A part of me still wants to fix and redo 2020 and does not wish to bid adieu until then. I want to go back and enjoy the birth of my baby a little more like the way we had planned and blow some maskless blessings on him. Mom life coupled with this pandemic is a wild ride without seat belts and if you are postpartum, you're on the tallest roller coaster.
The blessings of 2020 outweigh every darkness slammed onto our lives. I am and will always be grateful for 2020 for adding more love and warmth to our home! But that doesn't change what I went through as a new mom myself!
The day we were stormed into this pandemic, when the clouds were slowly coming over and I was 33-34 weeks (March 2020), I sobbed. The uncertainty and newness of this virus had led to worries of falling ill instead of birth. Pregnant women fall under the high-risk group and so do the newborns.
I can never forget the room my second baby was born in when so many health professionals came together and held us in strength and power while masking their fears and ours. I cannot forget how ‘normal’ the nurses and doctors made our lives in that room as we all marched into the conundrum of this pandemic, the famous lockdown of April 2020. I pray for them and their families and my heart is filled with gratitude.
What I didn't see in the newness of this pandemic was what would come after birth- a postpartum life in isolation of the quarantine that we kept ourselves in. We quarantined ourselves and counted days after days.
The days in quarantine with a newborn were long and so were nights. Days went by like a boomerang of chores. But we held ourselves strong and despite seeing more than 365 sunrises to the same world crisis, we continued to plow through this postpartum. This perseverance now sits under my skin and the scare we experienced at the onset of this pandemic is etched in my memories forever.
Once you have braved this, you cannot go back. 2020 has made me into a mom I never knew I had in me! The birth, the toddler and the new baby at home, no parks, no school, no friends, I have evolved into a ‘pandemic mom’. I am the same Mom that I was to my firstborn plus I am the park, also the school, and also the friend. And I have blended into all these roles so well, that it is a norm.
The year 2020 that was despicable to many and rightfully so, is also the year when our little bud was born. The year of his birth, no matter how scurvy it is for the world, will always be special to me. It's the year of my little baby’s birth, the year of blessing, and the year when I felt His presence upon us. The universe held us all together and strengthened our spirits. We dwelled in the uncertainties but found our little spark of joy!
And not just me, I’m sure there are many moms like me who gave birth this year and many who married this year. So while we are united in the turmoil of the virus, our stories are written differently and narrated differently.
Never in my wildest nightmares had I thought that penning my postpartum journey will be so hard. I have struggled to write, and I have re-written, re-structured, and re-framed my sentences. Because I want to reflect the true version of how this really looks like on the inside. I don’t want to exaggerate the true postpartum of this crazy time and I don’t want to undermine the tornadoes that I have been through.
Birth in pandemic itself challenged me, empowered me, and transformed me forever. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel blessed holding my baby in my arms. He will forever be my silver lining, my hope for the future, and proof of my deeply rooted strength. He is the proof, that 2020 has been the year of resilience, strength and miracles all at the same time.
It's the year when I learned so much about myself, the strength that I never knew existed in me, the desperate want to protect my loved ones, the love that I hold in my heart for my babies and the shield that I can become to keep them safe. The isolation of postpartum in pandemic stems from there.
In lieu of meeting people, going to support groups, teaming with other new mommies, and just having family and friends over, we lock ourselves down to keep the new baby safe. In the times where everyone has curbed their social circles, new moms are stuck in an even smaller circle. We shut the doors and have zero desire to go anywhere because it is just easier to avoid public places than to do these 1000 ‘new normal’ things.
Postpartum in COVID times is about healing all alone. It is about braving the storms in a constant hope that you or your newborn don’t need any Doctor’s visits. It is about dragging your sleepless self out of the bed knowing nothing has changed in the world. It is about restricted community walks with a newborn and crossing paths with people who won’t care a damn about distancing from newborn babies, pandemic or not.
I still felt very privileged that this was my second baby and second postpartum and I had what many don’t- experience. I consciously distracted myself from feelings that scared me. I knew how steep the slope is and I knew how quickly we can topple down. It always made me think of first-time moms. How are they coping? Amidst loneliness, healing, and baby demands, there is no snapping out for a moment. We are constantly working hard against all the odds of the world crisis.
My only anchor was my toddler. I look up to him to learn the ways of life, of letting go of the outside, and embracing what we have inside. He doesn’t care a bit about what's happening on the outside. It has been surprisingly easy to make him understand the new normal, and he gets it without fighting it. That’s the resilience I want to grow into.
He picked me up from the floor piece by piece and glued a piece of hope that I saw in his eyes. A hope to sail through this.
I have learned that we do not have the resources that we need to postpartum in a pandemic. And I have learned that the only way is to find your anchor and hold onto it, especially on those days when you feel like the flood will sweep you away.
I now wish we had parenting books that us to postpartum in corona times! That saying, it takes a village to raise a child, the village was long lost, and the pandemic has swept all the remnants away too.
They say that we are in this together, but we are all alone in our own journeys. The lonely appointments, the lonely birth, the lonely healing, the lonely postpartum, nothing is easy about this.
Mama, know that our stories will be in the history of this pandemic and will stick with our growing babies. We will have a tale of bravery, resilience and strength to tell our babies one day! Heal good postpartum mom!