I love photos! My computer and phone are full.
Here’s one, a professional photographer took it. I look nice, right?
It is the true me. My smile, my left eye more closed than the right, the noticeable ‘need to go to the hairdresser and have my highlights done’ and that puffy look. Physically it is the true me. I look happy and think the photographer did a great job.
And then we zoom out…
It was Luisa’s newborn photo shoot. I still look happy, it is a sweet photo of my baby daughter and me; I cradle her while she sleeps peacefully. It is my maternal smile that you see now. Physically and emotionally this is a new mum photo and you now understand the puffiness of my face. A photo is worth a thousand words especially the ones of a mum and her newborn baby.
But sometimes a thousand words are not enough… and a photo can hide a lot, adding another thousand words. And how you show it to your friends and family, on social media, is how they will perceive it.
Now zoom out to see the whole photo…
Not only am I holding a baby, I’m trying not to fall down as my other three little girls grab my legs, crawl under, pretend I’m a bridge. They are screaming and laughing louder than the photographer.
I am trying my best to hold that happy face without screaming myself, without losing my shit. The photographer says not to worry, the photo would only show from the waist up.
But that’s when it clicks… this is motherhood. This is my daily life. My struggle is real. Struggling to come out of the house with a happy face. To hear that I look amazing after just having my fourth baby.
Now in full disclosure I will tell you what other words this photo will not tell. The day before this photoshoot, it was Sunday and I was crying on the floor, at the end of the day, because those beautiful little creatures of mine were yelling, kicking, talking back and running away. The baby was feeding from 4pm till 10pm with 20min breaks. My very supportive and amazing husband and me are not on talking terms after he arrives from a work trip. He doesn’t understand how I’m physically and emotionally spent. So I feel hopeless and cry for hours.
The next day I was there at the studio, with everyone dressed, with a rushing to work husband and my smile was there… and that puffiness is from pure exhaustion and tears.
Being a mom of four kids five and under is really hard work but slowly things are getting organized and everyone at home is adjusting to the new reality. But if you see me give me a hug. Don’t just tell me I look great as the ‘I’m okay’ and smile may be tough that day.
Photo of me and the girls credit to Little Ones Photography, thank you!
And big thank you to my dear friend Marisa Cardoso for taking the featured image of this article. Please check out her gorgeous work at www.marisacardoso.com.
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About the Writer
Rita Silva Bishop is Co-Founder of MumRadar and lives in Singapore with her husband and four daughters. Originally from Portugal, Rita had a career in the fast-paced world of Motorsport event management before starting a family. With the craziness that comes from being a parent to four girls five and under, she has a passion for helping mothers overcome the challenges of motherhood and make life simpler.