Ariane Audet

Kathryn, Leesburg VA (USA)

Ariane Audet
Kathryn, Leesburg VA (USA)

Giving birth to my son was really rough. My water broke in the middle of the night like an hour or two after going to bed, and it was a 19-hour labor. I couldn’t figure out how to push when it got to that point. I had a lot of bleeding and it took them a while to get it under control. I was just exhausted. It wasn’t until the middle of the first night when it was just the two of us that I looked at my son and really fell in love. From then on I’ve never wanted to put him down! Anytime anyone came to visit and wanted to hold him I would immediately want him back in my arms; my mother and sister kept saying "We’ve only had him for like three minutes!" I was in a super bad mood for a week (...or two or three) after I gave birth. I was so exhausted and never got sleep. My husband was also exhausted and would say ‘I’ll stay up and help,' but he’d fall asleep and then I’d be up in the middle of the night so angry with him. My mom came to stay for a couple days to help cook and clean, but my bad mood chased her away. I was pretty isolated the first year of his life, but I love to hang out with my son so much that I didn’t really mind. It hurts to know he lives outside of my body now. He’s kind of a mama’s boy, which I love. I’ve never slept without him; we’ve always been together. I just love it.

Kathryn2_Faces_of_Postpartum

Three weeks after we came home from the hospital we were on a walk because he was crying and crying and I thought we both could use some fresh air. We went around the block and I kept peeking at him because it was my first time wearing him in a carrier, and I wanted to make sure he was getting air. At one point I looked at him and he wasn’t breathing. I was in complete panic mode. I ripped him out of the baby carrier and laid him down on someone’s lawn trying to get him to start breathing again. I had all these thoughts running through my head in slow motion, and my whole body was shaking. I couldn’t get my phone out of my pocket to call for help because my hands were shaking so badly. But I got him to start breathing. I took him to the ER and they found out he had the flu, which caused him to stop breathing. That’s why he had been crying for three days. We didn’t know because he didn’t have any symptoms. We had to spend two days in the hospital. Now I never leave him with anyone. I left him a couple times with my mom to go into meetings and on three dates with my husband. But I’m always so worried. He almost died on my watch. What if it happens with somebody else? He’s my whole world. I wouldn’t be able to live without him. It’s hard because we don’t get to do a lot of stuff because I don’t want to leave him. But I don’t think it’s going to pass.

Kathryn3_Faces_of_Postpartum

Before I had him, I planned to have him in a crib. But I slept holding him for the first couple of months and he fed all the time so co-sleeping was best for us. I love waking up with him. Even though it’s sometimes exhausting, I love lying there when everybody else is asleep. I love looking at him or rubbing his head while he nurses. Nobody else will ever have that bond with him. He wakes up happy all the time. We always play in the mornings. I used to yell my husband’s name in the morning before he’d left for work so he could come get the baby to give me thirty more minutes of sleep. But now our son does it. He yells DAAAD! We all love it. Of course my husband and I miss sleeping together. He’s like ‘How long till can I move back in the bedroom?’ And I tell him "I only have 18 more years with our son, we have the rest of our lives!"

Kathryn4_Faces_of_Postpartum

It was really rough at the beginning because I was in survival mode. I was not putting effort into anything and didn’t have time for myself or for my relationship. But I’ve always been a homebody. I don’t really need to do anything. So having to stay at home with my son didn’t really affect me. Now, a year and half in, I feel like I’m actually starting to live my life again and putting more effort into it, but it’s still all about my son. I try not to direct anything negative toward him. I play with him as much as I can. We go outside, we have dance parties with my grandma’s old scarves! Work was always a placeholder until I found my husband and we started having kids. This is my dream life. I want to be there for everything and not miss a thing. And I haven’t, which is awesome and exactly what I wanted. I’ve never ever doubted myself as a mom, which has been nice. I don’t have a lot of confidence with a bunch of stuff but being a mom, I’m totally confident. When people try to give me advice, I’ll listen and try to read as much info as I can, but I choose what I want and I always feel good about it. I was made to be a mom. I love it and I love him. He’s the coolest kid in the world.