Faces of Postpartum
Faces of Postpartum
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Ariane, Dumfries VA (1/4)

“I spent most of my relationship with my husband living in two different countries. After 5 years of back and forth between the US and Canada, I officially immigrated in March 2016. A month later, I got pregnant. We planned it, we knew we’d gotten super lucky... but it was fast and a lot of changes all at once. I had just finished a PhD program and maternity leave in the US being such a joke, I decided not to look for a job. I just kept writing and focused on welcoming our baby. But as someone a bit obsessive when it comes to new projects, I quickly stopped writing and threw myself into the baby thing. The ‘To Do’ lists were endless. I don’t think I wanted everything to be perfect, but I wanted to be ready. I imagine I wanted to feel in control. And then Lou came on January 1st 2017. I had been hoping for a natural birth, but as with anything that has to do with babies, it didn’t happen that way. After 14 hours of labor, I demanded the epidural, which is a fucking miracle from God. I napped a bit and she was born around noon. I think I was happy. Stoned and bleeding, but happy. I remember there was a lot of people doing a lot of medical stuff in the room. Not as relaxing as I had envisioned – you know, expectations. It also meant a lot of people poking and touching me, which I hate regardless, but as someone who also went through sexual assault and domestic violence in a previous relationship, I just couldn’t handle it very well. The staff knew about my discomforts and were kind, but it was stressful. In the end, my first 24hrs of postpartum were mostly about filling out paperwork, doing tests to the baby, not being allowed to sleep with her in the bed for liability purposes, and fighting with the cafeteria to get food. I just wanted to be left alone with my child and my husband. I was really anxious and instead of letting go and enjoying my healthy baby, I kept focusing on what I had expected of the experience.”