Most of the images on Australian photographer Kelly Bannister’s Facebook page depict motherhood at its most idyllic: families frolicking on the beach or in the forest, cherubic babies laughing, moms perfectly coiffed and glowing.
Of course, Bannister, who has two little ones of her own, knows that being parent isn’t always so pretty. So when her 5-year-old son happened to capture a raw, behind-the-scenes moment of Bannister comforting her then sick infant in the shower, she felt compelled to share the picture.
“I was debating whether or not to post this,” Bannister wrote on her Facebook page. “But this is real, raw, and one of the absolute worst parts of motherhood. Every cry and every tear makes your heart break just that little bit more and your only wish is that it was you instead.”
Bannister’s daughter had been coughing and was inconsolable, Bannister herself hadn’t slept well in days, and her only hope was that a warm shower with the soothing sound of running water would help calm the infant.
Since posting the photo on April 18, thousands of moms and dads have reached out to Bannister, commiserating with her and sharing their own stories of coping with coughs, colds and flu. The post has more than 40,000 likes and has been shared more than 3,500 times.
Not that there weren’t some haters who suggested Bannister may have staged the photo taken by her son. But Bannister was quick to dismiss the negative remarks. “I genuinely had vomit in my hair and I was genuinely THAT exhausted,” she wrote in response. “Plus, I think the look on Summer’s face says it all.”
And if you’re wondering about little Summer, Bannister let everyone know that a day after the photo was taken, she was doing much better. “We can see the light flickering away at the end of the tunnel,” she wrote.