Ariane Audet

Marie-Eve, Gatineau QC (Canada)

Ariane Audet
Marie-Eve, Gatineau QC (Canada)

It took a while before my partner and I decide to have kids because we didn’t agree on how many. He wanted three. I wanted one. We have three now, so… yeah! When we decided to have our first, I had just started a new job as a land surveyor. I’m part of what we could call "career-moms." I love what I do, I love my job and it’s always been like that. My goal is to one day own the company. I got lucky because when I got pregnant, my bosses were super collaborative. I gave birth at 37 weeks and my first birth was my favorite. I’m a speedster and despite what they told me at the hospital, six hours after my water broke, our daughter was in my arms. Right away, I had trouble breastfeeding. Quebec is pro-breastfeeding so I was told to at least try. There’s a lot of pressure: from the nurses and society in general. But I just couldn’t. I didn’t have enough milk and before I knew it, she had to be hospitalized for jaundice because she was too little. I pumped for three months after that and all I could get was barely enough for one bottle. We would give her that, then supplement with formula. It was hard because on every moms’ blog and Facebook group, the moms who don’t breastfeed are bad moms. Even our neighbor once asked if I breastfed. When I said "No, I can’t," they answered, "Oh… that’s too bad!" You truly feel like you failed. My partner helped a lot, but between pumping and prepping bottles, I started to feel like I was going nuts. I stopped and we switched to formula only. I’m happy we made that decision. She’s as healthy as the other kids and I kept my sanity. She was an easy baby so we decided to try for a second. She wasn’t even two years old when her brother was born.

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The second pregnancy was harder. I had thyroid problems and, unlike the first time, I had another kid to take care of! His birth was fast. Too fast. He was big and came out in three hours. Let’s just say I didn’t enjoy it. But he was healthy and he was such an easy baby. At three months old, he was sleeping through the night. Never had colic. Our daughter embraced the older-sister role so well. It was HER baby. She was always cuddling with him and was so sweet. From the beginning, we also had decided to feed him only with formula. It was all set and I didn’t even try. I knew all the advantages of bottle feeding, so it wasn’t as hard that time. My partner was, again, really supportive and helpful. He’s a very present dad. If we could afford it, he’d stay at home with the kids for sure. For every one of them, we split the one-year parental leave 50/50. We had challenges, like every parent, but for the most part, it was really easy. I guess this is why when our son turned one, we decided to try for a third. I had already exceeded my quota anyway and I knew my partner wanted a third child. I also realized that for me, the hardest part of becoming a mom came with our first born. She was the one who turned our life upside down. There are already toys everywhere and you swim in diapers, bottles, and chaos. I know a lot of families don’t choose to have children close in age, but for us, it made sense.

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My third pregnancy was hard. I was sick, throwing up all the time, and so, so tired. He also was a big baby and was born in one hour and forty-five minutes. He got out of my body like a bullet. He was born in meconium, possibly because of how fast it went. We had to stay in the hospital for a week and a half after so they could monitor his lungs and make sure he didn’t have any infection. His bronchi were inflamed because of the meconium. My partner and I always said that, if one of our babies had health problems, we would not have other kids. That situation comforted us in our decision; they constantly poked him with large syringes, he was screaming, I was crying… the nurses had to console him AND me. He spent his time in a small incubator. I could hold him to feed him and couldn’t room-in with him at night. It was hard. At the same time, I would watch other parents in the NICU who didn’t know what was going on with their child, and I’d think to myself that it could be much worst. After a week and a half, we were allowed to go home. With him either I didn’t try to milk myself! I had gotten over the judgments and thought… screw it! This is my kids; I have to take care of them and my family. If I spiral into depression, I won’t be able to do any of that. I needed my energy for other things than killing myself trying to breastfeed.

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Going back to work after six months was difficult this time. For the first two, I couldn’t wait to be somebody else than their mom. I wanted to be an adult who talked about other things than bottles or changing diapers. For all of them, I tried to do activities outside the house, but it didn’t work out very well. Our families live far away and I never clicked with any moms group. I also had the three of them during winter. My parental-leaves felt lonely. But with our last baby, it was different. I was happy to be home, with my baby, drinking my coffee in the morning. We were also getting out more as I was more relaxed. With the first two, I was always afraid they’d pick something up. But with two older siblings in daycare, our son caught everything anyway, so why not go to the mall! It was freeing not to feel so much stress. Of course, we don’t sleep much! As I said, we don’t have a huge support group and family is far away. But we’re doing good. Some days are harder than others; our daughter is a four-year-old preteen and our son throws tantrums once in a while. Our relationship also got hit pretty hard, but we spent ten years together, just by ourselves, before deciding to have children. We make a good team and we know it’s just a phase. My partner often joke to hang in there, that they’re going to college soon! And it was a nice discovery, to become a mom. I didn’t think I would like it that much. Small things we sometimes forget as adults. The other day, for example, my son got mad at the moon because it didn’t go to sleep and it was daytime. It made me laugh so hard. We’re in such a hurry all the time. And here they are, talking to the moon.