To Becoming Mamas in a Pandemic
To the mothers who are becoming mothers during global crisis. The viral pandemic that has stripped us of what we expected. What is normal. What we had hoped this would be.
To the mamas who place their hands on growing wombs and put masks on their faces. Paranoia clutching at them as they go to appointments and work. That deep settling sadness for no celebration before the birth. No gathering with loved ones to dote on growing baby and glowing mama.
To the mamas who wipe tears as they go to another ultrasound alone. The absence of their partners feeling potent in the small room. Masks dulling the interactions that were anticipated to be warm and exciting.
To the mamas who read their tests with the knowing that this pandemic would be their reality during pregnancy. To the mamas that didn’t know and had to learn the new way with the rest of us, all while feeling a new life kick and hearing a new heart beat.
To the mamas who lost physical care during pregnancy. In-person OB or midwife appointments, pelvic physio, birthing support, prenatal lessons. All of that loss layering onto the normal self-doubt and nervousness of this journey.
To the mamas who are essential workers. Enduring stress and worry and fatigue. Going on leave early in pregnancy or wondering if they should return as planned. For the mamas that keep showing up to work because they must. Because they want to. Holding their breath and having faith that this viciousness won’t touch them.
To the mamas that lose sleep over fear and worry. Wondering what will be if they get sick. Wondering what would happen if they had to leave baby for some time. What if, what if, what if?
To the mamas that are expected to be gatekeepers. Whose loved ones don’t assume the great risk of this virus. The mamas who have to set boundaries that disappoint others. The mamas that feel like they’re endlessly explaining.
To the mamas that birthed with masks on. Who felt fear to enter their birthing spaces. Who anticipated more support in the room, but were restricted.
To the mamas who held their new babies and wept. For all the reasons we weep after birth, but also because they’re sorry. Sorry to bring a new life into such a mess. Sorry that the baby won’t feel the warmth of their family members for months to come.
To the mama who pictured tapping into the ‘village’. Inviting friends and family to help. Passing the baby off for moments to sleep, pee, and shower. To the mamas who have seen none of that. The mamas who did, and then saw it end abruptly.
To the mamas who heal alone. Barely able to walk or lift. Taking care of a little being while also tending to their own bodies and hearts. Often leaving themselves to the last moments of the day.
To the mamas who haven’t left the house. Who feel every day and night bleed into one another. The obvious loneliness of new motherhood amplified by global isolation and distancing.
To the mamas who sink deeper into all they know. Tending to the sleep schedule, feeding, and the goal of perfecting the little system that exists within the home. To the mamas who break under anxiety when things don’t go as planned. The ‘roll with it’ muscles, never given the chance to strengthen.
To the mamas who worry about their baby’s lack of exposure to others. To some worry deep inside that this will scar their babies. Make them timid and shy. Unable to be with anyone else and not knowing faces below the eyes.
To the mamas who look towards a day when this is no longer the way and still worry. Worry that with so many months of steering the ship, they won’t be able to bring themselves to relinquish control. That unlearning the control and trusting others with baby will take much intention and many breaths.
To the mamas who feel alone. Alone in every way imaginable. Craving the mom & baby yoga, song circles, and regular playdates. And feeling lonely. Like aching heart, big tears, heavy head lonely.
To the mamas who can’t access breastfeeding support, pelvic recovery, or doctor appointments with ease after baby. Navigating virtual support. Feeling less and less confident in how this new act of mothering feels.
To the mamas with sick babies or early babies. The mamas who are alone with their tiny new humans in a hospital, feeling vulnerable and scared. Going in and out of medical spaces with trepidation.
To the mamas whose partners are essential workers. Who have had to endure separation for any amount of time. Navigating the intricacies of sanitizing, masking, distancing in their own sacred space. To the mamas who feel the sting of that distance between the baby and their partner. The deep sorrow over that missed time.
To the mamas who are swallowing this big pill which is: pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are HARDER in a global pandemic. To slowly stomaching that pill with each passing day and mustering all of the unfathomable resilience that mamas are famous for. To the mamas who break down again and again over all of it.
To the mamas who deeply know gratitude for good health. The mamas that count each healthy moment before closing their eyes to sleep. Sighing relief that they got through just one more day of this thing.
To the mamas that have and are becoming mamas during this time.
I see you. I am with you.