I had my second daughter in May of 2020. Year of the dumpster fire. Maybe I’ll write that in her baby book? Who am I kidding, she does not have a baby book started yet.... she’s the poor second child. The quiet one that you find rolled away into the corner, quietly playing alone. My little patient unicorn baby. What a roller coaster of emotions it was to have a baby in a pandemic. There was so many disadvantages, but if I’m being honest, I kind of liked it. Obviously I didn’t like the risk of myself or my baby contracting COVID!! What I mean is, I like how we had time once she was born to slow down and just enjoy her, enjoy our new little family of four. Before I get into that, there is obviously some really shitty things about having a baby in a pandemic that I would like to acknowledge. 2020 definitely stole away the traditional maternity leave experiences that’s forsure. This certainly was not the maternity leave that I had envisioned. Grandparents and Great Grandparents had to meet Nora through screens, and windows. Our aunties and uncles STILL haven’t met her. My grandparents met her for the VERY FIRST TIME about a month ago. She is 8 months old. That is sad and wrong. The quiet, cozy days that I had imagined for us were quickly met with chaos. Daycares had shut down, people lost their jobs (my husband included) we couldn’t go anywhere and it’s insane that my mental health didn’t go down the shitter. Organized activities came to a screeching halt, parks were closed, people were told not to talk or see each other. Along with trying to figure out what the hell was happening in the world and how to survive in a pandemic, my husband and I also had to try and figure out how to become parents to two kids without any support. Cam was able to secure a new job and had to work the DAY after we brought Nora home from the hospital. The maternity leave I imaged for myself vanished over night. No napping while the baby napped (because toddler) no joining mom groups like I did last time, no dropping off the kids with the grandparents for some me time. No coffee dates, no evening wine with girlfriends. No baby shower, no celebrations for Nora. It was sad!! There was also certainly no time during the day to clean the damn house (once again, because toddler)
Anyways, enough of my sob story. There is so many women that went through the same thing. It just wasn’t what I had planned for my second maternity leave, so it was a bit of an adjustment and somewhat of a loss at first. Just a little bit of perspective for those that haven’t had a baby in a pandemic.
Now, moving on to the 5 things that no one talks about. The 5 amazing things that brought me joy and ultimately stabilized my mental health in this crazy pandemic.
- No visitors in the hospital..... Unpopular opinion: this was a DREAM. I didn’t have to see anyone but my baby girl and my husband. Last time we had to awkwardly turn away visitors so we could soak in family time. Guess what, we didn’t soak in anything last time because I felt so damn guilty for not allowing visitors. This time, it was understood and expected that no one would be coming to the hospital after Nora was born. It was amazing because the universe had decided this, not my husband and I so there was absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. I didn’t have to pull myself together, I could just focus on recovering and bonding with my baby. Such a blessing in disguise.
- You guessed it... no visitors at home either! Unpopular opinion: I freakin loveddddd this. Let me start by saying that we broke down and allowed my parents, my sister and sister in law/brother in law and Cam’s parents to come in the house to see and hold Nora masked. Once each. We couldn’t take this experience away from them. I am talking about other visitors. Extended family and friends. I love my family, I love my friends, but the luxury of not having to host any guests for the first month after your baby is born is unreal, it’s glorious and I highly recommend. 5 stars, would definitely do again. I didn’t have to stress about cleaning my house and putting on a bra, I didn’t have to make sure I had coffee and a clean shirt on. I didn’t have to pull myself together if I was having a bad day and I didn’t have to delay feeds, hide upstairs to feed in private or keep Nora awake just to work in a visit. Seriously. Game changer.
- I had so much time to focus on breast feeding. This one kind of goes hand in hand with not having visits. Last time I wasn’t comfortable learning how to nurse Charleigh in front of family or friends so I would prepare and pump before a visit so the visitor could give Charleigh a bottle. Why. The. Fork. Did I do this?!? All because I wasn’t comfortable and felt rude leaving to feed her. So her well-being and my mental health took the back burner to a visit from a friend or family member. Not cool - this time, I had all the time in the world to focus on practicing breast feeding. We are still 8 months going strong!!
- This one is kind of shallow, but if you’re a parent, I am 109% confident that you will understand what I mean. So here it is, it’s a lot nicer when people just drop off food, coffee, wine or a gift and leave.... ya know?! That’s something new I will be doing for my next friend that has a baby. Even better.... send something on Amazon prime. Shout out to all of my amazing family and friends who did this when Nora was born. I got so many door drop off coffees and wine and I am so thankful!
- You have all the time in the world to develop a strong, strong bond with your new little one. The bond with my older daughter when she was an infant wasn’t quite like my bond with my youngest daughter now. I think that had a lot to do with my mental health at the time - trying to fit everyone in, trying to live according to other people’s schedule, trying to be the perfect mom in front of other people. This time, I wasn’t on display, I could work on nursing my baby, I could put her down to nap when she needed to nap, I didn’t have anywhere to be - no one to see or entertain.
Have I convinced you to have a baby in a pandemic? Let me know below!