Pregnancy is a unique experience in and of itself. Your body goes through a myriad of changes, typically starting with some not-so-pleasant things such as morning sickness, headaches, breast soreness etc. Then you get to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, start seeing your belly grow in size, feel the flutter of those precious first kicks and the excitement of bringing new life into the world is enough to bring you to tears…well maybe that’s the hormones raging, but tomato, tomatoe, right?! When you add a global pandemic to the mix the whole pregnancy game turns into an uncharted labyrinth that causes those hormones to take an even deeper plunge down the rollercoaster.
My husband and I found out in early April that we are due with our second child. Technically this baby is a “COVID-19” baby, though she was planned prior. At the beginning of 2020, my husband and I had everything planned out. Our son would hit two in June, we’d have just returned from our family vacation to Mexico and we’d hopefully start looking for a new house sometime before the baby arrived. Fast-forward to March and things started looking a little hairy.
Mid-March, despite being wary of the pandemic starting to take hold in other parts of the world, my family decided we’d go ahead and take our trip to Mexico and keep to ourselves as much as possible. We committed to watch the news daily and keep up with the constantly changing information. We stayed for just six days, but as you all know, the virus showed no mercy and spread quickly in that short period of time. The last day we were so concerned POTUS would stop air traffic from entering the U.S. from Mexico that we almost changed our flights, but decided the effort was futile since we were almost within 24 hours of all departures. So instead we wore our masks, washed our hands, wiped down all plane surfaces and proceeded to self-quarantine upon return and I don’t think a single one of us had ever been happier to return safely to U.S. soil and make it home.
Though the home we returned to was nothing like the one we left. Most friends and family were self-quarantining until further notice and soon after our return, San Antonio was placed under shelter and place. We did everything to keep ourselves busy, and were beyond grateful for nice weather—especially with a busy toddler. Other than feeling the weight of no face-to-face social interaction we were able to efficiently pass the time…we found out about baby number two just over a month after our return home.
Without thinking much about what pregnancy during a pandemic might look like, we were elated for a second pregnancy and prayed daily for the baby to be strong and healthy. I set up my first doctor’s appointment to confirm the result and was excited just to get to see our little bean growing. My husband was able to join me for the first appointment but we both had to be screened before entering the office and masks were required. My doctor passed along all the information regarding COVID-19 precautions and informed me it would most likely get worse before it got better (though I was convinced this would all be over before baby arrived).
It wasn’t until my third appointment that the sadness of the situation hit me. My husband would be able to join me once more for the 20 week sonogram, but otherwise I was going through this process alone. Spread out in the waiting room, alone for each appointment, waiting solo to be examined…pregnancy during a pandemic started to feel quite isolating. We shared with family and friends as we spoke to/saw them from a distance, but the normally super-exciting news felt less enthralling with smiles hidden behind screens or masks, and warm bear hugs turned into air hugs at least six feet apart. I even began to miss strangers stopping to touch my belly and give me unsolicited advice in the grocery store.
Pregnancy during a pandemic means a lot of togetherness as a family (something I now acknowledge I will greatly miss) which meant my poor husband had to deal with ALL my complaining since I didn’t get to vent to my fellow pregnant mamas or spend as much time away from the house. I (and I’m sure my husband) was thrilled once my church small group started meeting for distanced meetings in front yards and once my mama workout group could gather again, but it still wasn’t the same. Even being around people felt isolating since nothing had gone back to normal.
As we near the end of this pregnancy journey (only seven weeks to go) I’m trying hard to embrace this season, as strange as it is, because I know I’ll miss it. As I see other pregnant mamas in the grocery store or at the park I nod and hope they know I see them, and even though I might not know them, we are connected. We are weathering this storm together while apart. You are strong, mama. Despite all the madness that comes with being pregnant during this pandemic, you are rocking it. Give yourself grace as we all acknowledge that nothing about this is normal. You are seen, you are known and we will make it through this stronger than ever!