What It’s Like to Have a Baby During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Having a Baby During Coronavirus

The other day, we got a request from a reader: “Would Cup of Jo consider creating a post about what it’s like giving birth during this bizarre time? My second is due this month, and I’m starting to get anxious.” Answer: Yes! We spoke to four moms and a nurse to hear what it’s like to have a baby during the coronavirus pandemic…

What It's Like to Have a Baby During the Coronavirus Pandemic

What It's Like to Have a Baby During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Lizzy, New York City
Delivered by herself, had an emergency C-section

I was scheduled for an induction because I was late. Twenty-four hours beforehand, we found out that our hospital wasn’t letting partners in. My ob-gyn was stuck in Florida and she wasn’t going to be there. I had a breakdown.

But the worst part was the anticipation. That morning, I thought, there are people who are doing a lot worse right now, so let’s buckle down and do this. My husband, Josh, drove me up to the hospital and dropped me off. As soon as I saw the people working there, I was so grateful.

I was tested for COVID in a birthing room and I had to wear a mask until the results came back four hours later. That part definitely felt like an alternate universe, and no one could give me a straight answer as to what would happen post birth if I was positive. In any event, I was negative, and you could see the nurses breathe sighs of relief!

My husband, Josh, FaceTimed with me on and off for close to 24 hours. I also talked to more people than I would have in a normal birth — lots of friends, both my sisters, my kids — and I needed that extra love. People were really cheering us on.

Throughout the labor, the nurses were amazing. I felt like I had allies. They seemed hyperaware that I was alone and everyone mentioned it and apologized — although of course it’s not their fault.

I ended up needing an emergency C-section, so it was scary in the moment, but I’d already been through a C-section, so I knew what was going to happen. I was allowed to have my phone in the operating room, so Josh was talking to me throughout the C-section.

My son was born — and I was at the hospital for 36 hours total. It was very quick and very surreal. Josh and our two older kids picked us up in the car. It was so exciting. India and Major, who is only a year and a half, were both so excited. He lit up and just pointed at the baby the whole way home. It was really, really sweet.

Advice: Know that the anticipation is the worst part. When you’re in the hospital, you can feel the support all around you. Know that all of this is manageable and it will turn out the same way it would with or without a partner in the room. You’re strong enough, and you can do it.

Courtney, North Carolina
Adopted a baby, Courtney could attend the birth, but no one else

We were adopting a baby, and our birth mom, Catherine, had scheduled an induction for Saturday. Rules kept changing, and we were told different things by no less than 15 different medical staff over the 72 hours. We learned that my husband, Dan, couldn’t be in the room at all. That was obviously upsetting but we were trying to roll with the punches.

On Saturday morning, I went into the hospital with Catherine and her boyfriend, and they then told us that only one person could stay with her. We all looked at each other, and I immediately turned to them and said, ‘This is your choice, I want to make sure you’re comfortable, it’s your baby until you sign the baby off to us.’ And she looked at me and said I could come with her. They were both very kind.

I ended up spending all day and all night with her, so we got to know each other on a deeper level. We talked about our families and how she met her boyfriend and about her two-year-old and all those things you don’t talk about in the first awkward meeting.

We were joking that the theme of the day was ‘I don’t know.’ Every question we asked was met with ‘I’m not really sure.’ Thank god we’re both go-with-the-flow types. It needed to be as calm as possible for the birth mom’s sake and the baby’s sake. The nurses said, ‘We don’t even know what’s happening until the beginning of our shift each day, it’s changing so quickly.’ We had a wonderful nursing staff and everyone had a great sense of humor.

I got to watch my daughter be born and got to cut the cord. When I did skin on skin, I burst into tears — everything hit me at once — it was purely awesome. When my husband got to meet her the next day, he said, ‘It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t there for that moment, meeting her now is enough; and it’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to this lifetime.’ She is beautiful and worth every ounce of stress. She has strawberry blonde hair, it’s really sweet. My husband can’t put her down, he has been taking conference calls with her on his chest.

Advice: Just roll with it. There are no surprises because everything is a surprise. Have patience and understand that the medical staff is doing the best they can. Know that it’s okay to not know. There will be a baby at the end and it’s going to be awesome.

