When my husband and I found out that we were expecting last October, we were so excited. I not only started envisioning our life with a new little human, but I also started to plan and look forward to the next few months -- baby showers, visits from friends and family and the hospital, play dates, maternity leave. It was all so new and I was ready to take it head-on! Then a global pandemic became our new reality and things quickly changed.
However, it didn't really hit me until I was sitting in my doctor's office (without my husband) for a routine checkup and I was told to be prepared to labor and deliver alone. I was a mess. This was supposed to be such an exciting season for us and almost instantly, things came crumbling down. My baby showers were cancelled (spoiler: a lovely friend threw me a very special digital shower!), we found out no visitors would be allowed at the hospital, and my dreams of play dates and a maternity leave surrounded by friends came to a sudden halt. It has been a really challenging season for us; however, it has also been sprinkled with unimaginable joys.
So, while I'm still in physical distancing mode and currently abiding by the mask ordinance our city has set for the next 90 days, here are a few reminders (for all of us!):
- No one has done this before. Unfortunately, there isn't a handbook to get through this. There will be days that are more difficult than others and days when you feel like you can conquer the world and get stuff done. Lean into both -- there isn't a wrong or a right way to do this. Take each day as it comes and start again each morning. If you know other mamas, encourage them. If you're needing encouragement, reach out. Just because no one has done this before doesn't mean we can't be in it together.
- This won't last forever. When my son was born, one of my mantras when the pain became too much was "This is one day of my life. I can do hard things." I knew that at the end of labor, I would be meeting a beautiful baby boy. And when I saw him, it was all worth it! One of the things that's been so hard about this global pandemic is that there seems to be no end in sight. While we don't have a day on the calendar where we know things will return to "normal" -- this isn't forever.
- Be gentle with yourself. If you don't feel like yourself, you're in good company. A little bit of gentleness with yourself (and with others) will go a long way. Yesterday, I had my to-do list but the day didn't turn out as planned. "Wash, fold and put away laundry" was on my long list of things I wanted to accomplish, but the baby was fussier than usual. By 7pm, I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. I looked at the large pile of laundry in the laundry basket waiting for me on my bed and my husband, knowing that I would do anything to check it off my list, kindly said, "It will be there tomorrow. Just get some rest." So take this as your reminder -- be gentle with yourself. Worries and chores will wait for you. :)