When I planned for baby number 2, I definitely didn’t expect to be pregnant during a pandemic. It’s been a trying experience, to say the least.
In November 2019, I received the most exciting news, on my birthday nonetheless: I was pregnant! After trying for a little over a month, it was time to begin our new pregnancy journey.
Like many, I had big plans for this pregnancy. Being a mom of a toddler already, I pretty much knew what I’d do differently and what to expect – or so I thought.
Sadly, the world had other plans for us. In March 2020, at 4 months pregnant, COVID-19 devastated our country. It was hard to believe that a virus so deadly, so contagious was now the main focus of our lives.
Not the pregnancy we'd been so excited about. Or the fun things we planned for our toddler before the baby came. Not the babymoon or the momcation.
A pandemic was happening and everyone instantly forgot about the pregnant mamas. This isn’t an exaggeration. Numerous times, my adult conversations centered around the virus and I was no longer asked about the human I was carrying in my womb.
Listen, I get it. I’m with my second child. It’s not as exciting (for others) as the first baby. Plus, there are more pressing issues to worry about right now: losing loved ones, stocking up on quarantine essentials, unemployment.
I’m not insensitive or blind to the devastation COVID has caused. In fact, I’m over 9 months pregnant and haven’t left my house in 5 months.
I don’t visit grocery stores or go on vacations. I’ve done 3 things outside of my home since the virus took over: went to doctor’s appointments, walked in our local park, and did a social-distancing maternity shoot with our family photographer. I wear a mask when my husband drives us through a drive-thru. I have everything delivered to my front door… contact-free. To add, I haven’t visited family or even allowed visitors since March 1st.
Basically, I’m as cautious as I can be during this strange time. This brings me to my feelings about being pregnant during a pandemic.
What you may not know about being pregnant during a pandemic
There are just some things others don’t think about in regards to us pregnant pandemic mamas. Maybe it's because it's new to us all or maybe it's because mamas are afraid to express themselves.
Either way, I’d like to share my feelings and story as a pure source of comfort for those mamas struggling just like me. Whether you're in the midst of it all or you're wanting to understand how a pregnant mother feels.
1. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of catching the virus.
It wasn’t until recently, it was announced that pregnant women are amongst the high risk during this pandemic. This came at no surprise to me. In fact, as I mentioned above, I was already living as if I was at a higher risk because I know pregnancy weakens your immune system.
Plus, I expected to have Gestational Diabetes again, which increases my risk even more.
2. Doctor's appointments are just weird!
As if pregnancy isnt scary enough, you have an additional discomfort and fear when going to your appointments.
Am I social distancing correctly? Is my mask on right? Did I touch something I shouldn’t have? How do I stay away from people in a waiting room? Is it okay for this ultrasound tech to be touching me?
Even signing consent forms or paying a copay becomes a strange and uncomfortable thing. The worst part – pregnant women have A LOT of doctor's appointments! Especially if you happen to be high risk, like me.
3. There's an unknown affect on pregnant women & newborns
With this particular virus, the affect on pregnant women and newborns is still pretty much unknown. Since this is new to everyone, there aren’t enough studies to show how it could affect pregnancy, child birth, or a new baby.
So… that’s fun to overthink about.
4. We feel completely forgotten.
Understandably, everyone is thinking about themselves during a pandemic. It’s a constant stressor to be stocked on essentials, follow CDC guidelines, and worry about safety 24/7.
All of these things leave little room for people to think of us pregnant mamas. I felt alone during my first pregnancy and even forgotten at times, but this is different.
Not only have I had people outright FORGET that I’m pregnant, they’ve also made me feel like an after thought.
It’s hard to feel like this life I'm growing inside of me isn’t something my friends and family think of very often. I’m rarely asked about how I’m coping with COVID and pregnancy. My feelings don’t seem to be at the front of anyone’s mind.
Aside from a few dear friends, nobody asks for my ultrasound photos or to see my baby bump. They don’t ask how I’m doing emotionally or mentally.
It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that I’m not a focus when the state of our country is so uncertain.
I’m not mad or placing blame on any particular person — it’s just a fact that pregnant women are put on the back burner right now.
And it’s incredibly lonely.
5. It feels insensitive to share good news.
To say that I don't think twice before posting anything personal on social media would be a lie. I ask myself, “Is this something anyone really wants to see right now? Is it wrong to express happy things when everything else is just so… depressing?”
I'm sure I'm not the only pregnant woman who feels this internal conflict right now.
6. Detachment is real.
I’ve found myself completely detaching from many people, places, and things because of the pandemic. In order to protect my mental health during pregnancy, I’ve felt the need to just completely pull away from things that I once loved dearly.
My blog. My circle of friends. Hobbies. Social Media. My inner voice. My true emotions.
All of these things that bring joy to my life, I've found myself detaching from. This is my coping mechanism during pregnancy and a pandemic. I'm afraid if I allow myself to feel all of the things or get too close, I will have a complete mental breakdown.