Shelly, Nova Scotia
A surrogate delivered the baby, Shelly could attend but not her husband

Because of recurrent miscarriages, my husband and I built our family through gestational surrogate. In Canada, surrogacy is completely altruistic. It’s illegal to pay anyone. You can reimburse your surrogate only for costs related to the pregnancy. We posted our story on Facebook groups for intended surrogates and quickly afterward a woman named Katie messaged me and it felt like we were sisters. We really clicked.

We got pregnant on the first try, and Katie’s pregnancy went really well. We excitedly made the plans for our birth. We wanted to have a doula, a birth photographer, my husband, etc. But with COVID, we learned that only one person could be in the room with her. It was up to Katie, of course, and was so grateful that she chose me.

Katie and I ended up having a powerful experience together, just the two of us. In some ways it was almost more beautiful because we depended on each other so much during that labor.

Initially, I was disappointed that we couldn’t have the birth photographer, but our photographer gave me a tutorial and told me what to look for; then she edited the photos I took. So, we’ll be able to show those photos to the baby when he gets older.

Shortly after the birth, Mark was able to come into the room and find out it was a boy. That was such an incredible moment. Then we spent the whole day — Katie, Mark, the baby and I — in a hospital room together. It was really special that we had the day together without any distractions. If we’re able to have more kids, I’d consider not having family come because we enjoyed that day so much. It was super intimate.

Advice: Focus on what you can control. That’s what got me through.

Stephanie, New York City
Delivered by herself, over Zoom with her husband

Before this pregnancy, I did three rounds of IVF and four transfers. I kept getting pregnant and having miscarriages. It was a lot. Finally, I got pregnant and was able to stay pregnant. But then the coronavirus came to New York three weeks before my due date.

We decided to induce at 39 weeks. A few days before, we got an email from our hospital saying no support person could come. My husband was really sad. I was sad for him, but I kept thinking, as long as the baby is okay, everything else is extra.

My husband dropped me off at the hospital. When I got there, the doctors asked me if I had any symptoms of the virus. (I didn’t.) The hospital felt different — you couldn’t take walks in the hallway or have any visitors. I had to wear a mask the whole time, and all the nurses and doctors were wearing masks. It was hard to breathe with the mask on, and by the time I delivered my mask was sopping wet from my sweat and saliva — it was disgusting! But you get used to it.

My husband Zoomed with me the whole time I was there. It was a long time, hours and hours, before I started being in active labor, so he was just sitting on video chat with me. Beforehand, I didn’t think it would be that comforting to have him on Zoom but it really was. You almost forget you’re talking on video after you’ve been doing it for hours; it was like he was really there with me.

During active labor, the doctors and the nurses were coaching me through, and I’d wave to my husband and he’d blow me kisses. During the pushing, I was trying to focus and breathe and push really hard. They bought my husband closer to me, and they said, it’s a boy!

The nurses were SO amazing. You could tell the hospital was crazy and they were overloaded, but they were so nice to me. Whenever I asked for water or ice chips, I would apologize, and they were like, ‘That’s what we’re here for!’ My postpartum nurse was the most generous, sweetest woman ever — it really made it better for me. She helped me go to the bathroom, and she helped put the ice packs in my underwear. She was really there for me.

Advice: We’re in this crazy time, but having my baby was still the best day of my life. Now we’re in quarantine, but we’re still making amazing memories with our baby. Don’t lose sight of the happiness that this will bring you. That’s really what’s helped me keep things in perspective. All I’ve wanted for years is a baby and now I have one.

Here’s the Zoom video of Stephanie’s birth! How sweet is her husband’s face when the baby arrives?

And, lastly, some words of advice from Beth, a labor and delivery nurse in Minneapolis: “Know that we’re all in this together. We don’t have the normal hustle and bustle of visitors, and I really think that parents and babies are bonding even better. That’s been special. I’m doing the same job, just in disguise. I wonder if my patients can see me smiling.”

Thank you so much to the healthcare workers, and a huge congratulations to anyone trying for, expecting or having a baby during this time! Lots of love xoxo

P.S. 15 things I’d like to tell a new mom, and Toby’s birth story.

