Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, it’s been hard to miss the news that Stacey Solomon gave birth to a beautiful baby boy recently. But apart from the adorable little squish, she has been gaining attention for a very different reason.
The first image to appear of Stacey and her little one was this one taken straight after birth. Notice the blood hasn’t been cleaned up and that look of sheer exhaustion and relief on her face. No perfectly coiffed hair, immaculate make-up or pretty poses. Just honest, raw motherhood.
Keeping it real
This is what I love most about Stacey Solomon. Rather than keeping up the picture-perfect pretense of motherhood that many of us are sold through the media, she keeps it real, warts and all. In almost every picture since she has been make-up free and has that tired/overjoyed expression that many new mothers have. In fact, even mentioning her make-up just proves to me how skewed the media perpetuates the pressure on women to look good, even after just giving birth. Nobody asked Prince Harry about his appearance! I don’t even know why I mentioned it, it’s that deeply ingrained.
Stacey has been very open about her struggles with postnatal depression in the past and even did a documentary on her experiences so she is very aware of her mental health. In one of her posts she said:
“But it doesn’t mean it’s been all rosey and glossy. Hormone surges + really struggling to breastfeed + no sleep what so ever + engorged boobs + cracked nipples + absolutely anything as minuscule as somebody kissing my babies head = total meltdown. I’ve found myself spontaneously uncontrollably sobbing into my mum’s arms, at least twice every day. Then I feel guilty that I’m not “enjoying every second” like everyone tells you too because it passes by so quickly”
By sharing her own emotional ups and downs, she is not only raising the profile of maternal mental illness but she is showing other mums that it’s OK to feel the way they do. This will hopefully lead to more mums talking about their feelings and seeking help if they need it.
Breaking the stigma
It was because of women like Stacey Solomon and Denise Welch sharing their stories that I felt more comfortable sharing mine. I struggled with anxiety and depression throughout three pregnancies and postnatally.
There were days when I couldn’t leave my house or would shake uncontrollably with fear. It took a long time and a lot of trial and error to recover and thankfully today I am in a much better place.
Been there, done that, wrote the book
Following my own experiences, I wrote a book called Pangs: Surviving Motherhood and Mental Illness. The book shares my own experiences as well as providing a self-help and resources section to help anyone who is struggling to begin their own recovery.
My hope is that every new parent who is struggling with their mental health will find it helpful and know that they are not alone.
In the meantime, I take my hat of to Stacey Solomon for showing us that even with all the fame and money in the world, us mums are all the same!