Why is it that there is so much fear about being real? Why are we afraid to post photos we deem ‘bad’? Are we afraid others are going to be like “damn girl, you look like shit” and I’m all “thanks, I just pushed a baby out of my vagina”.

The number one compliment I get around my blog and what I share is that fact that its real. I am far from well-presented, I barely have my shit together and make up to me is mascara and BB cream (sometimes I splash out and wear foundation). I’ve been a tomboy most of my life and have never been one to ‘dress up’ so when I do, I feel awkward as fuck and it shows in everything I do. I always feel like I don’t fit in and this, along with me currently not being happy with my body is half the reason I don’t go out.

I am just like you, well, I don’t know you and its highly likely that you’re better looking than me but you get the idea. Somebody messaged me the other day and said “you’re so lucky, your life looks amazing – you have it all”. I don’t, I am over-worked and I am tired. I have problems just like everybody else (if you don’t, I’m hella jealous). I am kind of sad that they had that impression of me because I am very honest online and with what I share.

Sure, I may take some nice pictures of the kids, that’s the bonus of being a parent and a Photographer but have you seen many photos of me? Nope, they’re few and far between. If Reuben or somebody else happens to snap a good pic of me then I am gonna use the shit out of it (haha) and I don’t know the last time I felt I looked good enough to justify a selfie. Reuben’s idea of a spontaneous photo without me having to ask if me in bed eating KFC and sharing it on Snapchat.. yeah, thanks babe.

Let’s be real people, let’s stop being scared and shy about showing off what’s really happening. Let’s share squares of reality, not carefully composed works of art. It’s unrealistic and fucking hard to maintain. I know your real life isn’t like that, especially with a child. It’s simply not possible. You might be fooling some, but you ain’t fooling me.

I am a Mum. I am struggling with my identity these last few years. I know I am more than a Mum but I am also not the old Jess (and I don’t want to be). I am quite depressed and I am working on it but old habits are hard to break (lack of patience, high expectations for everything). I am really down on my body but in all honestly, I am currently doing nothing about it. I want to lose weight, I want to be healthy but I also want to eat shit food. Time is not something I have a lot of right now so that also plays a big part in my lack of motivation to be better and feel better. I am winding down and will be finishing up my photography & work for the year so hope I can get out and do some exercise of the Christmas holidays. What a stupid time to start right? The time of year when everybody binges – ha. So there, I got my own issues, don’t you worry about that. More issues that vogue but I’m treading about water. I am honest with you guys, I see no reason not to be.

Being real is so refreshing and only then can we slowly start becoming accepting of ourselves and our own lives because we start to see others are just like us too! These unrealistic portrayals of motherhood and life in general are stupid and I am so over seeing them. They affect so many people and this makes me sad. People are so confused by social media and are literally comparing themselves, their children and their lifestyles to something that isn’t even an honest representation. We’ve all been there, I used to do. The best thing I ever did was learn to stop caring so much about what others think (thanks to reading “The Life Changing Magic of not giving a fuck) and I feel better for it. Sure, I am human. I am the queen of overthinking but I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I have my own hustle and I don’t time to be worrying what you’re up to. In saying that, I care a lot about those close to me and I treat them right.

So here’s me, stuffing toast in my face about 10 minutes after giving birth to Lily while Reuben dresses her. How fucking good is that milo & toast post birth though!? While the images isn’t what I would deem ‘pretty’, it tells a pretty bloody cool story and that’s what photos and memories are all about.

Being a parent is fucking hard; I am not going to lie.

If you disagree, you must have a dream baby and I extremely envious. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits but nobody could have prepared me for what parenthood is really like.

When people told me being a parent is the most rewarding yet hardest job ever, boy were they right! I now have so much more respect and love for my own parents knowing what they went through with (although I would have been one of those dream babies we spoke about earlier – cough cough bullshit).

You know, some days are just shit. Some days I just think I can’t do it. Do I want to do it? Why does it have to be so hard? Being a parent IS fucking hard. There are no two things that make it this way, it just is.

Some days I want to lock myself in a padded room and scream or drink copious amount of red wine (oh wait, I do that now).

There are days when I wonder is it always going to be like this? Why is he screaming? He’s not hungry, she’s not tired, she was smiling 2 minutes ago – is it something I done wrong?

I worry too much, I think too much. I physically can’t switch my brain off most nights and have been struggling to sleep a full night the past 2 weeks. I jump into bed and think about how much washing there is to do or going over in my head what I need to do the following day.

You know, it’s normally the ones who are the most ‘out there’ who suffer silently? They put up this front to make themselves feel better, so people don’t ask ‘are you okay?’. This probably isn’t the case for all but I know it rings true for me. I know if somebody asked me that right now its highly likely I would burst into tears because no, I am not OK. And it is OK to say that.