  1. Emma says...

    This is such a beautiful post. I’m wondering if I can ask for advice on something related, if anyone is still looking at comments on this post. I’m seven weeks pregnant (after multiple ectopic pregnancies and a long road to this so-far healthy pregnancy). I thought I would feel so happy and excited, but I’m suddenly so afraid of what life will be like with a baby. During lockdown, life has become so excessively domestic, and a lot of the things that normally bring me joy (things like seeing friends, going to concerts, traveling, hanging out on the beach surrounded by lots of other people) are now off-limits. It terrifies me because I’m starting to wonder if life with a baby will be a little bit like life under lockdown…socially isolating, with lots of time inside, limited mobility, and very repetitive days. Is this what it’s like?? I’d love to be reassured that having a baby will *not* be like living in lockdown, if there are any encouraging words you can share. I’m pretty lonely and scared about all of this.

    • Lauren says...

      Hi Emma, I can only share my experience, but here it is.

      First of all: my sister who is now 34 weeks pregnant with her first has very similar fears. She has hated having to change her normal routines and the activities she enjoys during her pregnancy (due to the pandemic) and worries that she won’t have any “reserve” left once the baby is born because she’s had to start her post-baby shelter-in-place prematurely. You are not alone in wondering about this.

      When I had my daughter in 2009, I had ZERO idea how I would feel after she was born. There really is no way to even begin to imagine how it feels to become a parent/mom until it happens. If only it were easier to feel the immense joy along with the fear and heartache, I think my sister would at least know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, everything will change, and yes, sometimes she won’t be able to do the things she did before, but not always and not forever. Motherhood is very much about seasons of life. Things that visit and leave, wax and wane. Being a mom can look how my sister wants it to look. She can have just the one child or ten children, can find ways to prioritize what matters most to her outside of her role as a mom, can define what feels *right* to her in terms of her limits and boundaries in the role. This is easier with an equal partner, of course, and it isn’t always easy, but the rewards and joys of motherhood may make it feel like it’s worth it in the end.

      For me, raising my daughters up to now has been rewarding and joyful, and also challenging and demanding. I’d be lying if I said I still enjoy the freedoms of a single woman, but I do have friends and parts of my life outside of motherhood that are still very important to me.

      I hope this helps a bit.

    • Madi says...

      Congrats, Emma! I definitely can’t speak for everyone, but my post-baby life has not been like lockdown at all. The first 2-3 months are a closer comparison – I definitely spent lots of time during my maternity leave inside, with tunnel vision on just the baby and her needs. Getting used to carrying car seats and diaper bags & coordinating nap times/feeding schedules does mean that getting out is harder. But, the thing to remember is that you are talking about a matter of months before you find your new normal- I always think of the phrase “the days are long but the years are short”.

      As she has gotten older (I have one daughter, two years old), we have loved going to parks, playgrounds, the Children’s Museum, coffee shops, etc. We have taken her to the beach and hiking (we even did a two week trip from the US to Peru & went to Machu Picchu). We spend lots of time out & about with friends. Plus, she goes to daycare so she has her own little social circle, and I’ve stayed at work. I haven’t found motherhood to be socially isolating at all- I’ve actually found that far-away family & friends have gathered closer than before. We have WAY more visitors than we ever did pre-baby.

      As another commenter said, every person does motherhood differently. You’ll find what works for you and your family. Best of luck!

  2. These stories are so heartbreaking! My friend and I, both mamas, are working as fast as we can to get our Taavi app launched this month. It connects moms in pregnancy and postpartum based on due date, location and values. We’re hoping, at the very least, we can connect women to find support over these shared experiences.

  3. Anne says...

    Really loved this piece, had tears in my eyes reading it. Had a baby myself just 3 months ago (before the pandemic), so I can really relate.

  4. I am not pregnant, but this has been on my mind a lot. I cannot even imagine how difficult it would be to have a baby right now. All moms are brave, but it takes even more bravery to give birth now with so much uncertainty. Thank you for bringing these women’s stories to us. You all did such an amazing job with the extra struggles you faced. I am in awe of each of you.

  5. Meg says...

    As an adoptive mom I’d like to say a big thanks for including a variety of new parents in this post!

  6. Jessie says...

    Here with you and sending my love as we also continue to wait and live with the unknown (for me, the hardest part)!

  7. liza says...

    These stories, while beautiful, are obviously coming from women who come from privileged backgrounds. Why aren’t stories from vulnerable populations being told?

    • Kacey says...

      They can only tell stories of people who offer them. Clearly they tried hard to tell stories from a variety of backgrounds (surrogacy, adoption, c-section, and vaginal). It’s not always possible to cover every type of birth.

