I am not a worrier.
I have never struggled with anxiety.
I typically handle stressful situations really well.
I can stay calm and collected and power through.
But being pregnant during a global pandemic? It’s brought me to my knees and left me crippled with anxiety.
I’ve been brought to tears, thinking about the fact that my mom won’t get to meet her newest grandson (and my only child that will be born in this state) for the unforeseeable future.
I’ve woken up sobbing, thinking about the fact that those that die from the virus do so alone, and their families can’t even hold a proper burial for them. Terrified that someone I know and love will be next.
I had been following the outbreaks in China and Italy long before it was a concern in the United States, and was already starting to worry about what it would be like to give birth through such an event.
Now that it has fully descended upon us here in the United States, it feels as though we’re living in a movie and are going to wake up any second.
However it’s not a movie, it is very much our reality. And it’s scary.
It’s scary for people losing their jobs, for people still required to work, for people who are immune-compromised; and it’s scary for pregnant mamas.
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I Am Scared for My Health
The scariest part about this is that there are so many unknowns. I try to only read reputable news articles and follow the advice of the CDC and WHO.
The problem is that since this is a BRAND NEW virus, there isn’t much evidence. Whether or not pregnant women are high risk is inconclusive, but we’ve been told to act as if we’re immune-compromised.
They don’t *think* that the virus can be transferred to a baby in utero, or through breastmilk, or that it would be life-threatening for a newborn.
But they don’t know for certain. There’s no way to know until enough mamas and babies have contracted the virus that they can do more extensive studies.
I Am Worried About Having Essential Supplies
I breastfed my firstborn and exclusively pumped for my twins.
I have never had any problems with my breastmilk supply.
But this time around, I’m nervous. What if I have supply issues? What if my baby can’t tolerate my breastmilk?
I’ve seen many, many posts from desperate mamas in Facebook groups, saying that they can’t find formula anywhere.
What if this happens to me? What if I can’t find diapers and wipes? I have a few boxes, but I don’t want to buy too many and hoard them from another mama who needs them sooner than I do.
Obviously I can’t stroll through the aisles at Target to pick up what I need. Not only are the shelves hardly stocked, but I’d be putting myself at risk for exposing myself to the virus.
In Your First Trimester? I got you covered! –> First Trimester Essentials
I Am Terrified About Delivering in a Hospital
The hospital that I am delivering at is the only hospital in our state with high risk doctors for pregnancy and delivery.
This means that anyone who has any sort of complications will deliver there.
This includes patients who have tested positive for the virus.
We have also had an influx of people from New York, which has the most outbreaks in the country, relocating to their summer houses here in Rhode Island, and giving birth at our hospitals (this has been confirmed both by my own doctor and the hospital spokesperson).
While I don’t blame them for wanting to escape the city and have a safe delivery experience, it honestly terrifies me that they are potentially bringing the virus here with them and spreading it around our hospitals.
I Am MAD That I’m Being Robbed of This Experience
The earliest memory from my childhood is the day my baby sister was born. I was 4-years old, and we didn’t know if she was going to be a girl or a boy until she was born.
I remember going to J.C. Penney’s with my dad to pick out a going home outfit for her. When we arrived at the hospital, my brother and I took turns exclaiming over how tiny she was. I had wanted a girl and my brother had wanted a boy, so I felt as if I had somehow won.
Since my second pregnancy, I looked forward to this moment, when my son could come to the hospital to meet his twin baby sisters. As many of you know, this wasn’t possible. My water broke just before 30 weeks and I was on hospitalized bed rest; my twins, Josie and Margo, were born 2 weeks later, 8 weeks prematurely (you can read my entire twin birth story <– here)
They were immediately taken away from me and rushed to the NICU. Children weren’t allowed in the NICU and so the image in my head of Theo getting to meet his baby sisters in the hospital was dashed.
While my pregnancy and delivery were FAR from ideal, the most important thing is that our girls are healthy and happy.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t harbor feelings of sadness that my last pregnancy and delivery didn’t end up as a positive experience.
One of the first thoughts that entered my head when we found out we were expecting baby number 4 was the fact that this was my redo. This was my chance to rewrite my story regarding labor and delivery and my era of having babies would come to an end with an ending I wanted.
And I am missing out on that moment.
I will be delivering wearing a mask. Nobody, including my children, will be allowed to visit me in the hospital.
Nobody will get to come visit us at home after we’ve had the baby.
And yet I am still grateful…
I Am Grateful
Yes, I’m scared, anxious, mad, sad, and all of the above.
But I’m also incredibly, incredibly grateful.
I’ve seen posts from women who are having their fertility treatments temporarily postponed and I think… how DARE I complain that I’m not getting the birth experience that I wanted.
I’ve seen people lose their jobs and shut down their businesses and I think… how DARE I complain about not being able to get baby supplies fast enough when the reality is that so many people literally cannot afford essential supplies right now.
My family is incredibly privileged to have the ability to stay home. My husband is working from home, my children are participating in distance learning, and aside from the occasional grocery outing, we can stay healthy and safe, in our little bubble.
So, while I will mourn the loss of the beautiful birth story that I was looking forward to, I have to keep things in perspective.
So, pregnant friends… let’s face the facts.
It’s scary times, and it’s OK to be anxious and frightened.
It’s OK to cry and scream and yell (Lord knows I have), but then… we’ve gotta take a big breath and press forward.
Feel all the feels and then move on.
It’s OK to feel sad that we are facing the newborn phase without our moms and sisters to help us, without our friends to drop meals of for us, without our mom groups to meet with for support.
And most importantly, we need to talk to our doctors and hospitals to understand the precautions that the hospitals are taking to ensure our safety.
I know that in doing that, in hearing the facts, a lot of my fears were calmed.
How To Cope With Pregnancy During the Pandemic: Tips for Expectant Moms
Bring a List of Questions for Your Doctor
I ask my doctor at every single appointment what the hospital is doing to keep me safe and what the policy changes are.
Hearing that there are procedures put in place to keep me safe during my delivery brings me peace of mind.
Stay off the News
I read or listen to the news one time a day, and it’s the press release from my state’s governor. Other than that, I don’t let myself click on the clickbait titles that are fear-mongering and not from reliable news sources.
Have a Virtual Baby Shower or Meet and Greet
All babies deserve to be celebrated, and it’s especially sad if this is your first baby and you can’t celebrate in person with your loved ones.
Remind yourself that you are staying safe, and that is the most important thing, ever!
Consider having a virtual celebration. While it won’t be the same, it’s important to still celebrate in any way you can.
Invest in a Tripod to Take Your Own Pictures
I have this tripod for my cellphone. It has a small remote control clicker and I plan on bringing it to the hospital so that I can get a picture of us with our newborn.
I also will use it to get pictures of our whole family when we get home.
Will it replace newborn photos? Absolutely. Not.
BUT it is 100% better than not having any pictures of our family with the baby at all.
Stock Up on Essentials
I stocked up on diapers and wipes (note: I have stocked up but am NOT hoarding!!) from the Target drive up option.
I also plan to take whatever I can from the hospital (and sanitize upon arriving home). I will ask for diapers, wipes, formula, etc.
I make myself get outside every day, despite the weather. Taking a walk around the block, or sitting on my porch with a book and a cup of coffee improves my mood every time.
We got this. Here’s to having a baby during a global pandemic. Here’s to writing a part of history. We got this, mamas.