Don’t get me wrong, I live a wonderful life, I have an amazing partner, an awesome job, successful businesses, a beautiful home and insanely cute children but some days are just hard. THINGS don’t make you happy. You could have everything in the world and still be unhappy.

If you’ve never suffered from depression you may not understand where I’m coming from, you may not understand that you can have one really shitty day within a month of amazing days and all these old shitty memories/feelings flood back.

I am not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself, nor do I want you to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to share that it’s not all gummy smiles and rainbows. If you’re having a shitty day, it’s okay, you’re not alone.

These little humans chose us because we CAN do it, it WILL get better and tomorrow is a new day.

Some days I can be surrounded by people yet still experience feelings of loneliness.

I’ve struggled with mental health issues for a large majority of my life so one of my biggest concerns when I became pregnant was the high risk of PND. My GP and midwife were well aware of my medical history so knew what to look out for as well as educating me.

For a while there I thought I was fine, that I had somehow managed to sidetrack the issues that for a long time consumed me. I hadn’t. Two weeks passed after Baxter’s birth and my partner was due back at work, it hit me like a freight train. Feelings of anxiety and worry flooded me.

It took me a while to gain the courage to admit I knew what was going on and go and speak to my GP, deep down I knew the day would come, she was super supportive and we talked through our options.

I started to get control back, things became manageable. But I feel myself slipping again. I knew that it was highly likely I would experience PND again with Lily. Did it ever really go away? How long does it last and when does PND become depression?

These days my PND masks itself in anger, a symptom many are not aware of. Sadly it hinders my relationships with people from time to time and if I am being totally open, my partner takes the brunt of it. People who haven’t experienced it or been close to somebody who has simply don’t understand and often respond with “just stop” or “stop getting so mad”. I would love to be that in control of my feelings but right now, I am not. Half of the time my reactions are so unreasonable but I simply don’t see it at the time. God, I thought I had no patience when I was pregnant but this is next level.

I know that these current feelings are not me, and while I know they’re not permanent, it’s hard to deal with right now.

I’m lucky to have such a supportive partner who knows my hormones are up the shit and that when I sass him out, it’s not coming from a bad place.

To those who also suffer from those days where the darkness takes over, I hear you. Whilst you may feel alone, you’re not, it will get easier and good days are on the horizon. Recognizing the signs and talking about it are key steps in helping yourself and allowing others to understand.

Being a mum is tough, so let’s not make it tougher on ourselves. Speak out and support those around you, the smallest of gestures can make a person’s day.

Remember that sometimes the people who appear the happiest may not be and that you never truly know what others are going through.

Being kind of free so dish that shit out.

It is such a taboo topic. One which people are afraid to talk about out of fear of judgment. It truly breaks my heart. There are so many people out there suffering in silence because depression and anxiety has somehow been dubbed something that ‘we don’t talk about’. Why? It’s far more common than we realize and if we were to talk about it more then I feel those struggling would feel far more supported. So many people are scared to open up and talk to somebody about how they truly feel and have that ‘I don’t need/want to be on medication’ mentality.

I have struggled for many years. Some days I feel great, other days that dark black cloud hovers over my head. While there are positive coping mechanisms that have been known to work or at least assist. Somebody telling you to ‘snap out of it’ certainly isn’t one.

Social media has heightened the awareness of what’s around us, obviously – and I believe it plays a big part in some of the negative feelings people experience. We see those beautiful curated squares on Instagram and find ourselves comparing how their life is different to ours, how are they looking so beautiful and refreshed after I barely got 2 hours uninterrupted sleep last night? How on earth do they manage to find time to keep their house so perfectly clean and organized? How did their body snap back so quickly after giving birth. It’s everywhere. What we often don’t think about is that these people are not necessarily happy. We only see what they choose to share, many do not share the messy corner of their house or how little they slept last night.

The dark truth is that if we don’t start talking about mental health now and more openly, the alarming rate of suicide and the prevalence of untreated mental illness will reach crisis point – in fact, I believe it already has.

Please, if you’re ever struggling, with anything or having bad thoughts – talk to somebody. You can talk to me, PM me day or night or call one of the numbers below. It is often easier to confide in a stranger.

It’s so much more common than you realise and we can all play a small part in trying to normalise it in some small way by talking about it openly. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but there is a way out.

Please know that no matter how bad things feel, there is always help available. Taking your life is NOT the answer and please take a moment to think about all of those loved ones you would leave behind.

Talking about things is the first step. Realising it’s okay to not be okay if the next.

You are amazing and you hold a special place in this world.

It’s Mental Health Awareness week and I just wanted to remind you all that you’re amazing and you’ve got this.

Need help right now?

