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What My Pandemic Pregnancy Taught Me


Article by Paige Fitzgerald

Photography by Paige Fitzgerald

1. You are not in control…and that’s okay

In general, pregnancy has been a major lesson in letting go of the outcome. My body is growing a tiny person from scratch and doing some very weird things to accomplish this. Things like morning sickness, stretch marks, and peeing when you sneeze (Yes, really. Brace yourselves, girls.) start to happen. I’ve learned that while you can try and lessen their occurrence, at the end of the day your body is going to do what it needs to do to grow that baby inside of you.

With COVID having the entire world in some stage of lock-down, coming to terms with not being able to control the world around me has been more important than ever for my mental health. It’s a scary time to welcome a baby into the world and every mama-to-be wishes the circumstances were different. But if we continue to fixate on how we wish things were, we will miss out on the many beautiful moments of our pregnancies that are still there.

2. It is never too early to stock up on baby essentials

When the number of illnesses started to rise in Connecticut, so did a sense of overwhelming fear and panic. Then, somehow, toilet paper and other basic necessities became harder to come by than front row seats at a Beyoncé concert.

Baby wipes were disappearing from the shelves just as quickly. I began to worry that if the panic-buying didn’t subside by the summer, I might be left scrambling to find alternatives for the things a newborn needs.

Thankfully, the panic-buying has mostly calmed down. But I’ve still made it a habit to pick up a case of wipes every time I see them, just in case a second wave comes, and shortages happen all over again.

3. Having a supportive partner will keep you sane

This pandemic has made me realize the importance of building a relationship with someone you view as your “teammate” in life. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve cried during this pregnancy from hormones, stress, or some fun combination of both. Through it all, my partner was there to listen and help me talk through my feelings.

I cannot imagine having gone through this pregnancy, and this pandemic, without him. Even if you are pregnant and single, I highly recommend finding a support person (maybe a close friend or family member) to be your teammate throughout this journey.

4. People will respect guidelines more if they are from a medical professional

When I announced we were expecting to our friends and family, a good friend of mine gave me this advice: lots of people are going to have opinions, but the opinion of you and your partner are the ones that matter most at the end of the day. What she failed to mention was that people will also question your opinions a million times over if they don’t agree with what you are saying.

That was November, before the pandemic hit. Since then, the typical advice and peppering of questions from relatives and in-laws has kicked into overdrive.

“When will we be able to see the baby?” “What do you mean I might not be able to hold him right away?” “You should let people hold him if they wear a mask. This virus thing is dying down anyway.”

As my due date approaches, these questions are asked on an almost daily basis by at least one person. While I know they are all coming from a place of love, it can still be overwhelming. After weeks of over-explaining my reasoning and decisions to people, my partner and I have come up with a new answer: “We have no idea what health recommendations will be like when he is born. We’ll let you know after we speak to his pediatrician at his first checkup.”

This has worked surprisingly well. It puts the future visiting rules in the hands of a medical professional, which makes us seem less like the “bad guys” for putting our newborn son’s safety first. If your relatives are giving you a headache over visiting restrictions, go ahead and blame your doctor! I promise you that they will not mind!

5. This is still a special moment in your life

I never imagined I would be carrying my first child during a global pandemic. These past nine months have contained disappointments (no baby shower, no visitors allowed at the hospital to welcome baby) and periods of fear and uncertainty that I had no way of preparing for. Still, I am happy to be bringing a child into this world. Growing my baby boy has been such a crazy, beautiful experience and I will forever be grateful that I got to do this, even with the world seemingly in a semi-free-fall as I did it.

To my fellow Pandemic Pregnancy Mamas,

I see you. I’m here for you. Although many things are still uncertain, one thing is not: We will come out of this stronger than we were before. That is what this time has required of us to bring our babies safely and lovingly into this strange new world.