After years of infertility, welcoming our first son through adoption, and our second by IVF, the last thing I expected last December was a positive pregnancy test. After zero medical interventions. We were shocked and thrilled to be pregnant and welcome a third child in August 2020.
Little did I know, 2020 had even more surprises in store for us.
When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March and shut everything down, I was glad I still had five months to prepare. I naively hoped it would be over or at least better controlled by the time I delivered in August.
The New Normal
My first appointment after clinics changed protocol due to Covid brought many anxieties. I sat in my car instead of the waiting room, wore a mask into the clinic, and sat through our 20 week ultrasound without my husband by my side. By now, at 36 weeks, it almost feels normal. But every week that passes brings the reality of delivering during a pandemic closer and closer.
There are no books on this subject. No blogs. No advice from mothers who have been through this. No guidelines or set rules. There is even little research on Covid and the effects on pregnancy, delivery, and infants.
All I know is the number of Covid cases continues to rapidly rise. My husband and I knew we had to have a serious conversation on what the weeks leading up to and after delivery would look like for our family. At our hospital, every woman who comes in to deliver is tested for Covid, and if tested positive, the baby may be separated from mom. Therefore, besides my husband’s job as an essential worker, we decided to go into a strict quarantine by 34 weeks. We will also limit visitors after her birth and sent guidelines to our family of what our expectations are for visiting.
Add a Pandemic to the List
Blame the hormones or the added stress, but I have spent many days crying over being pregnant during a pandemic and the decisions that come with it. I’ve cried at the thought of being separated from my baby. Cried that no one can visit us in the hospital. Cried that no one may meet our daughter for months. Cried that I will be caring for my body, mental health, and three children 3 and under by myself once my husband’s paternity leave ends.
Here’s the reality, though. What can’t women do?
Is there anything we haven’t proven we’re capable of overcoming? Some women go through years of infertility, shots, meds, and procedures just to try to get pregnant. Women carry children for nine months. Our bodies change and stretch and ache. We labor for hours, deliver babies, and no matter the exhaustion we feel, we instantly take on the role of motherhood. We care for babies day and night. We balance work and family, or we take on the equally exhaustive role as stay-at-home moms. We put our needs aside to make sure our children’s needs are met first. We feel the weight of every decision we make as our babies become little humans. And just when we think we can’t handle any more stress, we go to bed, wake up, and take on yet another day full of the joys, chaos, and pressures of motherhood.
So we add a pandemic to the list. It’s not ideal, but it’s just another hurdle for mothers to overcome and prove our strength and resiliency. So cry when you need, make the extra preparations, wear your mask, set your personal guidelines for social distancing and visits, and know you are not alone. We have and will continue to overcome anything thrown at us because, simply put, we are mothers. What can’t we do?
Betsy is a stay at home mom to two handsome, energetic boys, and her family is adding a little girl to their beautiful chaos in August. Most days are spent chasing after little boys, reading books, and playing superheroes, but she loves spending any extra time she can painting, cooking, writing, listening to music, or being outside. After years of infertility and now as an adoptive mom, Betsy loves connecting with, supporting, and advocating for those on their own personal journey with infertility or adoption. Follow her family’s story and connect with her on Instagram @betsydearnoone.