Caroline Laroche (31 - she/her) and Maya (3 months)
Quebec, Canada | Brooklyn, NY
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
Having gone through fertility struggles, I experienced a lot of frustration related to my body in the past. I was lucky to get pregnant following our first IVF cycle, and to have a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. During pregnancy, I was constantly amazed at my body, and surprised at how good it was as growing a baby when it had found it so hard to make one in the first place! I found the experience very empowering and gave me a new appreciation for my body and the wonders it can accomplish. Now that I am no longer pregnant, there are still visible marks of the journey I went through and, while it is not always easy, I try to embrace and celebrate the visible marks my pregnancy has left on me.
What was your postpartum experience?
I am a compulsive planner and researcher so, before Maya was born, I had spent hundreds of hours researching pregnancy and the postpartum period. While I knew what to expect and I knew it was going to be hard, I was not prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions I would experience. Most of the time, I felt simultaneously elated, overwhelmed, lonely, exhausted, and overjoyed. Parenthood has been a wild ride for me so far, but mostly a positive one thanks to all the people who have supported me over my first few months as a mom: my husband, my family, my friends, my midwives and the other new parents I met as part of the support group I joined. Before having Maya, I didn't realize just how much I would need other people during the postpartum period.
What is your truth?
Asking for help is hard, it is absolutely necessary during the postpartum period. People around you want to help you but often don't know how to; learn to state your needs and to tell them how they can best support you. Trying to be hero and do it all alone is a recipe for failure.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I have been following the 4th Trimester Bodies Project for years now, ever since I started trying to conceive. I always found the page comforting, beautiful and empowering. In particular, I loved reading stories of people who eventually had success after struggling with infertility. I thought I could now share my story, celebrate my journey and perhaps help someone else go through a rough patch in their life.