Thoughts on Postpartum Experience During a Pandemic

I found this photo on E’s phone recently; I didn’t know he snapped it the day Winnie was born on February 13, 2020. It brings tears to my eyes whenever I see it because it feels like this version of me is so far away. It’s hard to believe this was in 2020. So much has changed in nine months.

I couldn’t have imagined that weeks later, siblings wouldn’t come to the hospital to meet their new baby brother or sister, like Lucy did. I couldn’t have imagined that some women would labor with masks; some would have the traumatic experience of having a baby without their partner present. I couldn’t have imagined that 260K+ families would lose a loved one to a virus by Christmas.

I assumed the normal stuff – lack of sleep, breastmilk stains, challenges of juggling a toddler and newborn, etc. but how could I have predicted how the year would actually unfold?

I couldn’t have imagined that a couple weeks later, our entire ‘normal’ would shift. That we wouldn’t see friends or family for months. That I would spiral over the shocking loss of control. That routine activities, like going to the library, would no longer be an option. That my new baby who I wanted to share with family and friends would grow and change right before my eyes every day, but only through the screen for everyone else. That when people finally did get to meet Winnie, the paralyzing ‘is this the right decision? is this safe?’ mental calculations would steal some of my joy rather than allow me to fully soak in the moment.

I knew there would be the typical things to think about – is she eating enough? Where’s the diaper rash cream? What time did she wake up? But how could I have known the added anxiety thinking about if E or myself or worse — one of my girls — got the virus.

I know a lot of you have new babies this year. I’m sorry if postpartum and the sweet, fleeting days with your newborn didn’t look the way you expected. It’s okay to be disappointed and overwhelmed. I hope that despite the hard and scary stuff happening this year, your baby reminds you of all of the light, goodness, and hope that exists too. That you can be so grateful and happy and heartbroken and emotionally depleted at the same time. 🤍

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WINNIE’S BIRTH STORY

TO THE MOMS WHO HAVE NEW BABIES, ARE PREGNANT, OR TRYING TO START OR GROW THEIR FAMILIES DURING A PANDEMIC
REFLECTIONS ON MARCH 2020

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