When Caitlin Fladager posted her first photo online, she had no idea how many people would end up following her.

"I was 18 and I was about 15 weeks pregnant with my daughter," Fladager, now 27, told CBC. "I liked posting pictures of my belly. I just liked sharing it for myself to remember and for my family who lives far away, and people kept following me from there."

Eventually, Caitlin started getting recognized while she was shopping. Today, the mom-of-two has over 3 million followers across her social media platforms.

"I got well-known for my life looking perfect," said Fladager. But behind the scenes, the young woman was struggling with her mental health, and maintaining the illusion of perfection was taking a huge toll on her.

More info: Instagram | Facebook | TikTok

#1

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Jellie Snijders
Community Member
9 months ago

This is so true! I always have done this, and still do, and my son is now 19 and still loves to cuddle! And I NEVER go in his room unannounced! I still shudder with the idea that when I was young and my parents threw a party I had to go around the room and kiss everybody! Even those I didn't really know!

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#2

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Bee / she/her
Community Member
9 months ago

NO!! How did the parents allow this? I'm disgusted with this generation. For the love of everything that's holy, HE NEEDS MATCHING SHOES!!

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Scrolling through her feeds, it's easy to see why so many people want to see her life unfold.

Caitlin and her then-boyfriend, Noah Slomski, started dating when they were 16 and 15 respectively. She documented and shared their goofy teenage relationship mature into a lovely family when their daughter Ariana was born 2 years after they met.

The high school sweethearts soon married, and when their son Jack was born in 2015, Caitlin's following was so big that companies were offering her up to $3,000 to post about their products on Instagram.

#3

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Mobey Drunk
Community Member
9 months ago

This is absolutely perfect.

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#4

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James016
Community Member
9 months ago

My son has a dolls house with dolls. All he saw was a toy house. We bought the accessories kitchen, bathroom etc and some dolls. He plays with it happily.

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Fladager admitted she enjoyed the attention, but the more supporters she had, the more trolls came to her social media accounts, leaving one nasty message after another. Furthermore, haters were constantly criticizing her on forums like 'YouTube Momma Drama.'

"I like to please everybody and that made it very difficult for me," Fladager explained. "It was hard to accept the fact that not everybody is going to like me and that was something I really struggled with."

#5

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Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

Consent does not stop with consent to physical things. It well includes information, including privacy and sharing of fotos, quotes etc..

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#6

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Tracy Sellars
Community Member
9 months ago

All Mum's need to print this one out an read it everyday. Too many time they are far to hard on themselves and feel guilty for being human.

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Fladager doesn't blame social media for her depression but thinks that spending so much time online didn't help either. Scrolling through other people's feeds only made her feel inadequate, and maintaining her own public image left her feeling like a fraud.

At her lowest point, Fladager recalls dragging herself out of bed, putting on fake eyelashes and hair extensions, and dressing up so she could take a photo to post, then immediately taking everything off and returning to bed.

"I wasn't going anywhere, I didn't feel like doing my makeup. I just did it for the 'Gram.' That's what you see when you go onto Instagram. Especially when you have a lot of followers, you feel a lot of pressure to post content people want to see, and what they wanted to see at that time, I thought, was perfection."

#7

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Cheri Aline Sydney
Community Member
9 months ago

I like "A Happy Spouse... A Happy House!" When both people want to make their spouse happy, they'll share lots of happiness together! They'll also be good role models for their children ~

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#8

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
9 months ago

The small gestures add up

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Fladager said she thought about terminating her social media accounts all the time, but she had to make a living.

"I needed a way to support my kids," the mom said. "You can't just quit your job when it gets hard."

However, she could no longer hide her depression. As her family began noticing what was happening, her marriage broke down. Five-year-old Ariana asked her mom why she was so tired all the time.

It was when Fladager decided to start therapy. "I was like, my five-year-old is noticing this. I need to get help."

