This month, we’re celebrating our third annual Five Fascinating Moms feature in Pregnancy & Newborn. The common thread of motherhood connects them—and us—on our journeys through pregnancy and parenthood. As you read the stories of these remarkable moms, it is our hope that you will not feel inconsequential or underachieving but rather supported by a community of strong and beautiful women, like yourself, and empowered to be the best mom you can be.
Meet Claude Monique Viard.
Residence: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Pediatric behavioral therapist
Children: Elisane (10 months)
Favorite item in her closet: A colorblock vintage dress with a peekaboo back
First thing she does in the morning: Pushes the snooze button
Strangest pregnancy craving: Citrus everything
Claude Monique Viard, who goes by Monique, prides herself on being a native New Yorker. And as one might expect from a city gal, the pediatric behavioral therapist has standout style. “My style is definitely urban, mostly casual, lots of vintage and sometimes classic,” she says. And it stayed that way through-out her pregnancy last year. “It really made me feel like myself to keep up with dressing well. … I knew I wanted to be comfortable but still look cute, so I often wore leggings—but with a really nice button down blouse and nice boots or shoes.”
Now that her daughter is here, Viard admits, “My style is more basic than it once was. And whenever I’m with my daughter, I make sure I have on a button down top or a sweater with a tank underneath, so I can easily and comfortably breastfeed.” Without much time to plan and style new outfits like she once did (her co-workers used to joke that she never wore the same thing twice), she’s more comfortable with repetition. “I don’t mind repeating a good solid outfit,” she says. Before her daughter was born, Viard promised herself she wouldn’t allow herself to “look like a hot mess regardless of how crazy life got.” Happily, it’s a promise she’s been able to keep.
Of course, dressing her daughter has been a great pleasure as well. “I didn’t find out her gender before she was born, so while I was pregnant, I didn’t envision outfits for her. Now that she’s here, it’s important for me to put her in colors that complement her skin tone—dark teal, turquoise, seafoam green and aqua are my favorites on her.” Her daughter’s wardrobe also includes a mod star print dress from a consignment store and a pair of hand-me-down dark skinny jeans that Viard adores.
While Viard puts effort into what she wears and how she looks, she’s careful not to get hung up on the body issues many mothers face postpartum. “There’s so much a new mom has to learn very quickly, and fighting one’s body image or obsessing about it can’t be a priority,” she says. “I’m amazed by my body and its ability to perform the way it has this last year. … Bringing forth new life and continuing to sustain her with milk, I no longer see my body as broken or irregular. I now see my body as incredibly powerful.”
Although Viard didn’t have a vision of what motherhood would be like before she welcomed her firstborn into the world, she says she feels like she’s part of an even broader tribe for having given birth and taken on this new identity. “There are many, many diverse families in New York,” she says. “My daughter is a second-generation native New Yorker, born to a Haitian-American mom and dad with French and Jewish heritage. … I want her to look back on her childhood with clarity and remember that the world she was first introduced to was a big one.”
(Photo courtesy of Claude Monique Viard.)