judged.
As Mum friends we may not be able to frequently socialise like we once did , but the solidarity and support through passing conversations has benefitted me more then expensive psychology sessions did, that's not to say psychology doesn't have it's place. If your not mental struggling in a major way just openly talking with supportive Mum friends can help you feel less alone.
Only another Mother can truly understand what it's like to walk in your shoes.
In 2016 after the birth of my third son I developed Post Natal Depression. At the time I silently battled with it ,only my Husband and my close family were aware. At one point however I decided I was tired of hiding behind this mask of 'perfect Mum' I had created. I was guilty of the fake photos and pretending like I loved every minute of Motherhood. I felt like I needed to keep up this façade like I was ok and I 'Had my shit together' when really I was silently drowning.
I decided If I wanted to open up about my struggle I wanted to do it in a public way which would hopefully benefit other Mother's going through the same thing. I went on to publish my first children's book titled 'Mamma has a Black Dog' which you can find here.
I was nervous at first to reveal my story but the feedback I received was so overwhelming. So many woman approached me sharing with me their own mental health battles.
It was as if by sharing my own story these Mothers felt like it was ok to let their guard down with me and tell me how they had experiences similar to my own. Friends I had known for years who I would have never had guessed were struggling told me things .
It was like this big weight had been lifted off all our shoulders like we had given ourselves permission to finally be real.
Obviously you aren't going to feel comfortable initially opening up to just anyone but I encourage you to just share something REAL with a Mum friend and see how it's received . You will get the vibe if it's a Mother you will be able to share more personal stuff with.
If you are struggling to find like minded Mum friends most major cities offer support groups for Mothers experiencing Mental health issues.
In Brisbane Australia where I live there is a fantastic support group Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness which is peer led while also having qualified support staff. The women who run the group sessions are Mother volunteers who have suffered from Mental health issues and overcome it.
If you live in a more remote location it may be a little more difficult to find like minded Mum friends that you can meet up with face to face. Social media can be helpful in connecting you with online support groups. Some more shy Mothers may prefer this option particularly if you haven't openly shared your problems with others before. Some people prefer to open up to complete strangers who don't know them and their backstory .
Whichever way you prefer Mothers need a village weather it be a physical village or a online village. The Mother's of your village will support you if you open up and let them .