MotherStory Valentine: the arrival of a third child!

6 years ago, we did Valentine's first MotherStory, when Leo was just 1.5 years old. Since then, she's had Axel, soon to be 4.5, left radio to focus on her social networking business and helped her husband Conor open his restaurant. Today, the whole family is eagerly awaiting the (imminent) arrival of a third child, a little sister nicknamed "Baby Laguna". With Mother's Day just around the corner, we share with you the rest of the story of this lovely tribe.

Valentine Caporale 7 months pregnant sitting on her bed holding her belly

Valentine, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Valentine Caporale, and I'm 36 years old. I wear many different hats, although my main one is that of mom. For a long time I worked in communications, the media and radio as a presenter. Today, I work in the world of influence on social networks and, in parallel, my husband Conor and I have opened a restaurant.

What's changed in your life since our 1st interview 5 years ago?
My God (smile)... Leo was 1.5 years old. Since then, I've had a second boy, Axel, who's nearly 4.5, and now I'm 7 months pregnant with a girl (at last! I thought I had the recipe for having only little boys).

Do you remember telling us "I'll never leave my radio job"? Are you surprised yourself by the turn your life has taken?
Leaving radio was a really difficult decision to make, because it's my core business and my team was great, but it was time to turn the tables, and give Conor time to realize his dream of opening a restaurant. We'd been talking about it for a long time and I thought it was the right timing. Conor has always been there for me, supporting me in my projects and helping me to realize them, taking care of the kids (including every morning when I left the house for the radio at 5:30).

So it's only natural that I should take over to give her the chance to see her project through to the end. It's for this main reason, and the restrictive working hours when you have a family, that I stopped. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to already have social networks on the side, which enabled me to continue working straight away. After that, I'm not saying I'll never do radio again. Let's just say it's an indefinite break (smile).

Has your view of motherhood evolved with each pregnancy?
Of course! Every pregnancy and every child is a learning experience. Above all, you learn to let go and be less in control of everything, all the time. This was especially the case with Leo, because everything was new, then less so with Axel, and I can imagine even less with their little sister.

My view of breastfeeding has also changed a lot. For my first, it was very difficult for me to get over the barrier of breastfeeding in public, so I planned my outings accordingly, whereas for Axel, no matter where I was, if he had to eat, I breastfed him without feeling embarrassed. I've also adapted the way I dress for him, choosing more comfortable and practical clothes! As a result, I'm feeling pretty serene about this third breastfeeding.

Unfortunately, before your current pregnancy you suffered a miscarriage. Can you tell us more about it?
Already, 2 years before the miscarriage, I had an ectopic pregnancy which completely threw me because I didn't really know what it was and even less that it could be fatal for the mother. When my gynecologist told me that this might be it, I naively thought that they could still save my baby. But no, when it's really an ectopic pregnancy, there's no pregnancy, no baby, and you have to react quickly to avoid losing the mother. Once I realized this, it was very, very difficult physically and morally.

Then, last summer, before my miscarriage, I found out about this new pregnancy we'd been hoping for, and I sincerely thought I'd had enough with the ectopic pregnancy and that it was bound to go well. I have to admit I never even imagined it could end badly! And yet, a few weeks later, I miscarried.

Talking about it around me, I realized how many women go through 3, 4, 5, 6 or more miscarriages before having a pregnancy that holds and sometimes ends before term. So I found it very hard to accept this new pregnancy for fear that it would end badly again.

Who did you find support from? How long afterwards did you become pregnant (again)?
My husband Conor, who always has the right words to comfort me and is always there for me. He's always very involved in every pregnancy, success and failure. He tries to live the thing as I do, and that's really important. After the miscarriage, I told myself that I was already lucky enough to have two healthy children and that if nature didn't want to give us a third, there must be a reason.

In the end, I became pregnant naturally immediately after the miscarriage. If it hadn't been for that, I don't think we'd have gone as far as medically assisted reproduction (MAP), but that's a very personal thing.

Have you told the children about your miscarriage?
No, they don't know at all. We'll talk about it one day if they ask me, but I'd like to protect them because they're very emotional, especially Leo. I prefer not to play on their emotions for no real reason.

When and how did you tell them about the arrival of a little sister?
We waited as late as possible, which wasn't easy because I was tired and very emotional. I'd cry at the drop of a hat, whereas usually Conor's the one with the tearful eyes and I'm the family bully (laughs). We told them by showing them an ultrasound scan, but it took them a while to understand (smiles)! They turned it over and over and couldn't make out a baby face. At the same time, as it's a profile view, it's really not easy to understand, even for us.

Once they realized it, they jumped for joy. Leo even more so than Axel, who, as the youngest, is a little afraid of losing his place, as he often tells us.

Do you think there will be any jealousy?
I think the gap is big enough not to. I was more afraid of that when I had Axel than when I had Leo, who was barely 2. And then they were both boys. Now they'll be almost 7 and almost 5 and she's a little girl, so I'm not too worried about that.

How will the arrival of a girl in your tribe change your day-to-day life?
Maybe we'll finally stop talking about Star Wars (laughs). On a more serious note, I think it's going to put everyone back in their place. Everyone's going to take on a different role. The boys are very keen to get involved, so it's going to give them a sense of responsibility. They've already decided who's going to do what... So Axel will change the diapers because Leo doesn't want to, and Leo will give the bottles (smile). And then during the day they're at school, so I'll be alone and dedicated to my daughter, which I'm delighted about too.

When Axel arrived, I had Leo who was barely 2 years old and at home with me all the time apart from a few hours at the crèche. So I really had to manage two babies, whereas now I'll be able to enjoy my baby 100% and then enjoy the boys when they come home from school, so I'm pretty serene about this future family dynamic.

