Real Life On Our Couch

September 5, 2015 • Home DecorKidsLifeStyle

a while ago a belgian journalist contacted me because she was preparing an article about mamas on instagram. as i have been sharing a lot of #julietrabaey on there, it didn’t surprise me she considered me ‘an instamom.’ i shared some of my favorite pics with her to be published in the magazine she writes for, and didn’t really think about it again until the article came out. i shared a picture of it on ig (BUT OF COURSE) and i wanted to repeat here what i mentioned there.

my life is far from perfect. it’s complicated, it’s messy and it can be exhausting. sometimes i feel like sharing how this makes me feel – like when juliet had such a difficult time those first three months of her life. i posted a few pictures on instagram to share how hard it was on me and our family, and got so much comfort and encouragement from the comments that followed. i’ll forever be grateful to everyone who shared their own stories with me or offered me some words of sympathy. i don’t think i’m exaggerating when i say they really helped me get through a tough few months.

luckily, juliet is doing much, much better now. she’s as happy and healthy as a baby can be. it took me a little longer to adapt to my new life (and it’s probably still an ongoing process), but i can honestly say i am feeling happy much more often than not. i choose not to dwell on things, and to move forward, so that is why on ig i’m back to sharing happy moments and memories. i don’t think that means i’m being dishonest. it just means that whenever possible, i like to spread joy and optimism.

what does all this have to do with that article, i hear you think. the instamoms that were represented in the article, were all examples of perfectionists and aesthetes. they like to think about the photos they post, perhaps even style them a little bit before they take them. i plead guilty, but as the article said – it’s not so much about trying to ‘fake’ something, than about wanting to remember the best of everything. just like back in the day when moms used to book a professional photographer to take their family portrait. so even though the article never accused me of anything, it did make me think about how i’m presenting myself online and what i’m feeling and thinking in reality. and it made me want to share a little more than i usually do.

like the story behind the pictures you see above. because juliet had such a difficult time those first three months, there was barely a moment she was awake and not crying. we were exhausted and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and the last thing on our minds was organizing a photoshoot to commemorate the start of our little family. i pushed back thoughts of regretting that later on, but of course time passed, juliet’s troubles went away and i regretted having lived on fast-forward for three months without taking the time to letting it all sink in.

so when we finally set up the tripod and took the time for a family picture, we sat down on the couch on which we had cried, laughed, rocked juliet to sleep, watched netflix endlessly through the sleepless nights and nursed ourselves and juliet back to health. it was an emotional moment yet at the same time there was absolutely nothing ceremonial about it. juliet only liked sitting still for about five minutes, my husband felt silly having to pose, and it took about a million shots to finally find the pose where we all didn’t look like complete morons.

so actually, nothing about the pictures above is perfect, but they are pretty perfect to me. when the journalist described the setting as carefully thought through and composed, she was only partially right. yes, we’re all wearing EMOI EMOI because their sweaters look great and have cute messages on them. yes, we’re sitting on the absolutely perfect moroso couch which we carefully selected for our home at MASTER MEUBEL. and yes, we look like a happy family because that’s what we are, in the end. but what you don’t see is the conflicted emotions, the happy tears, the sad tears and everything else going on behind the scenes, and perhaps that is a shame, because sometimes it can be a beautiful thing to share, too.

  • e lp

    thank you for your honesty!

  • Tara

    Super post! En wat een mooie foto’s!

  • Leuk artikel! :)

  • Kathlijn

    Dat is wat we allemaal doen, toch. Creating the perfect life, maar “perfect” is geen voorgeschreven definitie. Die “perfect” mag iedereen zelf invullen.
    Fijn geschreven artikel!

  • Dominica C

    mooi en eerlijk geschreven ; jammer genoeg wordt er nog steeds gedacht – en dit in 2015 – dat bepaalde dingen over het ouderschap en baby’s niet gezegd mag/kan worden. Het grote taboe. Terwijl die roze wolk het domste cliché is dat ik ooit hoorde. Als kersverse ouder heb je zoveel dingen te verwerken, fysiek en emotioneel, daar mag je gerust een dik jaar voor uittrekken {langer mag ook natuurlijk} om daar je ‘draai’ in te vinden. Jij als moeder, vrouw, minnares en hij als vader, man en vooral samen als koppel : niet evident wanneer dat kleine ukje alle aandacht opeist. Perfect is niemand zoals ook geen enkele situatie perfect is. Waar jullie gelukkig mee zijn, dat is het belangrijkste en dat telt.

    PS people saying they’ve slept like a baby, clearly never had one themselves. ;-)

  • Mooi geschreven, Stephanie. En hele mooie foto’s :)

  • Waltrui Huysmans

    Ik heb het me al meermaals afgevraagd, of ik wel eerlijk genoeg ben op internet. Maar als je met design en mode bezig bent, hou je gewoon ook van mooie beelden. De gezonde dosis zelfrelativering in je teksten maakt je blog ‘echt’, en veel persoonlijker dan een glossy magazine. Er is helemaal niks mis met een foto van de perfecte aardbeientaart, zolang je erbij vertelt dat hij er maar half opstaat omdat de andere helft was ingezakt. ;-)

  • Tania Renard

    Hey Stephanie,
    Ik vind je foto’s inderdaad heel mooi en perfect en ik hou van je gevoel voor esthetiek en je smaak in interieur en mode. Daarom volg ik ook je blog en je ig. Maar ik vind niet dat je je perfect voordoet en ik vind juist dat je heel eerlijk geweest bent over die eerste maanden nadat Juliet geboren was. Dus doe vooral zo verder en nog heel veel geluk met je happy family!

  • Ik denk niet dat je alles hoeft te delen of als je niet een foto van jou met een slapeloos hoofd post omdat je dagen niet aan je rust toe komt dat je jezelf voordoet als perfect. Maar je houd van styling en interieur dus dat vertaald zich ook naar de foto’s die je maakt. Ik zit nu thuis met verplichte bank/bedrust en mag niks doen maar moet ik dat dan ook kenbaar maken op instagram? Ook als je persoonlijker blogt en dingen met je lezers deelt betekend dat ook niet dat je meteen alles moet delen. Maar ik snap ook wel weer waar het vandaan komt. Het mooie perfecte plaatje. Want ja ieder mens deelt nou eenmaal graag de dingen die goed gaan. Dus ik denk zeker niet dat je oneerlijk overkomt. Je deelt alleen niet alles met iedereen. En dat is je goed recht.

  • Elise

    Dear Stephanie, I was waiting for that blogpost. Thank you for being honest. When I see my girlfriends in their daily lives juggling between their job, being mothers, and trying to do things for themselves, and I look at what is being portrayed on instagram by stylish moms who have time to wash their hair and do their makeup, I sometimes wonder what to think. I regret the superficiality and set-up-like feel of much content posted online by ‘super mothers’. I think it adds pressure to all mothers, all mothers-to-be, as well as other women who picture themselves having kids, me included. As a reader, I really appreciate when you share mishaps such as the ‘Jardin Botanique episode’. I haven’t been there, but have witnessed friends who have and it shows we’re all human. So thank you for sharing, for being honest. I’m glad you’re doing great as a family, go go go!


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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