A PANDEMIC PREGNANCY

I have been tossing around the idea of writing this for a few weeks. As Covid-19 continues to affect the world we live in and my pregnancy, I thought it might be healing for me to share my experience. Selfishly, I hope it is healing to myself but hopefully these words will ring true for other future mamas who are pregnant during these unprecedented times.

It is currently May and I am just over two weeks away from my due date. We are hoping baby boy makes his arrival sooner than later. We can’t wait to meet him, and this last part of pregnancy is hard. Pregnancy is a gift. I try to remember that daily in order to keep myself grounded as my feet swell, my back feels like knives are stabbing me, my body looks foreign to me, and all the other crazy symptoms that come with growing a human life. I know so many women who are struggling to conceive and would do anything to have those pregnancy symptoms. So I tell myself, pregnancy is a gift and it truly is. Every time I feel that squirming in my tummy, or the kick to my ribs I know that this little boy will change everything for me. I know he will be my greatest blessing and I cannot wait to experience that kind of love. For that I feel so lucky. I can’t wait to watch my husband become a father and guide our son to become a wonderful man hopefully with a sweet heart like his dad. My heart feels like it might explode just thinking about it. Cue the pandemic.

This pandemic has made things tremendously different from how I pictured my first pregnancy. Jake cannot come to doctors visits and so I listen to the babies heartbeat alone. He sometimes tries to facetime but the hospital has really bad reception and so he ends up getting a quarter of the information from the appointment. I reassure him through text, our son is healthy and mama is good. Everything is on track. I am constantly trying to balance daily activities and my job in terms of the risk to me and the baby. Does it make sense to show my clients a house? They are demanding I be there in person. Will I regret that choice? Can I still see friends or family 6 ft apart outside while we all wear masks? I haven’t had the experience of people rubbing my belly because as soon as I started to actually look pregnant the pandemic started. Even though I love my personal space, I sometimes crave that love for both me and my baby. Some of my closest friends and family have only been able to see my belly bump in pictures as they cannot come around. All my grandma ever wanted was for me to get pregnant with a great grand baby for her, and she can’t even be here to watch me and baby J grow.

I won’t have a baby shower that is typical. I had a virtual one which was extremely sweet and we canceled the in person one we were going to have here in Colorado. We have still been given so many sweet gifts and for that we are eternally grateful. I grieve not being able to celebrate in person with my family and friends, taking the belly pictures together and chatting about what this little boy will be like face to face.

We won’t be taking any in person parenthood or labor classes which is a bit scary. This is our first, how will we be good parents if we don’t get the proper training? Can Youtube really teach me what I need to know? I am hoping so. We are so blessed to have many mamas and dad’s in our lives ready to teach us what we don’t know and teach us to give ourselves grace when we fall short. At this point, it will take a village, even if that village is virtual for the time being.

I will have to wear a mask in the delivery room until I can’t breathe with it anymore. Jake will have to wear one the entire time we are in the hospital. On entry I will be tested for Covid-19, if positive they will push me to sign a waiver for them to take my baby from me immediately. No friends or family will be able to see us in the hospital and once we are there we can’t leave to get food or anything else. Chances are most people we love will not even be able to hold our baby for many months. We are trying to make decisions for the health of our baby while trying to strike a balance of decisions that can also give us a small amount of the normal experience of bringing a child into this world. It is a tough place to be in. We don’t want to risk the health of our baby but feel memories are being stolen from us left and right. We have to ask grandparents, most likely the only people who will meet and touch our baby right away, to give up 2+ weeks of their lives in quarantine in an effort to keep our child safe. If they can’t, then we have to tell them they won’t be meeting their newest grandson. Absolutely heartbreaking.

I have been told be grateful. Be grateful for the silver lining of all this time with your husband, that the pandemic didn’t start sooner etc. I am here to tell you, I am so grateful. I am so grateful for all that we HAVE gotten to experience. The fact that Jake can be there with me in the delivery room, for the health of our family and friends, and for all the special time Jake and I have gotten together before this baby gets here. For the love and support from near and far and for a healthy pregnancy. I am so eternally grateful for that.

And so, as pregnancy comes to an end and we get ready to welcome our sweet boy into a time in the world where things are so uncertain, we live in the balance of grief for the things we didn’t get to experience and gratefulness for all the other things.

At the end of the day, we are blessed and there is no denying that. I have had a relatively healthy and easy pregnancy. Our little man has grown exactly how he should, and we have still been loved on, at a safe distance, from the people in our lives. So, maybe Covid-19 will continue to affect our lives for however long or maybe it will go away as quickly as it showed up. Either way, my joy will not be stolen. Things may look a little different than “typical” but I know God has a plan, and it is a plan better than any plans I could have made on my own.

With love,

JJ

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