Danielle Perry is a radio presenter at Absolute Radio, a band manager, DJ, podcaster and writer for Q Magazine. She’s also a new mum to baby Etta. Although life has changed somewhat, there is a common ground between everything and that’s what she’s going to be writing about in this new column, 'Me +1'. She’s not going to be banging on about sensory classes or Peppa Pig – but the way our interests, styles and passions shift throughout our lives and how it is possible to not lose any of your identity or fun with the impending feeling of being a proper grown up.
I feel nervous writing this already. This is going to possibly offend a lot of my closest friends who are of different opinions from me - but why write for a living if you can’t stand by your convictions (and also be open to being proved wrong too).
My husband and I decided early on that we would not be uploading many pictures of our baby girl to social media. We did the birth announcement. A photo went up to announce her safe arrival, and many of my digital friends didn’t even know I was pregnant so that was quite the ‘post’. That was it I thought. ‘No more..’ we said.
My daughters generation are the first in the history of humankind who will grow up in such an open accessible space. We have no previous test cases to look back on to see the effects, if any, to them in the long run. Perhaps caution is the safest prevention? You also read absolute horror stories about who owns your images once they’re up in the world wide web, and absolutely staggeringly unbelievable stories about identity theft and pictures ending up in the most awful unsavoury dark corners of the digital globe too. That frankly terrifies me.
If I flick back through the photo albums of my childhood and my first years, I think I’d be actually quite embarrassed by some of them going up for all to see. There’s that one of me being thrown up in the air with not a stitch on; me sitting in the garden eating grapes listening to Rod Steward wearing nothing but a daisy chain, the list goes on. I think kids have enough pressure already to look like the celebs - let’s not get them obsessed with likes and comments before they've even had their 5th birthday party. Life is already seen by many through a filter and it’s making the ordinary seem grubby and unrealistic; the laughter or frown lines on someone’s face were once a way to read what kind of life they’d had - now all airbrushed out with one simple click. We are living in a material world. G’wan Madge. You called it all the way back in 1984.
But I HAVE uploaded a couple. I buckled. Why?
This is where I fall from grace. I’ve fallen victim to my own want to celebrate just how god damn happy I am. Father’s Day. I felt totally compelled to tell my husband what a great father he was. So a picture of him and the little one went up. I am, much to my horror, so engulfed into this social presence that the urge was too strong to resist. It was the most perfect photo too.
It is also kind of my job in a weird way. I write this column about having a baby. I also have a dedicated Instagram account under the moniker of Style Expectant. It would be quite strange to NOT post some photos so I do, but I get arty with it. You’ll see her hand, her foot, her ear, the back of her head, her with sunglasses on, but rarely the full story. Perhaps a silhouette walking down the road, or a playful use of shadow. Seems to be working ok so far. Am I off the hook?
I also buckled again. This time on film.
I was asked to take part in a co-promotion at work which would involve my girl being on the screen for a tiny amount of time. At first I was totally anti the idea then after some careful consideration and time spent with the director I came around to the idea that it would be tastefully shot and edited and that actually it would end up being a wonderful bit of footage for me and her personally. Someone else capturing us together for once in high definition. As far as our private photos and videos go it is usually me taking them, a constant frustration for mothers worldwide, so I thought on this occasion I would make an exception. I may be a complete charlatan but it most definitely was a one off and I will cherish it forever more.
Writing this page has been a helpful exercise actually. I’m now thinking how this relationship continues or shall I be done with it and go and have a dirty weekend with Snappy Snaps, print everything out and delete all data from sight. I’m definitely glad there’s not reams and reams of her up for all to see, but I have also got to watch my classic Gemini going-with-your-heart-not-your-head at times. From working full time in a social media heavy environment to suddenly being very much at home for the foreseeable, staring into those big eyes all day and all night, it’s hard not to think that everyone would love to see them as much as me.
Listen to Absolute Radio at absoluteradio.co.uk and catch Danielle Perry 4-6pm Weekdays on Absolute Radio, and on The Sunday Night Music Club - 8pm - 12am.
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