Becoming a mother in 2020 took on a whole new meaning to so many women of the world. With global chaos ensuing, incompetency leading the way, and drastic changes taking place in hospitals, giving birth during this time meant...well, we aren't sure. Many women took the challenge head-on, accepting that their new normal, no matter how different from the stories they've always heard, were just that: their new normal.
From baby showers that were masked and mobile, to having a q-tip shoved up your nose multiple times a month, adjusting took its damn time. And a year later, we're all still adjusting.
These babies are now turning one-year-old, one year of surviving it all. We found four women who shared their journey about how exactly the adjustment is going.
Here are the beautiful stories that we heard:
I actually gave birth to my daughter back in August (2020), and this entire time I've just been kind of basking in the whole moment of motherhood and pregnancy. I'm sure you can imagine this was a huge eye-opening shift in my life, and in my family's life, because this was not what we expected whatsoever.
During my first trimester, it would suck to have to go to my doctor check-ups without any support. Like, they couldn't even wait in the waiting room. And because Dallas was considered a 'hotspot' for COVID, our rules were strict. From the constant questioning to temp checks, it was all a mess. Many first-time mommy classes had gone virtual. I wanted to have a water birth, but I couldn't. I even had to wear a mask during labor. The changes were nonstop.
I ended up having a C-section because after being in labor for 24 hours, with no medication, I couldn't take the pain anymore. It was go time.
Afterwards, I allowed my body to heal. I didn't rush it. My main goal was to safely recover. And even through all the pain and worry, my baby made it home with me, happily and healthy.
Being pregnant during a global pandemic and a racial injustice war has brought on many emotional highs and lows. If you had told me a few years back that this is what I'd experience during my first pregnancy, I probably would've laughed in your face.
But one thing I will say, despite the chaos, I've been able to truly pause, self-reflect, acknowledge my fears, doubts, and worries as well as tap into a different level of strength I didn't know existed, so I'm grateful for that opportunity.
I never imagined that I'd give birth during a global pandemic or that my husband wouldn't be by my side as our child entered the world. But thanks to the COVID-19, nothing I had planned for my birth experience happened. From having to cancel our baby shower, not being able to shop for and set up our nursery, to my husband being kicked out of the delivery room at the last minute COVID-19, really stole many of our joys.
My moods would go from super happy, to just heartbreaking as the virus took over the world. Quarantine forced us to social distance from our friends and family and had us on government mandated curfews and lockdowns. But after a lonely, hard experience...there were tears of joy!
I'm so blessed to have the shoulders of so many amazing women to stand on as I navigate motherhood; so much strength, so much resilience, so much love I've witnessed and received and I'm now equipped to give my little one.
I'm learning early on that support from everyone around you is crucial, from friends to family, and even those who end up becoming family. Every time I think about what I'm going to tell her of this time, her birth and the uncertainty that consumed the world, I'll show her the picture I have of her meeting her grandfather for the first time.
I'll tell her, "This is you at two days old meeting your grandfather for the first time...through a closed window. A deadly virus had already killed thousands of people around the world and several right here at home. We were warned to take extreme measures to keep you and everyone else safe.
"Those first few weeks were hard too; physically because you had a sleep schedule all your own, emotionally because we had to do it all without family and mentally because no one knew when it all would end. Still, you were loved unconditionally, through video chats, phone calls and...windows."
And now, with seeing us triumph, and how blessed my family is, I wouldn't have it any other way.
After a completely healthy pregnancy, my husband and I lost our baby girl, Junie at 41 weeks on May 19, 2020. And the pregnancy and birth took place during the COVID pandemic. As I am navigating this loss, I have found some comfort in others sharing their stories to help me in my journey, which is the purpose of me speaking out. I felt alone and I want to share for anyone who may feel how I once did.
Everything leading up to it, was completely normal. We had never heard the word "perfect" so many times in our lives. At that point, I was having appointments weekly, ultrasounds, stress tests. I woke up one day, my routine was completely normal. I was doing my daily talks with her, my affirmations.
On the way to my appointment, things changed. I hadn't felt her move in a while. My ultrasound tech started the process of checking the baby at my appointment, and she had a blank look on her face. She wasn't blinking. My intuition was off the charts.
And then, my doctor looked at me and said, "I am so sorry to tell you this, but your baby doesn't have a heartbeat."
And I said... "OK."
You know, it's funny how the brain works. My mind was racing, but I couldn't articulate anything. I was having an out-of-body experience. And that's all I could say. "OK."
I was numb to everything happening around me. I was broken.
I went to the next hospital to deliver my baby girl, and had to take a Coronavirus test, which came back positive. I was moved to another side of the hospital, swept away from my family, quarantined by myself. And on top of it all, I had to somehow process how my baby was no longer with me. It took a while for me to process it all. I still am, actually. But ultimately, I learned I am not alone.
Educating myself, and learning the statistics of stillborn births aided me in coping. Additionally, I had to learn that it wasn't my fault. My midwives and nurses would assure me all the time that we did everything right, everything we possibly could have done.
But listen ladies: my story is traumatic. And unfortunately, so many women experience the same as I have. But my pregnancy was also a beautiful experience. I would not rewrite or delete this chapter of my life at all. The grieving has been exceptionally hard.
And without my support and the amount I had, I don't know how I would navigate this, honestly. Family, my husband, friends. I have two amazing therapists that have helped me. In the end, working with them, and telling my story, has given me peace. I hope it does for any mama out there reading this, and that has experienced the same as I have, as well.
Giving birth during COVID-19 is just a little different, so my heart goes out to those of you who were not able to have anyone in the delivery room with you. I was blessed enough to have my husband right there by my side in the delivery room, but my baby boy did come a little earlier than expected. I actually had a scheduled C-section. But my little boy decided that he wanted to come a few days before the scheduled C-section.
Something that was very important to me was that my doctor looked like me, due to the statistics that we hear nowadays definitely can make being a woman of color [who is] expecting pretty nervous.
With me moving to a new area, and with the pandemic, I wanted to make sure I felt 100 percent comfortable with whoever was delivering my baby. I trusted her 100 percent.
Around this time, my husband and I had a very deep conversation about what the world is going through. There are a lot of people that were really sick and thousands that lost their lives. People are out of work, resources in some communities are limited. Children that once looked to college or school as an escape from toxic homes don't have that anymore.
Domestic abuse and child abuse is at an all-time high...and to top it all off, I gave birth and lost one of the most important people in my life. He lost his battle with COVID. The only dad and father that I've ever known. Literally my everything. My support system, my superhero, my advocate, anything that I ever needed, he was there for me.
But now, walking into 2021, I've achieved a newfound wisdom and grace over our family. Perspective is everything right now and even if you don't have much to give, just compassion and prayer is sufficient.
Featured image by Ianthia Ferguson/Instagram