Catherine, who featured in Louis Theroux’s “Mothers on the Edge”, has kindly allowed us to share the following. You can read more about her journey @maternalmentalhealthproject
“When this photo was taken, at that moment in time, we didn’t know what lay ahead of us.
We didn’t know we’d reach some of the lowest points of our lives.
We didn’t know the path we’d walk together.
We didn’t know what a fight we’d have on our hands against my mind.
We didn’t know I’d nearly end it all but we also didn’t know we’d come out of it stronger than ever.
As I held him, I was so terribly unsure.
I stroked his cheek but my brain was scrambling for the next instruction.
I couldn’t remember.
I didn’t know what to do and it terrified me.
My heart was searching for some feelings. Some kind of emotion. An instinct. Protection even.
But it was empty.
I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed be. Who I was supposed to be. Where I was supposed to be.
Today, that photo caught my eye and I stared intensely at that mother. That seemly naive and innocent woman who was a sitting duck for the ferocious, relentless and the utterly despairing dark side of motherhood. The mother who was about to meet her bottled up grief head on like a torrent of flood water. The mother who would struggle to be in the same room as her child. The mother who felt her baby would be better off without her. The mother who had the biggest unknown battle of her life in front of her.
And here I am.
Picking that photo up, stroking the glass and thanking that mother for her strength. For sticking with me. For not giving up even when she came so close. For finding a way through. For holding onto that hope. For making me the mother I am today.
She gave me everything I presently possess. That self assurance. The contented feeling. The ability to shrug when someone tells me I’m not doing something a certain way. She developed and nurtured that confidence I needed in motherhood. She worked hard to give me a beautiful bond with an amazing little boy. She fought with everything she had. She showed up. She stood up and she came out the other side, smiling.
I’m so very thankful for her.
She made it.
I made it.”