Each of these parents had a baby during a global pandemic. All of them have a story to tell. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing how Covid shaped their pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences—and the silver linings that brought unexpected glimmers of light to darker days.
We hope you’ll be as moved by their strength, devotion and grit as we’ve been, and if you feel up for it, we invite you to share your own Covid stories in the comments below or with #sollysilverlinings on Instagram. It’s common to feel isolated postpartum during “normal times,” and that’s only amplified in our current circumstances. But by telling our stories and listening to one another’s, we believe we can grow more connected and less alone.
The restaurant I worked at closed down in March. At that time my husband worked for an essential business and we knew little about the virus so he cut his hours since I was pregnant and I was considered high risk. This was hard on us financially with my job gone and him losing hours. It’s devastating that this was the reality for countless other families as well. My sister had been living in Australia and she wasn’t able to travel home when she wanted due to flights being canceled. I worried she wouldn’t make it back in time for the birth and I really wanted her here. There was just a lot of immediate change and unknown in the beginning that caused stress, fear, and disappointment.
I tried to tune out the news and just focus on myself and my family. I listened to a ton of positive birth stories via podcasts. I also read a bunch of birth stories. I practiced my breathing and tried to keep imagining and praying for the most positive birth experience. I never cared to prep in this way for my first birth so it was really special for me to prepare my mind and body this way. It helped me to feel in control while everything else going on felt completely out of control.
No matter what comes our way, as mothers we do whatever we have to in order to fight for and protect our babies. The stories I heard and read of mothers just bearing down and doing what they had to despite insane circumstances encouraged and inspired me. I know nothing fiercer than the love of a mother. Pandemics have nothing on us.
Jordyn gave birth to Jetson on July 30.
I am enough for my baby. She doesn’t need to go anywhere or do anything extravagant right now to be happy. She just needs love, attention and interaction. And she is thriving! … I have to be okay with not being in control sometimes. Some things are out of my control and all I can do is do my best to ride the wave and keep afloat till the storms pass … because they *will* pass.
Amber gave birth to Nala on March 28.
The most challenging part of having a baby during a pandemic has the been the overwhelming feelings of isolation and loneliness. After the birth of our son we had numerous follow up appointments, and he required occupational therapy as well as specialty referrals—adding more trips to the doctors every week. It was so hard being a first-time mom, having a crying baby, having to pump in between appointments, be mentally prepared to ask the right questions and learn the care my son needed all by myself.
The hospital would only allow one person with a child, and so it was just me. My husband was not allowed to attend any of his doctor appointments. The extra hands and emotional support would have been a game-changer. I remember either crying or almost crying at every appointment because I just felt so overwhelmed and exhausted. I needed the help and just the relief to know I had someone there for me.
Salena gave birth to James on May 21.
Covid has brought about a lot of scared energy, though I have not been known to live in fear. I have taken safety measures seriously. However, I do not let it hold me back from living a powerful life that I design.
I will be the first to admit, sometimes I forget about my needs as I care for my newborn baby. She is my first child, my first pregnancy, my first love. When I hear her cry, I am immediately in nurture mode. I have to remember, at times, that I cannot feed her before I feed myself. I cannot bring her joy before I cater to my own happiness. It is not selfish for me to put myself first. It is actually what’s best for my baby.
Tiara gave birth to Zenaia on July 27.
The hardest part is my family not being able to meet this new and sweet babe. We have always welcomed our babies with only our family. When our first was born, it was just George and I in the room, and with each new baby, we always spend a week or two with just us and the boys. So the first few weeks felt normal once we got home. Our baby is almost four months old and this is the oldest any of my children have been without meeting my parents or my sister-in-law. It hurts my heart that this is the reality of our situation. I am just hopeful they get to meet him soon.
Additionally, my dad had a seizure a few months ago that led doctors to discover a brain tumor. He has had surgery and it went well, and now he has started radiation and chemo. It is so hard that I cannot be there right now. Even with a new baby, under normal circumstances I still would have been on the next plane to Colorado. With the way things are now, flying is not a viable option and driving all the way to Colorado by myself with a young baby is not practical either. Being seperated from family by thousands of miles is normally not as difficult as it is right now.
Catrina gave birth to Leif on June 17.
A week into lockdown, my husband was let go from the job he’d held for the past nine years. I am a SAHM and was two months pregnant with our second child in an unprecedented situation, terrified about what the future held, not sure he’d be able to find another job in the murky climate of the times.
I have a mom friend who I met right after I had my son a couple years ago. She checked in on me one day, and I totally unloaded on her. Instead of trying to solve my problems or liken her struggle to mine, she just listened, told me, “Wow, that sounds so hard. I am here and will never judge you.” I instantly felt comforted and heard, and now I know how to be a good friend. I am eternally grateful to have found her. I have some of the best and most supportive friends and am determined to be just as supportive to my chosen family.
Ashley gave birth to Mazzy on August 10
Being in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a lot of sitting around, watching TV, and holding a sleeping baby. At first I had insecurities and doubts about my body and I questioned if I was enough to be Paisley’s mother. Sometimes I made excuses—we’re in a pandemic and I could be doing other things if this wasn’t happening. I wanted to indulge in things that I thought would make myself feel better but actually made myself feel worse. I fell into laziness because I couldn’t go out. I had to listen to my body and listen to the truth: that there was no one better than me to be Paisley’s mom. After allowing my body to heal from the amazing things that it did to bring Paisley into the world, I’ve invested my time in counseling, friendships, dates with my spouse and even a fun workout class! I called up my other friends to go on walks with our little ones and started to just get out and enjoy the outdoors more. In the journey of motherhood, I have realized that if I take care of myself first, I will be a better wife, mother and friend.
Heather gave birth to Paisley on April 2.