  8. Holly says...

    My daughter decided at 8 months to hire a midwife and do a home birth. This was her second, and while the first was fine in the hospital, she had some strong preferences. Her friend recommended a midwife who walked her through 3 home biter the, and from the first meeting there was a comfortable rapport.
    I was invited to come to the house when she went into labor, and I helped with big sister, supplied cups of ice, and took photos. My daughter and her husband made an amazing team, the midwife was supportive without being intrusive.
    There was a contingency plan if additional medical support was needed, but all went well – better than expected, actually, and baby boy was born safely in his parents’ bedroom.
    For my daughter, changing her plan gave her peace and strength to labor without fear.

  9. Sarah says...

    Would love for you to also do a series on women whose fertility treatments have been postponed or cancelled due to to the pandemic. It’s an invisible struggle, and there are so many painful posts circulating that imply a childless life is carefree and easy. Would love for other infertile Or childless not by choice women to feel solidarity.

    • Jessica says...

      100% agree with Sarah! I came here to comment that while I am so happy to see woman’s health topics getting well-deserved coverage, this article is published during National Infertility Awarness Week… As someone currently going through IVF, recovering from a missed miscarriage, the post for this article popping up on my Instagram earlier this week was hard. Like Sarah says, we feel invisible, abandoned and are often told “how good we have it” during this confinement period.

  10. Anna says...

    I’m due with my third next month and my husband (Who was supposed to be home two weeks ago) is stuck on deployment indefinitely. Reading stories like these makes me feel like I can do this by myself.

  11. thebedstuyowl says...

    Cried watching the Zoom video! Thank you, Stephanie and husband for sharing that with us.

  12. Kay says...

    I think that’s truly, really lovely. You take care of yourself as well!

  13. Darcy says...

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you so much to each of these women for sharing their stories. I write this with tears streaming down my cheeks after watching the Zoom video. Sending a special shout out to everyone working at the hospital to make these births safe for families.

  14. L. says...

    I hope this article is comforting to people who are pregnant right now. I hope they know that their nurses are very aware of all the ways these unexpected circumstances are changing things for them!

    I recently took care of a laboring person who was putting their child up for adoption. They were only allowed one visitor and I thought it was very selfless of them to choose the adoptive mother, since it meant that there was no family member to support them in that moment. The adoptive mother was kind but was very focused on the baby after the baby was born (understandably), and the birth mother didn’t even have a phone they could use to FaceTime. I was there to provide compassionate nursing care and hold a supportive space, and I know that mattered, but it’s no substitute for a family member. I really hope that someday the adoptive mother will tell her son about the birth mother’s selflessness and strength.

    • Kim M says...

      I got through the post without crying and then this comment put me right over the edge. Tears streaming down my face. I just cannot imagine how difficult it must be for a birth mother in any circumstances and in particular in these strange times. Thank you for sharing and noticing her needs.

  15. Jessie says...

    As a pediatric physician assistant who works in a large hospital nursery in Connecticut, please know that we are doing our best. It is a chaotic and uncertain time for all. We are here for all the new moms and dads out there- lean on us, your hospital staff (nurses, PCAs, physicians, APRNs, PAs), for support. We want you to enjoy and savor this experience, despite the challenges. And enjoy the uninterrupted bonding and extra sleep that comes without the visitors/family!!

  16. E. says...

    This post itself was a milestone for me. I went through many years of secondary infertility, many years of miscarriages, so many that it completely wiped us out– financially, physically, emotionally. We eventually made the choice to accept our fate and just focus everything we had on loving and appreciating our son. That was years ago, and life has gotten so much better. Still, I’m almost ashamed to admit that every time I would hear a birth story, learn that a friend was expecting, even just pass a pregnant woman on the sidewalk, it would take me back to all those years of grief and pain and loss. Until today I guess. I read this post 30 minutes ago, walked away, and only now realized that as I was reading it I felt nothing other than pure joy for these women and families, and pure gratitude for sharing these beautiful stories with us. So I came back here to share a comment with anyone who is deep in the trenches of infertility during this uncertain time: someday, you’ll be on the other side of this. You will heal. And if you’re lucky, life will not turn out as you imagined, but even better. Take very good care of yourself in the meantime.

  17. Brooke Barrington says...

    Did anyone else bawl reading these stories? These women and the staff supporting them are my heroes!

    • Natalie says...

      Totally cried at the Zoom video!!

  18. Kimberly says...

    Hi Mamas!

