WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE PREGNANT IN A PANDEMIC
I never envisioned being weeks away from delivering a baby under a city in crisis and lockdown. Babies are born all the time under duress, war, indeed far worse circumstances than these, but, nonetheless, these circumstances are not typical.
I am scared. I am worried. I am making contingency plans that prepare to be without my doula, without my mother for god knows how long, and include going to a lightly-trafficked hospital across state lines with the guarantee of a private room and the goal that this experience be as calm, safe and sacred as possible.
The below essay in New York sums up what I imagine many pregnant women are feeling as we grapple to make birthing plans in the face of the unknown. Irin Carmon describes the uncertainty like this:
“To try to be prepared without being able to make plans. To have the fate of all of our bodies tied up together, our literal lives depending on each other’s health and sickness. As for the being that is most depending on me, we’re both sheltering inside for now, and all I can really do is try to make the vehicle of her isolation a little more hospitable.”
All I can do is continue to be a loving shelter for this baby girl while deciding with my OB when might be the optimal time to bring her Earthside via a scheduled C-section. For this, I am luckier than many. I have good health insurance; a healthy husband to support me; a doula who continues to virtually educate and empower my process; and access to more information and choices than many.
To my pregnant mamas, whatever you choose, know that there are options despite the pandemic. Be sure you’re in a practice that will do its best to honor your birthing choices. Advocate to have the support team you need in the room and if you can’t have them there physically, consider Zooming them in. If advocating is too much of an energetic commitment then find someone to be that advocate for you— a partner, outspoken friend, or doula. If you are low-risk and your provider is open to a home birth then this might be the safest choice for your circumstances. And if you’re in NYC consider going to NJ like me. DM for me details on why.
And to everyone trying to conceive, forced to delay IVF or cancel a cycle altogether, my heart goes out to you especially. Dreams deferred and cancelled are just too much to bear alone under any circumstances yet alone in the face of a global pandemic. Stay connected to those who get it. Don’t let anyone discourage or judge your unique pain and path. Our paths to motherhood are diverse, unexpected, and never linear. Keep your faith, discover it perhaps, and know that you are not alone.