By being independent, are you going to take maternity leave?
I'm going to try and ease off a bit. I'm not going to look back when she's 10 and say "gosh, I should have taken advantage when she was little". So I think I'll put the brakes on, but not for too long, because I'm hyperactive. After that, I don't think the first few months are the hardest because baby sleeps a lot, but it's after that that things get tough (smile).

How do you feel about this pregnancy compared to others?
A phantom pregnancy lived without living it for the first 3-4 months. It's very frustrating and I think I'm going to regret it, but I didn't want to rejoice for fear of another failure. I did force myself, though, telling myself that this was probably my last pregnancy because I wasn't sure we'd have a fourth child, but despite that, I was so upset that it wasn't going to end well that I preferred not to hang on and put some distance between us. Afterwards, it was through feeling baby move that the bond was created and that I finally projected myself.

Physically, how do you feel compared to your first 2 pregnancies?
Vieille (laughs). No, but it's true, I feel like 5 years have passed since my last pregnancy. After that, I'm lucky enough to be able to manage my days and my work schedule. The kids are at school, so it's easier. As much as it pains me to say it, it really is age that makes the difference...

You and Leo had a lot of trouble sleeping. Now that it's finally behind you, do you worry that it might happen again?
Leo and I didn't sleep at all until he was 4, until I stopped playing the radio, in fact. There must have been something about leaving the house in the middle of the night that made him anxious. I left the radio during the school summer vacations, and we put the boys in the same room, which worked out fine. After that, we get along - it's rare that we don't wake up because one of us is thirsty or the other has had a nightmare.

But we've been through so much hell with Leo, waking up 10 times a night in screams and anguish, that we only consider getting up once or twice as a full night (smile). As a result, I'm not too worried about it, because I figure we can't live any worse than that. Being self-employed, I'm also lucky enough not to have to deal with the stress of going back to work after 4 months' maternity leave, and to have everything sorted out for the day I go back to work, whether it's sleeping or breastfeeding. This time, I'm going to take my time and adapt to her own rhythm and needs.

Are you already thinking about future childcare for your daughter?
Yes, because Conor and I both work 100%. I'm lucky to be flexible because I'm independent, but it's not ideal to work at night when everyone else is asleep (smile). Ideally, I'd like to enjoy her as much as possible during her first year and find full-time childcare after that.

Do you think you've found your balance between life as a mom, professional life and life as a woman?
I think I'm letting go of certain hats on a regular basis, and I realize it. First of all, it's always the children, which is normal, then Conor, even if I'd like to give more time to our relationship, and finally work. For my own well-being, for the last few months I've been trying to get up 30 minutes before everyone else to do a bit of meditation and intuitive writing, which does me a world of good.

After that, because of my job, I'm lucky enough to be able to do things for myself. Depending on my contracts, I test cosmetics, beauty products or skincare products. Even though it's for work and I'm in "content creation" mode, I still have moments when I'm looked after, and that's a luxury I'm grateful for and that many moms don't have. I'm really aware of how lucky I am to be able to do a job that I enjoy and that gives me total freedom in terms of my schedule. If I were still working in radio or in a PR agency, this would definitely not be the case.

So, yes, today I've found the right formula for reconciling my personal and professional life, and I feel really lucky.

There have to be some disadvantages to being self-employed, don't you think?
Of course! I've only focused on the positive (smile). You have to realize that when you work on the networks, the boundary between your personal life and your professional life is infinitesimal, if not non-existent. Networking is very time-consuming and non-stop. It's up to me to set the limits. I receive messages all the time and at all hours. There's no break between your work day and when you get home, because you're already home (laughs).

So yes, I love my work, but sometimes it takes up too much space and oppresses me. I wish I could just turn off my phone for a few days and go into digital detox, but it's not really realistic. Finally, when you work on the networks, you're very dependent: on numbers, on other people or even on an algorithm you don't understand!

How can you not forget yourself when you're a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, an entrepreneur, an influencer...?
I started my morning ritual not long ago, but just waking up 30 minutes earlier is really quality time just for me. Because let's face it, once the kids are up, it's dead! You won't have any time for yourself during the day except for the toilet or the shower, and even then (laughs).

I'm also very lucky to have a husband who is very involved in family life. Conor works from home, which makes him flexible, and we divide the tasks equally. We're a good team, but what we need is more time together. Because in the evenings, we're exhausted and even if we'd like to go on a few dates, we're lazy and end up watching Netflix (laughs).

For a #selfcare moment, where do you go, what do you do?
I spend time with my friends! Drinks, karaoke, chilling out on the terrace, whatever gets me out of the house/responsibilities frame of mind. Girlfriends are really important to me. I don't have many, but the ones I do have count for a lot. Otherwise, I like to go back to the Valais, on my own, even for a day, to see my mountains. It's a return to my roots, a kind of pilgrimage that's good for you (smile).

On the occasion of Mother's Day, would you have a message to pass on to all the Mothers (-to be) who read us?
On Mother's Day, I always think of mine, whom I lost at the age of 18. So if you're lucky enough to still have your mom, think of her. It's just as important as spending time with your children. We set a date like that, but it's a day to think about all women, those who are trying to become mothers, those who can't and those who don't want to. We all come from a mother anyway, so I'd say it's important to take time for women on this day.

Valentine, what's the best thing we can wish you today for tomorrow?
For tomorrow? To have finished tidying up everything you see in this room and to have finished the boys' and the little girl's rooms. I feel so lucky and spoiled, I couldn't ask for anything more!