Pregnant During Pandemic: How it Sucks and How I’m Coping
Let’s face it. Being pregnant (especially for the first time) is stressful. Being in the middle of a pandemic, no matter who you are, also stressful. Realizing your stress is bad for your baby and trying really hard not to, is ironically very stressful. Throw it all in a blender and wham-bam, you’ve got yourself a very un-ideal scenario to say the least.
Today would have been my baby shower… surrounded by all of the women I love the most, having my baby girl showered by their love, taking pretty pictures to document what would’ve been sure to be a memory we’d never forget.
Instead, I woke up to a gloomy day in Dallas, realizing I’d be spending it alone, missing my friends, feeling stressed about not getting a chunk of our baby-needs checked off our list, and feeling sorry for myself.
This is just ONE example of the suckiness that is being pregnant during a pandemic… the list goes on to include the impact this has had on everything from:
- birth and delivery plans
- babymoons becoming non-existent
- birth classes and parenting classes all canceled
- going to your doctors visits alone
- anxiety about even GOING to doctors visits because of the potential virus exposure
- limited or sold out nursery items and baby gear to get ready for your baby
- having to avoid family members when pregnancy typically is a time to come together
- and you can’t even pour yourself a cocktail to cope with it all (had to throw a little humor in there)
The point is, when I found out in December of 2019 I was going to become a mom, this is the last thing I expected for these next 9 months to look like. As is the case for thousands across the globe.
So what now?
Thanks to these hormones I can definitely catch myself sometimes going into this really negative spiral.
Today being my canceled baby shower, I could have easily let today be another one of them.
Instead, I’m deciding to take back my power and my control – and wanted to share how I’ve been coping with being pregnant during a pandemic.
Coping Strategy 1: Keep Things in Perspective
My dad always says, “bad is never good until worse happens.” Doesn’t get much more simply put than that. We all have different circumstances – but one lesson I’ve learned in life is things can ALWAYS be worse. And the minute you think they can’t, you will get proven wrong. So keep yourself grounded and remind yourself… things could be worse! Suddenly the current situation feels a little less awful.
Coping Strategy 2: Stop the Counter-Productive Behaviors
We are emotionally really vulnerable right now. Our hormones are all over. As women, I think we are also just naturally more empathetic. And therefore, whenever I read war stories about moms giving birth alone right now, or having birth plans changed they really impact my psyche. I get emotional. I get scared.
I’ve realized that nothing positive has come from reading about what other birth stories sound like right now. I don’t feel more prepared, or more equipped to handle this. On the contrary, it typically makes me feel more anxious than anything. Sparing myself from the birth story blogs right now and solely focusing on writing my own has been major. Some other ways I’ve been countering my negativity:
- Journaling. More specifically, letter’s to Tati, lift my spirits. Because instead of whining about the material things and experiences I don’t have, writing to her gets me grounded in the only thing that really matters… the fact that she’s growing strong, healthy, and beautiful inside me.
- Saging. Keeping the negativity off me and out of my home.
- NOT watching the news. I keep informed with a few credible online publications that I’m subscribed to. I get my facts from there and move on with the day. I don’t get sucked into the media headlines.
Coping Strategy 3: Pamper Yourself
With so much feeling like it’s been “taken away,” indulging in giving back to myself with some extra pampering and self-care has been super helpful. Like I said, today was supposed to be my baby shower. So, I showered myself with my own love by ordering something else for Tati, doing a face mask, a hair mask, blowing out my hair, doing my makeup, and just going the extra mile to make myself feel good today. Here’s a few of my favorite pregnancy-safe indulgences right now when I am craving some self-care:
I’ve also been dealing with a lot of sciatic nerve pain so continuing to do physical therapy, and extra measures to take care of myself and feel GOOD has been essential to keeping my morale high right now.
Coping Strategy 4: Plan Ahead
I think the total shock of finding out I was pregnant and total oblivion to how to take care of a baby kicked me into pre-planning mode early, regardless of the pandemic. And girl, am I SO happy I did. Planning ahead and noticing what items are low on stock so you can prioritize accordingly is key right now.
All I can say is I am SO grateful this pandemic prompted me to start nesting earlier than most because I quickly learned items are out of stock or taking extra long to ship. So that said, leveraging the time home to proactively plan and prioritize for the baby is not only a great distraction from the unhealthy stressors, but pretty essential to getting the items you know you want and need!
Coping Strategy 5: Embrace the Tech
Remember coping strategy 1? Well let’s put in perspective for a second if we were going through this and we didn’t have all the access to technology that we have today. Let’s pretend there wasn’t FaceTime for our husbands to be at our ultrasounds with us. Let’s pretend that there wasn’t Zoom or the MarcoPolo app to see our families. What if we didn’t have access to online birth classes and parenting classes? What if there was no online shopping??? (now THAT would be a tragedy)
We have all of those things, thank God. So even though it’s not all it could be, it’s a hell-of-a-lot less lonely and isolating being able to stay connected virtually. It’s comforting to have online communities to remind you that you’re not facing this alone. We’ve got this mama.
It may not be the fairy tale experience we hoped for – but it’s the story we were meant for, and it will be a heck of a good one to share in hindsight.