Lifeline Aotearoa’s telephone counselling service provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week counselling and support – 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354).

I write this with a heavy heart. The news broke yesterday that Chester Bennington, from popular band Linkin Park had taken his own life. I don’t know him personally, I grew up with his music like many others and I can’t help but feeling sad about his death. Since the sad news I’ve seen so many Facebook posts from people offering a listening ear or a caring shoulder for those in need. While I love seeing this type of support, from complete strangers, I can’t help but feel a little sad that it takes an event like this for people to offer support.

To see a public figure, someone who is seen as successful, somebody who ‘has it all’ clearly proves that material objects are exactly that – material objects. Money, fame and processions do not make a person happy.

Drug and alcohol issues have been mentioned and while I don’t brush this aside or discard these struggles in anyway, mental health plays a huge part and I am sad, and angry that it isn’t talked about enough.

It is such a taboo topic. One which people are afraid to talk about out of fear of judgment. It truly breaks my heart. There are so many people out there suffering in silence because depression and anxiety has somehow been dubbed something that ‘we don’t talk about’. Why? It’s far more common than we realize and if we were to talk about it more then I feel those struggling would feel far more supported. So many people are scared to open up and talk to somebody about how they truly feel and have that ‘I don’t need/want to be on medication’ mentality.

I have struggled for many years. Some days I feel great, other days that dark black cloud hovers over my head. Those who have ever experienced or struggled with mental illness simply don’t understand and adopt the attitude ‘cheer up’, ‘it’s not that bad’ & ‘tomorrow is a new day’. While there are positive coping mechanisms that have been known to work or at least assist. Somebody telling you to ‘snap out of it’ certainly isn’t one. 

Social media has heightened the awareness of what’s around us, obviously – and I believe it plays a big part in some of the negative feelings people experience. We see those beautiful curated squares on Instagram and find ourselves comparing how their life is different to ours, how are they looking so beautiful and refreshed after I barely got 2 hours uninterrupted sleep last night? How on earth do they manage to find time to keep their house so perfectly clean and organized? How did their body snap back so quickly after giving birth. It’s everywhere. What we often don’t think about is that these people are not necessarily happy. We only see what they choose to share, many do not share the messy corner of their house or how little they slept last night.

More often than not, we are our own worst enemies.

I had a REALLY good chat with with a close friend this evening via videos on Instagram DM’s. It went on for about 30 minutes. We must have sent over 50+ videos to each other. Do you know what? It’s the best chat we’ve ever had. It came off the back of some comments re: people not being honest/transparent online and I had said to her that I hope I come across as the ‘real me’ and of a false online persona. She was in the best position to weigh in because she knows the real me. She said she felt I was more honest online and she hit the nail on the head. I am. I find it easier to write than to verbally express my feelings. I have always been open and upfront about my struggles. I feel good when I know I have helped others.

The dark truth is that if we don’t start talking about mental health now and more openly, the alarming rate of suicide and the prevalence of untreated mental illness will reach crisis point – in fact, I believe it already has.

Please, if you’re ever struggling, with anything or having bad thoughts – talk to somebody. You can talk to me, PM me day or night or call one of the numbers below. It is often easier to confide in a stranger.

It’s so much more common than you realise and we can all play a small part in trying to normalise it in some small way by talking about it openly. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but there is a way out.

Please know that no matter how bad things feel, there is always help available. Taking your life is NOT the answer and please take a moment to think about all of those loved ones you would leave behind.

Talking about things is the first step. Realising it’s okay to not be okay if the next.

You are amazing and you hold a special place in this world.

——-

https://depression.org.nz | call 0800 111 757 or text 4202

www.mentalhealth.org.nz | text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999

Youthline – 0800 376 633

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/

As I sit here stuck under a sleepy baby (thanks to 6 week imms), I can’t help but do a lot of thinking. To be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since Lily arrived. I was stuck in hospital for a week without family being able to visit so I reflected a lot, I didn’t sleep much and the mind wanders.

I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life, who hasn’t? When you’re in the thick of it, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there’s generally a positive to every negative.

Every poor decision (and I’ve made a many), every shitty situation, every friendship gained and lost has helped me get me where I am today. 

I’ve written blog before that have touched on the friendship topic. Motherhood really made me reevaluate the friendships and relationships I held. Reuben and I have started a bit of wedding planning and we were having discussions around the guest list and how many people we think we’d have there. My thought process was around the whole would they invite me to theirs? Have they met our children? Have we ever met their partner? Would I regret not inviting them? Have I seen them/had contact within the past year?

