Real moms share the hard and amazing of having a pandemic baby

by Dr. Sarah Lavanier 

They say that having a baby changes everything, and most new moms would agree. A new routine, a shift in family dynamics, less sleep, more worry, less time for yourself, new joys, and not to mention having a whole new living and breathing human to care for taking care of and keep safe.  Whew!

Take that and smack it in the middle of a global pandemic, and it’s no wonder you might be feeling on edge

To the women who have started their motherhood journey during this time, I am in awe of you. While we’ve all been struggling through different stressors recently, you have been going through one of the biggest changes of your life!

I decided to reach out to people who have become moms over this part year to learn more about both their struggles and their joys.

I was immediately struck by the overwhelming response.  These are busy mamas in the trenches of the postpartum world, but they were eager to share their experiences with us!

Here is what these in-the-trenches experts had to share:

The struggle is real. 

This time has been lonely.

  • The only one at doctor appointments and ultrasounds. Partner and siblings missing out on getting to see the baby or hear the heartbeat.
  • Only one support person for the delivery and visiting at the hospital. No siblings or grandparents could visit.
  • Wearing masks during delivery.  Grief around what you wanted this to look like.

I’ve been full of anxiety. 

  • Germs, germs, and more germs. Not just typical germs, but a virus that was causing serious harm and death to some!  So many unknowns about what COVID would do to a pregnant woman or newborn babies.  Limiting visitors and worry about who could visit safely.  Are we being too cautious or are we being too risky?
  • So many “what ifs”? What if no one can be there for the birth?  What if something goes wrong and no one can be there for me through it?  What if our baby gets COVID?
  • Will my baby be “normal”? Noticing increased attachment to mom.  Has not seen many faces.  “No one has touched or held our baby in months!”

I’ve felt like I have no support system. 

  • “Many people didn’t even know I was pregnant, since we had been isolated for so long.”
  • No baby showers, no watching the baby bump change, no bonding with other moms about the upcoming birth or with other pregnant women in the community.
  • Less big celebrations of the baby’s birth. No family coming to town.  Some grandparents not being able to meet the baby for months.
  • Limited “first time mom help”. No one coming over to fix a meal or give mom a rest.  No hugs or shoulders to cry on.  Screens and phones are just not the same!  Need human connection.

Finding light in the darkness.

I’ve had special opportunity to bond and a more peaceful recovery. 

  • Did not have to plan for visitors
  • Could just focus on being parents and figuring out this new little family member
  • Less plans/obligations to work around.

I’ve gotten more intimate family time.

  • Parents working from home and siblings doing online school has meant more time together.
  • Both parents were able to witness babies milestones.

This new child has given me strength and hope. 

  • “I know that together, our family unit can conquer anything”
  • “My faith really strengthened. I really learned to trust God more than ever and it was a beautiful thing”
  • “His arrival was the greatest gift, and we can’t wait to tell him the story of his arrival as he gets older”
  • “It was definitely a different experience this time around but oddly enough, one of the most beautiful journeys to bring him home”.
  • “Bringing her into the world was a positive light when it was such a tragic time around the world”

This could never capture the range of experiences faced by new mothers, but I hope it highlights some of the themes that have emerged over the last year. I want to thank all these amazing mamas for sharing their stories of struggle and hope with us.

Do me a favor, please reach out to a mom you know today.  Let them tell their story, listen, and love them through it.

Dr. Lavanier is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in women’s mental health, eating disorders, body image, grief, faith connection, anxiety, and depression. She helps women develop self-compassion and empowerment on their journeys.

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