#9

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
9 months ago

And yet there are a lot of people who really think they have no obligation to "account their live to their SO." It's about sharing information, sharing plans, sharing your life and has got nothing to do with control or asking permission.

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#10

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
9 months ago

It's quite significant that the very normal word "sex" has to be disguised as s3x to escape censorship.

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"Noah was there the whole time," Caitlin recalled this difficult period on Love What Matters. "He held my hand while the doctor assessed me. He stood by me while I waited for my anti-depressants to be filled. He came over at night when it was all just too much for me. He was the better parent when I mentally couldn’t be one."

After about a year and a half, she was mentally better. "I was cleaning more, cooking more, smiling more. So, Noah and I decided we were too good to be apart any longer."

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
9 months ago

Keep repeating to a child long enough that they are acting stupid and need to grow up and be surprised that one day they are gone out of your life forever. Because that's why kids commit suicide or run away from home and end up in the gutter.

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#12

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Aleksandra Rusbasan
Community Member
9 months ago

Does anyone else feel targeted

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In addition to seeking professional help, she also decided to share her struggles with her followers and tear down the facade on what was really going on.

"It's been a struggle for Noah and me," the mom said. "We've been dealt our fair share of crappy cards. But we've made it. It's not always easy. It's not always beautiful. It can be quite ugly sometimes. Because that's life. That's relationships. Sometimes it takes time apart, work, or whatever it may be, to get back on track."

Caitlin's posts have transformed from genuine snippets that she no longer feels guilty for sharing, and her followers appreciate her openness and authenticity as the woman strives to find the right balance between being an influencer, a mom, and a healthy human being.

#13

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Brandi VanSteenwyk
Community Member
9 months ago

Not seeing my parents (mom & wonderful stepfather from age 10) argue led me to believe that a happy marriage was between two people who automatically sensed each other's needs and supported everything the other did or thought without batting an eye. REALLY SCREWED ME UP!! Because I went on to feel like a failure as a GF or wife if I wasn't able to do the same. It took me many adult years fraught with emotional torture and self disgust to realize I'd missed a lot beneath the surface of their relationship and it was okay to disagree on things with a partner. It leads to compromise, understanding and mutual growth.

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#14

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Sleepyhead
Community Member
9 months ago

I've only ever been "seeing someone" and not actually dating, but this part scares me, to be honest. This is reassuring though.

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#15

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Brandy Grote
Community Member
9 months ago

You can say sorry without meaning it. These other statements show a willingness to work it out, to take responsibility and move forward.

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#16

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Sue Hazlewood
Community Member
9 months ago

And the award for completely missing the point goes to ....... AMY!

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See Also on Fashion Life
#17

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J. Cole
Community Member
9 months ago

He is just as adorable as she is 😊

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#18

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Katelyn Ver Helst
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

excuse me Scagsy please shut up

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#19

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GreatFlyingSpatula
Community Member
9 months ago (edited)

The bf and I go to bed at separate times and that works for us, the important thing is figuring out what works for you as individuals; what works for one couple wouldn't for another. The trick is talking it out and saying what you think works and what doesn't, and adapting. There is rarely a one size fits all rule.

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#20

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Muff_Fluff
Community Member
9 months ago

Is is just me or is this repeating OVER AND OVER AND OVER again?

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#21

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Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

This also works the other way round. After a day that went not so well, sit together for dinner and everyone may name a thing that he or she enjoyed that day. It turns out that you can find joint positivity even in bad days and realize that the clouds often are not as dark as they may seem at first sight.

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#22

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Kiran
Community Member
9 months ago

I feel this. I am the type who needs space and time to breathe and process my emotions. I hate forced resolutions. If I am forced to feel okay when I am not, it will make me resentful.

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#23

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Tamara Kroonen
Community Member
9 months ago

Saying "Thank You" is also very polite and shows you respect your partner. Just because you are married, does not mean you have to lose your manners.

#24

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Kyan
Community Member
8 months ago

I lovd this, these are perfect relationships adivices