7. We're missing out on once-in-a-lifetime moments.
I think we’ve all felt as if we’ve missed out on things during the COVID-19 pandemic. From cancelled vacations to missed birthday parties, it’s been disappointing to say the least.
However, for me, there’s nothing more gut wrenching during this pregnancy than knowing my son will not meet his brother in the hospital. Every mother dreams of the day when her first born sees their sibling for the first time. I pictured the moment so vividly before COVID was a concern.
Sadly, this once in a lifetime moment has been stolen from me. Honestly, I bawl just thinking about it.
Along with this, there are mothers who have had to give birth alone because certain hospitals have banned all visitors. That's a huge missed moment for moms and dads.
8. Can't enjoy pregnancy with friends and family.
Likewise, my heart aches knowing I haven’t been able to share this pregnancy with friends and family.
I truly looked forward to seeing my grandmother’s face every couple of months when we planned to visit her. She loved watching my belly grow with my first child. She used to touch my belly and reminisce on the 3 boys she had carried in her younger years.
These missed moments with family and friends during pregnancy are something others may not think about. However, I cherished them. I cry thinking that my mother-in-law doesn't have the joy of talking to my belly like she did with the first.
No girl's days, no family time, no human connection during pregnancy. Who will I even be after this?
9. Constant worry of contracting virus.
There’s a constant fear that goes along with being pregnant when a deadly virus is floating around. As my due date nears closer, my anxiety is heightened.
What if I have COVID when I’m in labor? What if my husband has it and can’t be in the delivery room with me? Will I be able to hold my son if I catch this virus?
Mother Nature isn’t going to stop and wait for me to feel better. I’m going to give birth whether I’m sick or not. I’ve been as careful as possible but WHAT IF…
Then, there’s the fear of being in the hospital in the first place. What if I’m fine but a patient or nurse passes the virus along to me and my baby? Logically thinking, a hospital for women and babies would/should be a very safe place… right?
10. We can't run into a store for quick essentials.
One thing I’ve absolutely hated during this outbreak is not being able to just run to the store to pick up essentials or medication.
As previously mentioned, I haven’t stepped foot in a store since this all began. So, if I want or need something, I have to rely on my husband or Instacart delivery.
If it’s 2am and my husband is working… I have to live without it.
11. We don't get a real baby shower.
It's a petty thing that has crossed my mind a time or two. I didn't expect to have a baby shower with my first and definitely not with my second but I know certain loved ones who were looking forward to planning one for us.
While many mothers are turning to virtual baby showers, it's still another disappointment for pregnant women during a pandemic.
12. We can't shop for baby items in stores.
A fond memory I had with my first pregnancy was shopping in baby stores. There’s something so special and personal about touching and feeling baby things before buying them. In fact, I believed these shopping trips to be a bonding time for my husband and I. It’s a time when you can dream, together, of the new life ahead of you.
Aside from the emotions attached to these trips, I find it much more successful to buy big items in a store as opposed to online. Had we not tested our strollers in the store, we wouldn’t have made such a big investment. There are just some things you need to see and try before you buy.
It’s not safe to do this at all during a pandemic. You can’t enter a building without fear of being exposed, much less touch things.
This is just another moment robbed from pregnant mamas.
13. No emotional support at important appointments.
This has been a very difficult pregnancy. Emotionally and physically. That’s a story I’ll share later, but when you’re experiencing health risks and going to important doctors visits, it’s nice to have a support person by your side.
I've sat alone in waiting rooms while literally shaking with uncertainty because of a scary test result. I’ve held my breath during ultrasounds, behind a mask, because I didn’t know if my baby was okay. The difficult questions, long-awaited answers, and important results were all left for me to handle by myself.
In the most vulnerable time in our lives, women are left to fend for themselves. If an immediate decision needs to be made, we can't look at our partner for reassurance.
In addition to the scary parts, we don't get to share the exciting moments with our partners or support people. From first-looks to gender reveals to listening to that sweet heartbeat, we're experiencing these things by ourselves.
Unsure, afraid, and alone – that’s how it feels to be pregnant during a pandemic.
If you're a first time mama looking for some help during your pregnancy, I'd love to recommend the following articles to you:
- 30 Most Used Baby Items in the First Year
- How to Safely Handle Grief During Pregnancy
- Third Trimester Blues: Pregnancy, Lonely, and In Pain
- 10 Safe Exercises During Pregnancy
- How To Choose a Breast Pump + Tips to Pump Successfully
- What to Expect in the 1st Week of Pregnancy
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth: A Complete Guide
- 30 Unfiltered Thoughts Immediately After Giving Birth
- 25 Unfiltered Thoughts I had During Labor & Delivery
- My Painful Failed Epidural Experience
- My Struggle with Gestational Diabetes
- The Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Problems
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