    When I was pregnant with my fifth I read An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

    Chris Hadfield talks about how astronauts aren’t superhumans who don’t have fear, but rather they face their fears specifically. If there’s an explosion they can either make choices that save their own lives or lead to other disastrous complications. They name their fears and then make a plan in the event that something goes wrong. It helped me to get specific about my fears regarding childbirth. If this-then this.

    If you’re scared, make a list of your specific fears and then discuss with your care providers what your wisest choices will be. It will at least help you move through the panic.

    He also has a masterclass, but I don’t know if he addresses fear.
    Love to all of you!

  19. JW says...

    Wow! Thank you for sharing these experiences! I had a baby two weeks ago in Texas (so not in the center of the outbreak). I’m really grateful to have had the baby before the peak hits my area (predicted in mid-May here). I was allowed to have one support person (for me, my husband) during labor and one adult visitor (still my husband) in recovery. Everyone wore masks the whole time. The waiting areas were closed, there was a temp check/sanitation station upon entering the Labor & Delivery area, and everything was just much more quiet and somber. No laboring moms walking the hallways or anything. Because it was my 3rd and I was already in active labor, I was able to skip the triage area and go straight to my delivery room (thank goodness, because I didn’t want to be in a public space any longer than needed!). I ended up having my baby 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital in a beautifully intense unmedicated birth, just as I had hoped. And the hospital policy changed to letting us go after 24 hours, which I think they should keep for uncomplicated births! So much nicer to be in my own bed at home than in the hospital!

    Now, two weeks postpartum, I’m finding that my anxiety is actually less than before I had the baby (which is surprising to me since I had postpartum anxiety after my last birth!). I think I feel better just not having to anticipate having the baby at any moment, not knowing how labor would go, who would watch my older kids, etc. I’m really lucky that my mom decided to do a total isolation for 18 days prior to the birth, so we felt comfortable having her come take care of the older kids and stay with us for a few days after the birth. She is maintaining strict isolation so she can come back in a couple of weeks to help out again, and I am really grateful to have her in our quarantine bubble!

    The biggest heartbreak in this season, though, is how many firsts our family and friends are missing. Other grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins won’t get to meet this baby for who knows how long! By the time we really feel comfortable letting people into our home or to hold the baby, he may not be very tiny anymore. And of course, the social isolation is hard on all of us. Not being about to go out by myself to Target for 30 minutes or to meet up with a friend for coffee has been hard. Nursing on demand and middle of the night wakings (plus all of these hormones!) leave me feeling very emotionally and physically drained. My husband is wonderful, but he’s exhausted from taking care of all the meals and the older kids and his own job. So we are slowly finding our way through this season, trying to be creative in how we connect with our community, giving each other lots of grace. We would have been hunkered down with the baby anyway, but not to this degree. It is a lot to manage every day. But still, in the midst of a strange and scary season, we are so grateful for sweet baby snuggles and lots of family bonding time that we might not have had in this same intense way. We are definitely creating memories that will last a lifetime!

  20. This is the sweetest, most uplifting collection. Sending good vibes to all of the women having babies during this unusual time and the nurses/doulas/midwives/partners who help them.

  21. Melissa Dunn says...

    What a beautiful post, truly amazing women and stories. Much love Jo. Thank you for what you do!

  22. Savitha says...

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful, heartwarming stories. As an adoptive mom who met my son when he was a day old, I am so thrilled to see the really inclusive approach you’re taking here. There are lot of different ways to “have a baby” — thank you for setting it up in such a way that all of us who are parents, regardless of how got here, can see ourselves. This is exactly the kind of content that I have come to expect from CoJ. Love you all so much, and I hope you and everyone in your world is doing as well as can be expected.

  23. caitlin says...

    Holy tears Batman.

    Thank you for finding these stories, Cup of Jo, and thank you to all these mommas for sharing.

  24. Saba says...

    This was the sweetest and gave me a good, happy cry. Congratulations mamas!

  25. Sarah says...

    Oh my goodness these stories were so beautiful to read! Thank you so much for this post. I actually teared up when I watched the video and seeing Stephanie’s husband’s reaction!

  26. Jo says...

    I’m sobbing at my desk watching the video; thank you Stephanie for sharing.

  27. Rebecca says...

    These stories are all so amazing! Women are so strong. I’m crying just thinking about both my births and what they have been like without my partner. Wow.

