Great Expectations vs. Reality:: Having a Baby During a Pandemic

A Tale of Two {Very Different} Births

St. Patrick’s Day is the feast of the saint who famously converted Ireland to the Catholic faith. It is a day normally celebrated all around the world, typically with crowded bars, street parades, pints of beer, shots of whiskey, and lots of green. A day when we’re all Irish.

This year, thanks to Covid-19, many of those bars were quiet; many streets, empty. People honored the famous saint by lifting a pint in their own homes. 

In our hospital room, my husband and I were having our own quiet celebration. Our daughter was born at 1:02pm. 6 pounds, 1 ounce, 19.5 inches long. The sweetest little sprite. 

Great Expectations vs. Reality:: Having a Baby During a Pandemic

When our son was born, our parents and siblings were camped out nearby in the waiting room. They were in the room less than an hour after he was born, passing him around and toasting his arrival with ice cold Shiners {Shhh…don’t tell my doctor}. In his first few weeks home, Thomas had a revolving door of visitors:: grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, friends, neighbors. It was an exciting {and busy} time in our lives. 

This time, thanks to Covid-19, was different. Like those many bars and parade streets, our hospital room was empty. We weren’t allowed visitors, not even our son. The nurses took mine and the baby’s temperature frequently. My doctor kept her distance when checking in on us. The hallways around us were eerily quiet. 

We were home the next day, but we didn’t have the steady flow of visitors, like last time. It was just us, a brand new family of four and our two dogs. 

Great Expectations vs. Reality:: Having a Baby During a Pandemic

A Newborn Baby in the Time of Social Distancing

Can you keep a secret?

I don’t hate it. 

Don’t get me wrong. I wish my son could have held his sister in the hospital. I wish our parents could come visit us and squeeze their granddaughter. I wish our siblings could see their niece other than on FaceTime. Covid-19 has robbed us of that special time.

But where our time with extended family has been snatched away, an unexpected gift has been left in its place:: the time and space for our little family to bond

I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to snuggle my daughter and just be still with her, as I did my firstborn. Without the need to drive my son to school or run out to the grocery store, I’ve been able to snuggle her to my heart’s content. Bonus:: I can snuggle both my babies while we watch morning cartoons every day. Great Expectations vs. Reality:: Having a Baby During a Pandemic

I was worried about how my son would react to having a little sister. Without school or anyone around the house to snag his attention away from her, he has spent his time giving her hugs and kisses. He adores being the big brother who helps mom and dad with his “baby girl”. His kindness and love just melt my heart. 

I was worried about being alone with a toddler and infant after my husband went back to work. Like much of the country, he’s working from home right now. He has lunch everyday with Thomas. The baby hangs out upstairs in her bouncer while I take a nap or write. He and I have our coffee together in the morning. We will be genuinely sad when he goes back to work at his office. 

Great Expectations vs. Reality:: Having a Baby During a Pandemic

Hope in a Brave New World

If I could redo my daughter’s birth, I’d certainly prefer to have our families there. No question. Mamas, if you’re expecting a baby during this uncertain time and are sad about not having your family there to celebrate with you, I feel you. Maybe you’re worried about all the things I worried about, or maybe you have different worries of your own. I understand. It’s hard, and it’s okay to feel sad, angry, disappointed, scared, or whatever it is that you’re feeling right now. It’s okay. 

But maybe, you’ll cherish this newborn baby time just a tiny bit more, because you have the time and space to do so. Maybe you’ll look back on this quarantine life with a wee bit of fondness, because of the extra time your family had together. And in time, maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel like this unexpected time in our lives has been a sweet little gift as well. 

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  1. I’ve frequently thought about this topic as my neighbor delivered her first born a month ago. I utterly cherished having my 9 and 7 year old gone with me and my husband. I would have loved to have had him around more like this when they were newborns or babies. That’s when you need support the most and our country, unfortunately, does not offer much in terms of paternity leave. I’m glad you are buoying and cherishing this rare opportunity!


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