In defence of sharing baby photos on Facebook

This morning I overheard a conversation in a café between two people who were lamenting the change in their Facebook feeds from drunken house party photos to baby pictures. It’s a common, now clichéd complaint about the social media site – it even lead to the creation of Unbaby Me, a web tool that replaces baby pictures on Facebook with photos of cats and sunsets.

I know that over the past few years, my own newsfeed has morphed from documenting parties to parenthood, my husband and I becoming part of the baby photo posting set. As for the photos of my friends’ and relatives’ babies? Continue reading

This too shall pass: the ups and downs of parenthood

As I scooped another generous helping of peanut butter straight from the jar into my mouth yesterday, I found myself silently chanting, “This too shall pass.”

My toddler had once been so easy to put to bed, but we were now on day five of him fighting sleep and refusing to go down until late. All week we’d been trying stories, cuddles and our entire, collective repertoire of nursery rhymes and Wiggles songs. I’d dragged a pillow and blanket into his room and collapsed beside him on the carpet, feigning sleep. We’d let him call out for a little while (as long as inner-city living allows), going in periodically to reassure and soothe him. No deal. Eyes rolling around in his head, he’d eventually pass out, and then we’d limp into our own bed and crash. Continue reading

100 Words on Love: We Share a Life

We share a life now. You and I. And like the patchwork quilt that cloaks our sleep, we tug at it, this way and that. You’ve always called me “the blanket thief.”

We share bottles of wine, holidays and secrets. You give me your name and I clear space on my bookshelves. Your library mingles with mine.

We divide the pain and joy of our worlds. You carry me. And sometimes, I carry you.

Tonight, I breathe you in as you lie asleep beside me. My head folds into your shoulder. A jigsaw complete. And you share my insomnia, unknowingly.

This article was previously published on The Good Men Project as part of their 100 Words on Love series

On Being Desperately Lonely in Mothers’ Group

One of the most common things to emerge after I recently started to speak more openly about my struggle with severe postpartum mental illness (postpartum psychosis) was the amount of people who told me that they had no idea. Many expressed their surprise at the extent of what we, as a family, were going through and some hadn’t picked up on it at all. “But you always look so happy and together,” is something I heard repeatedly. This most recent reaction reminded me of the very early days of my illness when I “came out” to some of the women in my mothers’ group. No one saw it coming. I hid it well. Continue reading

100 Words On Love: In Sickness and Health

I sit on the edge of my bed, in the psychiatric ward. My hand is lost inside my husband’s.

A psychiatrist asks questions with practiced kindness. I rattle off answers I know by heart. Sleep, appetite, mood, meds.

And then there’s a test. Part of admission. And I don’t know the answers. I can’t do the sums. Can’t draw the object. Can’t spell the word. My brain is mud.

My husband’s poker face slips. I can hear his concern in the silence. He squeezes my hand gently as I swat away tears. I’ve never felt more broken.

Or more loved.

This article was previously published on The Good Men Project as part of their 100 Words on Love series

Love In The Mess Of Parenthood

It was hard not to be entranced by Jackson Bliss’ exquisite, lyrical essay How To Stay In Love. I smiled stupidly as I read his piece for the first time, feeling a delicious recognition, and knowing intimately the love he so beautifully described. The privilege of it.

Prompted by Jackson’s piece and his beautifully expressed sentiments, I wanted to write about guarding and nurturing love after two become three. About staying in love when the dyad is pierced by new life and new love. And by the mess, the magic and the madness of parenthood. Continue reading