Motherhood: Unfiltered ~ Andrea
In an age where social media and technology provide us with constant opportunities to take and retake photos, add filters, edit flaws and present an often unrealistic image of ourselves and our lives as mothers, we set out to create a series of real-life motherhood moments – without the filters, without the edits, but with all the beauty.
This is Andrea.
In her words:
I was so raw and broken after my son was born. I wanted a chance to celebrate that rawness after my daughter was born. I think it will help me process this second birth and hopefully help others access the beauty of their own vulnerability.
I suffered from postpartum depression with my son, and am struggling with anxiety and sleep deprivation 4.5 years later with my daughter. I always fear that my struggles with mental health will affect my children negatively, that it will make me a bad mom. I’m concerned that I’ll develop full blown depression again and that I won’t be able to properly take care of my kids. I want to be present for them, but depression makes that difficult. Depression and anxiety are the ghosts that haunt me, every moment of every day. They are the hurdle I’m forever jumping over, sometimes clearing it, sometimes crashing to the ground. I constantly worry that I’ll pass mental illness on to my children and they will have to carry this horrible burden as well. I worry that I’ll hurt them in the midst of my own battles when I’m lashing out at depression and crash into them instead.
It has deepened my compassion and empathy and also brought me a huge group of friends. My tribe of moms is what keeps me afloat, and my whole life revolves around their wisdom and their warmth. I wouldn’t be surviving any of this without these strong women.
In these sleep deprived days, 7 weeks after the birth of my second child, I’m really struggling to figure out what makes me a good mother, because I really don’t feel like one right now. I feel like a sleep deprived wreck who yells at her oldest child and is running out of patience for the baby who won’t sleep more than two hours in a row. This afternoon my son lost his favourite stuffed monkey, and we’ve spent the last hour retracing our steps in Steveston looking for Bobo. We haven’t found him yet, but in anticipation of this inevitability I have two extra Bobo’s stashed in the closet. If we don’t find the original Bobo I have a back up, even though it won’t be quite the same. I guess that’s what makes me a good mother: a keen sense of anticipation of needs and a deep desire to soften life’s inevitable blows. I can’t make pain go away for my children, but I hope that I have the power to make it more bearable, whether that means doling out BandAids, offering hugs, or magically producing an extra Bobo from the depths of the closet.
To view a selection of Motherhood: Unfiltered photographs in person, you can visit The Birch Tree in Ladner during their regular office hours.