  28. Jane I. says...

    Women are the STRONGEST beings on the planet!!! My goodness – I can’t even believe some of these stories. I am awe-struck.

  29. Julie says...

    I’m due in 2 weeks and crying right now reading all these. Very scared, but this makes me feel not as alone. “We are all in this together”.

    Thank you for this post.

    • Debora W Kuan says...

      So am I! These last couple of weeks have been such a roller coaster ride, first learning I couldn’t have my doulas, then worrying that I wouldn’t have my husband there either (we are in CT, close to NYC), also wondering if I should try to have a home birth (though I’m technically high-risk because my first was preterm, so my OBs have said no each time I have brought it up). Good luck to you, Julie. And thank you so much for this post, Cup of Jo!

    • Julie says...

      Totally agree Debora! I feel like I’ve constantly been lowering my expectations for this birth experience. It’s my first so there are lots of nerves.
      Best of luck to you as well. Excited for us both to hopefully have a good experience and have our little ones safe at home in 2 weeks (give or take!). Thinking of you.

  30. Steph says...

    My wife gave birth on March 17th, just as self-isolation and quarantine orders were kicking in. It was a scheduled c section so we know that that was the day. By 10am we had our baby girl and were back in recovery. The mom and baby unit was limiting visitors to 2 at a time, over age 12, and healthy. Her parents were watching our older child so when they came to visit that evening, I had to meet them in the lobby to bring my son up, and then come tag them in while I walked outside with our kiddo and wife’s parents met our new daughter. By the time we were discharged 48 hours later, the hospital was permitting a single, named adult companion (presumably the other parent) to stay/visit the new mom. I had a bright orange bracelet that I had to wear in addition to the one with baby’s name on it. Surreal, but obviously (and necessarily) it got worse from there.
    We feel like our daughtered arrive right before s*** really hit the fan and we are grateful. The doctors and nurses were AWESOME. They kept apologizing for things, like the self-service snack room being closed.
    What I keep telling friends now, five weeks out, is that we would have been hibernating with our newborn anyway, limiting guests to limit general germ exposure, so it hasn’t felt that different. Of course we would LOVE to have our families over to take turns holding baby and entertaining our older kid, but that time will come and right now we’re doing it all on our own and surviving. We feel stronger because of this situation, and so lucky to have gotten through unscathed.

  31. Lee Bee Hian says...

    Thank you so much for this. I think it’s really helpful to have such coverage of how people are dealing with the Covid-19 fallout in the best way they can. Really points to the strength of the human spirit! And Moms!!

    Which made me want to share this other amazing & heartwarming story I read today about mothers on lockdown delivering breastmilk to their babies who are miles away from them:

  32. Maggie says...

    Scheduled for a repeat c-section on Friday, so this gave me #allthefeels. So excited to meet my baby girl, but wishing my husband were allowed to spend more time with us at the hospital. My doctor has set the expectation that he can only join us in the OR, and then it will be ~48 hours before he sees again for pick-up. Have to figure out how we’re going to do the in-person intro for my three-year-old when we get home.

    My doctor mentioned that her friend found a silver lining to the fact that they can’t have visitors: grandparents, friends, etc, can’t fawn over the baby in the same way and make older siblings feel sidelined. The friend thinks this has helped her older child bond with the baby. Hoping we’re lucky enough to experience that, too.

  33. Lucy Hall says...

    Wow these stories are so generous and beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you all for sharing

  34. Jennifer says...

    Thank you for this post. I’m 28 weeks pregnant with my first. My husband and I moved out of NYC a year and a half ago, and my heart goes out to everyone there, and a special thought to all the mamas being super strong during this time. I’m in CA now, and have gone to my last 3 doctors appointments alone in a mask. My doctors have been very supportive, and understanding of my worries. I’m super bummed because I haven’t had the opportunity to make a lot of friends here yet, and was looking forward to taking prenatal yoga classes, and birth classes, and meeting new people. Now everything is virtual, and much quieter. I have been assured I am allowed 1 support person at time of birth, so I feel very, very lucky that my husband will be there. But my mom and family on the east coast are worried they won’t be able to visit as planned. It’s a different world for sure- and not something any of us expected. But I’m trying to stay positive and let this be an exercise in letting go- of expectations and control- since neither of those things are a sure part of a birth anyway. Strength and light to all the parents and parents-to-be.

    • Katherine says...

