Four years ago, in November 2011, I reviewed a canvas print from Photobox. I made a collage of my favourite pictures over 6 months of Instagram and got it made into a canvas.
I had big plans, thinking that I could do something similar every six months or so. I never did. That would have been crazy expensive for a start. I do print Instagram photos – some go into our photo albums that I have been creating since Piran was born – some of the 20-30 images each month that I print every 3 months and add to an album. I also love printing off Polargrams, I do this once a year and keep them in a set.
But I have never made another collage. It lives in the toilet and every day I look at it. Sometimes I think that really I should take it down – it is out of date, over four years old, and we don’t have any more up to date ones displayed anywhere. But then I look at it, and I see the photos that it contains. It covers the period from when I was pregnant with Kate, right through until she was six months or so old.
Those months were the hardest months of my life. By far. Two children under two, one that didn’t stop crying and one that was a limpet attached to me at all times. I had postnatal depression and was extremely sleep deprived and I have no idea how I got through that time. It is a complete and utter blur.
But when I look at these photos, bits of it come back. Yes, Instagram tends to be the highlight reel, and there have been many discussions about being authentic and sharing real life. And these days my caption will tend to share the story behind the photo, ‘keeping it real’. But back then I just shared photos to capture the memories. And I am so glad I did. It was such a hard, dark time, and without these pictures that could be my only memory of that time.
81 photos. Too many to mention but some of my favourite memories (in no particular order and definitely not chronologically):
A brilliant visit from Heather and family.
Kicking leaves in the park.
Piran’s second birthday.
The first picture of Kate.
Kate with her bunny from her brother.
The quilt I made Kate.
My first trip to the supermarket with two children (I swear I felt like I climbed Everest that day).
The first moment Piran met Kate.
The first cuddle Kate had with Grandma.
The amazing relationship between my children that has just grown and grown.
Baby dresses filling the washing line.
A day out at Wakehurst Place.
A beautiful summer.
Our gorgeous garden.
Weeks spent in Cornwall.
Piran in black and white trousers on St Piran’s Day, the smell of pasties in the oven.
The fact he used to line all his cards and trucks up on top of the radiator.
I see other things too, more than one picture of Kate asleep after a whole day of crying. The Stokke newborn set that was the only thing that Kate would feed in (she hated to be held when being fed), beds full of adults and children just trying to get some rest, wide awake baby faces in the middle of the night.
Those months were so hard and so long and sometimes I wonder if it is better not to think of them. But then I stop and catch sight of one of these images and I am reminded that there were moments of light in the darkness.