Laura Haugen is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. She has worked as a journalist at various publications and served as a diplomat in Washington D.C., Oman, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Tunisia, and Jordan. She is currently a freelance writer and lives in Berlin, Germany, with her husband and nearly five-year-old daughter.
“I struggled for years to make sense of a traumatic birth experience (prolonged labor, an emergency C-Section and a NICU stay) and overcome the anxiety I felt caring for an infant with significant health issues. While other moms around me seemed to delight in telling their birth stories, my story remained untold, wrapped in feelings of shame and helplessness. One spring day when my daughter was two years old, we caught a glimpse of thousands of cranes stranded in frozen fields, and it brought me back to those dark, early days of motherhood. I realized how much I still needed to process my experience and make peace with it, for my sake and my daughter’s. In writing this essay, I could finally let go of my fear and anguish to tell our story.”
“While I think most people know about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety is less recognized and understood. I think that especially for women who experienced traumatic birth or whose newborns have significant health issues or round-the-clock care, feelings of anxiety can be overwhelming and difficult to express.”