When the kids were small, I did struggle with postnatal depression. Things were difficult as I tried to figure out my new identity and ride the wave of stormy hormones and goodness knows what other chemical changes in my brain.
There were small moments though that helped me hold on, showed me there was hope that I even took a photo! 16 years ago taking a photo was not as easy as it is these days with camera phones. I actually had to make an effort to get my camera and take the photo – but then again, as an obsessive photographer and recorder of things, I always had my camera with me. (our first digital camera could capture a whooping 2MB!!)
Having come from Africa, I found the UK weather extremely difficult to cope with and it didn’t help my depression at all. So when the sun shone, the air was fresh, I would try my best to get out. I wasn’t very good at getting out and about like the other Mums would; coffee mornings filled me with anxiety, driving gave me panic attacks, walking hurt me physically…there were so many barriers.
But the back garden was always there. It was a space I could go out and feel grounded, feel warm in the sun and, dare I say it, feel happy and content.
This photo is very special to me because I remember I was having a particular bad period. My son was coming up to 6 or 7 months, the garden was an extra chore I couldn’t cope with (I wasn’t coping with what I had on my plate let alone extras!), my daughter was 3 and hard work…It was all too much.
I took this photo because it was a rare moment of absolute magic. I had been painting the kids’ wendy house with my son in the push chair and a baby bird, learning to fly, went into the pushchair with him! It was such a sweet little thing and my son got so happy. It was magical to feel so close to nature, my heart felt so expansive and it reminded me of what was important.
That moment was a ray of light in the darkness I was in and 16 years on, I remember it fondly.
If you’d like to join me in my Head Garden program where we take time out in nature to help with our mental health, then please click on the image below for more details.