      Aw that’s a lot of adjustment! I’m sorry you haven’t been able to connect with people since moving! We moved to the Bay Area in CA 2.5 years ago and my best decision with that was joining a MOPS group to get to know other moms. Hopefully you have one of those nearby and can connect with them! A lot of us are holding digital meetings until we can meet again in person so maybe ask about joining one?? ☺️

    • Jennifer says...

      Thanks for the tip Katherine! I will definitely check it out!

    • Haylee says...

      Hi Jennifer :) I’m also newly in CA (LA area) without family and 32 weeks pregnant. Such a surreal experience! I think one of the strangest moments for me was realizing at my first OB appointment after all of this started that my husband might have already heard the baby’s heartbeat on the US for the last time before he comes, since as you said visits are done solo and masked now. It’s been an adjustment, feeling all these changes in my body and not really knowing what to expect when the baby comes, and sending “bump updates” to family and feeling both isolated and connected at once–but as you said, expectations and control aren’t a sure part of a birth anyway. It’s also been a good exercise in perspective for me, as a lot of the experiences I had planned or hoped for are often not available to others anyway, COVID-19 or not (though it’s still okay to mourn). Something that has felt meaningful to me has been the kindness of strangers when I’m out in my neighborhood for a walk decompressing or grabbing groceries. It feels like they are a little more aware of me than usual :) there was a woman working at the grocery store the other day that saw me and said a flow of encouraging things, and it really lifted my spirits. Hope you’re finding the same encouragement and support through perhaps unexpected avenues through all of this too! Sending love <3 we got this!

  35. Victoria Greenberg says...

    Thank you so much for providing this kind of information and coverage for readers.
    I am an OB/GYN and my heart breaks limiting visitors (we are allowing one support person during labor, but did briefly entertain the idea of no visitors, particularly for patients fleeing from NYC). It is refreshing to see women and families grateful for their experiences and their excellent nurses.

    At a time when we’re working around the clock and occasionally feel vilified, it is nice to feel appreciated despite these hard rules.
    As many above have said, I also do want to emphasize that it IS ok to feel scared, upset, angry, and confused. Labor is not easy in any circumstance and it is understandably even more terrifying now.

    Thank you again for your great content.

  36. Sarah Davis says...

    Thank you for these beautiful stories. Such power to each journey. Love and strength to each of these lovely humans.

    I’m once again struck about how representation and diverse your story telling is. I notice often on the blog the degree to which you bring such a wide array of lived experiences and identities, and I really value that. Thank you for the intention you bring,

  37. Amy says...

    JOANNA. Bravo! You always manage to speak to the right things, the important things, in the most honest and thoughtful way. Jo is basically a national treasure, am I right?

    • Dawn says...

      You said it perfectly, Amy! A national treasure, indeed.

  38. Verena says...

    Thank you for your moving stories. I live in Munich and I had a baby (No 3) eight weeks ago, just before everything started. I am so grateful my husband was able to be with me, my mum-in-law could take care of our two older kids on the day and they were all able to visit me and newborn Anna anytime in the hospital. We are now in week 6 of the lockdown, and the hardest thing now is the grandparents not being able to see and hold little Anna, who is growing so fast, without knowing when they will be able to hold her again.
    Thanks for sharing these stories, I makes me feel connected. We are all in this together.

  39. Kirsten Cowie says...

    My son was born at the beginning of February, only a few weeks later and our experience would have been so different. My heart goes out to all brand new and expectant mums, but I think Lizzy’s advice is spot on, the anticipation can be much scarier than the reality. Know you are so incredibly strong, and this is just one final step before meeting your beautiful baby. Chatting with family and friends sounds like such a lovely way to have that support and love throughout!

    We feel like we’ve been in isolation for 3 months already, which is a little strange. While we’re disappointed that our son hasn’t met his grandpa, uncles, cousins and friends, we’ve been able to extend that sleepy, delirious new baby bubble and enjoy getting to know each other. One wonderful benefit of my husband working at home is watching him bond with the baby, making the most of their extra time together (not to mention all the extra help with nappy (diaper) changes).

    However, it can make an already anxiety inducing time even tougher. To any new parents who need to hear this (including myself) we are not going through this alone and we are all doing the best we can. Our little ones will only thrive with all this extra time with their adults and siblings, and we’ll have an amazing story to tell them about their first few months!

    Kirsten (from London) xx