It really made me realize that I can count my ‘friends’ on less than 2 hands these days. Sure, I have a lot of contacts and connections (personally & professionally) as well as Facebook friends but how many actual friends do you have? That you can confide in? Communicate often? Hang out or couldn’t imagine your life without? I’d be curious to know. Am I the only one with such a small friend group? Is it my own doing? Before meeting Reuben I lived alone for a really long time and was single (about 5 years), I became super independent and often went into my own shell and ended up becoming a bit of a hermit. I became at peace with my own presence and didn’t feel the need to be surrounded by others. Sounds odd, but if you’ve been in that situation, you may know what I mean. I was never a drinker, I never went to town or anything like that. I’ve drunk more since becoming a Mum (those end of day Pinot’s are my saviour).

I hold my friends dearly and would do anything for them, sometimes I am slack, I get busy and I don’t reply but that is not a reflection on how much I value their friendship. I try and tell my friends how much they mean to me, even though most find it corny. I would hate for tomorrow to come and something happen to myself or one of them and have had not told them how much I appreciate them.

As I mentioned above, I’ve made poor decisions in the past. I’ve allowed people to walk all over me and treat me badly. I’ve settled for less than I deserve and I let people hurt me. But looking back now, yes, those actions and situations changed me. They’ve shaped me into the person I am now and that I deserve a hell of a lot better. They’ve helped me find this drive that I didn’t realize I had.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve always been about helping people. Being there for everybody else even though at times I felt as though nobody was there for me – and maybe that’s why I am the way I am. I treat people how I would like to be treated. I like to tell them I care, I love giving my friends gifts – it genuinely makes me smile. I absolutely love doing things for others.

Building this blog into what it is today and getting amazing private messages from people saying how much I’ve helped them has made the negativity bearable. The support group for mums that I created now has over 13,000 members and daily I see mums empowering and helping our other mums. Giving support, guidance and positive praise. Sometimes all we need is a non-judgemental ear and some reassurance. It truly does make me feel so damn good. 

I have struggled with mental illness, this is no surprise. I talk openly about it because there is so much unnecessary stigma around it. I thought I was managing it, and then developed PND with Baxter. I have this new body that has been difficult to be comfortable in until I learned that acceptance was the key to my happiness. This body grew life (2 even). I jiggle more than I used too, I have scars that will never go away – and I am now OK with that.

It’s been a tough road this mum gig, I never imagined myself being a parent. To be honest, after some pretty shit past relationships – I thought I’d be on my own for the rest of my life. Then Reuben came along, unexpectedly – and changed all of that. Falling pregnant with Baxter had us both freaking us – new and unknown territory is scary but we owned it and embraced it, what other choice do you have? We’ve fought like mad and we’ve shared so much joy together. We’ve watched Baxter reach milestones and we’ve been so extremely proud, we made that and by god is he handsome. With the recent arrival of Lily, we still don’t know what we’re doing – no day is the same. Becoming a Mum has shown me a strength I never knew I had, emotions I didn’t know existed and it’s made me laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time. My family is complete and I have never been so happy in my life.

I truly don’t even know what the purpose of this blog was all about, I had feels I needed to get out.

To the mum tapping her brakes at the lights, we’ve all been there.

To the mum struggling to carry her newborn while her toddler is having a tantrum, I feel for you.

To the mum rocking her shopping trolley while the person in front faffs about with no regard or awareness that your baby is about to go from 0-100 REAL quick.

To the mum feeding her baby in the cafe while her own meal goes cold, I don’t remember the last time I ate a full meal – uninterrupted. You’re a good mum and your child will one day thank you (maybe).

To the mum who hasn’t washed her hair in over a week, you rock that mum-bun.

To the mum persevering through the pain of breastfeeding in order to prove a point or to keep others happy, do what’s best for you. A happy mum is more useless than a broken one.

To the mum who isn’t sure if that stain on her pants is food or fecal matter, you rock on.

To the mum who’s stuck on the couch under a sleeping baby while your phone is out of reach, I feel you sister.

To the mum stuck in the car with a sleeping baby/toddler not knowing whether to risk the dreaded transition. Stay there, get your phone out and relax.

To the mum swaying side to side in the coffee line, I still do it 18 months on. I don’t think it ever stops.

To the mum reading this while gritting their teeth because there child won’t go to sleep – breeeeeathe.

To the mum hiding in the bathroom crying so she can get one moment’s peace, we’ve been there.

To the mum scared to feed their child formula because of fear of judgement, just do it. Happy mum = happy baby.

We’re in this together mamas! I salute you! Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and realise this parenting gig is a tough one. We’re not alone and that there are SO many mums experiencing the same things as us each and every day but very few will openly admit it.

If you see a mama out in public, struggling, who could do with a helping hand or a hug. Reach out, you could make her day. You could be that one adult conversation she has been craving for all day.

You’re doing an amazing job, don’t question yourself mama. You’re doing just fine x

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