When you come across a picture of oneself and are impelled to use it as your profile pic, you know you’ve hit a good one.
Scrolling through the images my daughters snapped when they commandeered the family camera, I found one such picture.
One hand on my knee, other on that hip, I am leaning into the camera. My face is the first thing the lens encounters. I am smiling, my laugh lines and crow’s feet in full effect. My eyes alight with joy and love.
People who’d seen the photo commented that it was lovely, adorable, beautiful, terrific. One friend said it made her smile. Another said:
This is YOU, very much alive and ready… Love it
All very wonderful, but it wasn’t until I gave photo cred to my daughter that I realized that was why this picture was so successful. It wasn’t how gorgeous I am or how fashionable my scarf was; it was the love radiating toward my daughter through the lens.
Now, the average parent – or grown child who fully grasps the connection between parent and offspring – might think this explanation is obvious, unnecessary. To me, it’s a huge a-ha moment.
Amidst the anguish and uncertainty that followed me through the postpartum period of her birth, I was afraid she wouldn’t feel loved. I was afraid that soft yet strong, gentle yet fierce protector of a mother would never show through all the layers of dark, depressive, disgusted and disgusting matter hiding it.
Yet, here I am, five years later, beaming at her radiantly. Looking the best I have in awhile and all lit up because of her. If I ever doubted whether my love shone through, now I have photographic evidence.
* Please note that simply smiling will not heal postpartum depression. I am still shoring certain parts of myself up after five years. It’s okay if you don’t feel like smiling right now. There are other ways your baby will know love and there are ways you can get help. Talk to your physician, your baby’s pediatrician, or sites like postpartumprogress.com