As Sr. Art Director for Motherhood, Klaudia is normally the one behind the camera, making sure the magic happens on screen. But for Mother's Day, we had a candid conversation with Klaudia about what it means to be a working mom, family traditions & more.
C: Do you want to talk about your birth story? Do you mind sharing that with us?
K: Sure. Between my two girls it's been two completely different birth stories. My first daughter Vittoria, who's now eight, she was born a preemie and was in the NICU. I was in a bad head space for quite some time and I feel, in some respects, that I was kind of in denial. I was like, no everything's fine – I got this. But really, it was a lot to take in. I was so nervous that it was going to happen again with my second pregnancy and that history was going to repeat itself. I was scared my second baby was going to be in the NICU too, and I didn’t know how I was going to cope with that. How would I deal with that again? It was so traumatic for me.
My two-month-old now, Olivia, when she was born, she didn’t have to go to the NICU. She stayed in the room with me. And despite the fact that we were pregnant and delivered during COVID, and that's been its own crazy world and had its own challenges…but the fact that I was able to have her with me at all times and that I was able to go home with her...it was just a very different experience now that I can compare the two.
C: How was your experience with a newborn different the second time around?
K: It’s been wonderful to go from being pregnant one day to the next day you're just there with this little baby, and you're like—oh my goodness, I'm responsible for you. And I'm here to help you grow, and to feed you... you know, with my first daughter Vittoria, being that I was in a bad head space, I wasn't really able to nurse her. So breastfeeding was just not happening for me and I bottle fed her. And there were times when I felt like I wasn't being a good enough mom because I was feeding her out of a bottle. Are people going to think that I'm not trying hard enough? And with Olivia, she latched on right away. She was able to breast feed. Now reflecting on both I say to myself, you know what? Whatever way you fed your baby, you did it right. With my first, I bottle fed and with my second, I breastfed.
Many people will say breast is best, but fed is best. Right? And my eight-year-old now, you would never know that she was a preemie or that we had birth complications.
I WISH I COULD HAVE SOMEBODY GO BACK EIGHT AND TELL ME, HEY, THIS IS HOW IT'S GOING TO TURN OUT. IT'S GOING TO BE FINE. SO, IF YOU NURSE YOUR CHILD OR YOU BOTTLE FEED, OR WHATEVER YOU DO, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT WITH HEART, THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS. AND IT'LL BE GREAT.
C: Thank you, Klaudia. Do you mind talking about this? Do you need a tissue or anything?
K: No, I think I'm good.
C: Ok. So, this just sparked a memory of mine from an interview last year with Diana Spalding, a midwife. I was telling her my birth story, which I don't like my birth story, and she said to me, “Birth trauma is real. You don't have to like your birth story.” Which I found so comforting. And I'm getting the feeling that you kind of have the same feelings about your first birth?
K: Yes. So, my birth story, there definitely was some trauma and it definitely sticks with you, especially that it's such a... you're bringing life into this world, right? So that within itself is already such a big job and such a big responsibility and you put so much pressure on yourself, right? And then your baby comes and, in many ways, everything's perfect and that's wonderful. But for the women that don't get to experience that “perfect” birth, and they do run into complications and their baby ends up in the NICU, it's hard because your mind is just constantly racing and thinking, what can I do to make sure that my baby's okay. You start beating yourself up – did I do something wrong? Did I miss something? What could I have done to make sure my baby wasn't in the NICU? You just race through all these thoughts.
When my daughter was in the NICU, I of course kept coming in to constantly feed her and check up on her. And there was this one time when just a bunch of doctors were right in front of where she was laying under all these monitors and everything. I remember I ran so fast... and by no means am I a runner, I ran so fast to her thinking: oh my goodness, what's wrong with my baby? And they were just having their morning hurdle in her area. So, it’s like that. You're just constantly in this panic mode and protection mode. This is crazy, but the smell of hand sanitizer from being in and out of the NICU on and on, just brings me back to that time of Vittoria being there. It always just gives me that feeling of anxiety. Anytime there's hand sanitizer around. With COVID, I've been more used to it, but it's all those little things that bring you to this crazy head space.