Last week, I interviewed Jessica Rowe and learned that she is one of the most genuine and delightful people in Australian public life.
I wasn’t necessarily surprised by that though, having just finished reading her new book, a memoir called Is this my beautiful life?
Jessica writes with refreshing honesty about her journey through motherhood so far. She shares an almost universal experience of motherhood, writing in the book’s opening; “I am a mother. I love being a mother, but I also hate it sometimes. I don’t hate my children, of course; I just hate what has happened to my life. I don’t like being resentful, restless and stuck in a world of interrupted conversations, cold coffee and disrupted sleep.”
We can all relate to that.
In particular Jessica writes about her experience of post natal depression. She shares beautifully and honestly the sense of overwhelming dread she felt in the months following birth. Clearly, raising awareness of post natal depression is something Jessica Rowe feels very strongly about.
"It's something we don't talk enough about," she tells me. "And for me, having worked with various mental health organisations for 15 or 16 years I think we're getting better at talking about depression and anxiety generally. But when it comes to post natal depression for women, you know, there's this mask of motherhood and we still suffer in this conspiracy of silence. It's very difficult still I think to say, 'you know what I'm not coping I think I have post natal depression'.
"Because there's this expectation that I think society put on us and that we put on ourselves. We're so tough on ourselves. That we're meant to be fabulous at everything and it's all going to be a bed roses. And unfortunately for many mums it's not.
"It's wonderful being a mum but it can be really difficult.
"I really want people to know that there is help available and that there is a way through."
Jessica heavily emphasises the need for mothers to be honest about their experiences. She tells me it's part of why she has written her book.
"We do ourselves and one another an enormous disservice if we don't tell it like it is. In writing the book I just want to be honest and say, I found it really difficult as well."