Ariane, Dumfries VA (4/4)
“There was one nurse in particular at the hospital – Carole – whom I adored. She was calm and motherly. If I had a question or was drowning in anxiety, she would be reassuring and empowering. She talked to the doctor so I could go outside and take walks with Lou and Mike, even if we weren’t allowed to leave the unit by ourselves. She switched her shift on my last day so she could hug me goodbye... When I came back home, my husband made me a bracelet engraved with the phrase ‘What would Carole do?’ so I could remember to be kind to myself. I’d be lying if I said that life suddenly became super easy. I still had major fallbacks, therapy kicked my ass, and adjusting to meds took months. Eventually, the antidepressants kicked-in. I realized afterwards I should have been on them a long time ago. It didn’t change my creativity or make me 'lesser than.' It just helped me cope with day-to-day life and -- surprise, surprise! -- be more productive. Lou now has a happier mom. She’s almost walking, saying ‘Maman,' and learning to give me kisses. She’s turning one in a few weeks. And this project... well, this project grew in my mind one night at the hospital. I finally had room to think and dream, and today, I feel empowered because of it. It’s amazing to go to think ‘This year I became a mother AND created a community that supports and acknowledges mothers.' We are all in it together, despite our different experiences. So yeah. I end my first year postpartum with tired eyes, a full heart, and so many things to care for. Starting with myself."