Motherhood

How Are You, New Parents?

mom and baby

My neighborhood friend just had a baby…

I bumped into them on the street the other day. They were on a walk, getting some fresh air, and I asked her how things were going. “It feels isolating, for sure,” my friend told me, as her daughter snuggled in the carrier. “New parenthood is hard in normal times, but now our relatives aren’t able to visit. I can’t even really make mom friends at the playground. It’s just tough.”

Today I wanted to make space for new parents who are navigating this global pandemic with a baby in their arms. How are you doing? What’s your sweet baby’s name? How are things going? Please tell us below, as a kind of open forum. Wish I could chat with you in person while bouncing your baby on my knee — or at least send you Jeni’s ice cream.

As a reader once said, “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.”

mom and baby

P.S. Breastfeeding in public, and my motherhood mantra.

(Photos by Nikaela Marie.)

  1. Jess says...

    Another “M” name here – Maren was born on March 24th, just has the lockdowns began. She’s an earth angel and while we did miss the visits, the food, the hugs, the naps, and so forth, we feel incredibly fortunate that she and her 5 yr old brother along with my husband and I have built an unbreakable bond through this. Job loss came, loneliness came, but then so did therapy and a lot of love.

  2. Elissa says...

    Monroe is the first M name for a boy I thought of.

  3. hannah says...

    Man, this hits home. My son is 10 and a half months. We hit the 3 month mark, thinking OK, we’re getting the hang of this, now let’s come up for air! and then Covid hit very soon after. Its been very isolating and very much a shot to our confidence as parents. Friends without children would say, oh but he’s so little – imagine homeschooling your 5 year old. They just couldn’t understand that it was HARD having an infant at home, trying to work remotely, and fearing for the health of our family. At first I wasnt sure if anxiety stemmed from the pandemic or being a first time mom – I realized later, both. Get in line, working mom guilt. It felt like too much. But, we did it – we’re doing it. Our son, Henry, is happy and full of magic and wonder. I think this experience has changed my parenting philosophy forever. Other mamas, hang in there. Cry about it, laugh about it – whatever feels good in your heart. I’m with you!

  4. Dani says...

    My son’s name is Maximus, which at first felt like a really big name for a tiny baby, but 18 months later and our sweet toddler’s personality matches his name.

  5. Wanda says...

    We’re having our daughter next month after two pregnancy losses in 2019. For me, 2020 is just a terrible/trippy continuation of the grief of last year.

    We’re naming her Milena – after my father, Miłosz, who passed away in December 2019. She is already my ray of sunshine — no doubt we can’t wait to meet her!

  6. J. Elizabeth says...

    While quarantining and pregnant this summer, I felt like Alice from Alice in Wonderland – specifically the part where she drank the potion and grew and grew and became so enormous her body burst through the doors and windows. That said, I reminded myself nearly everyday that it is a privilege to stay safe at home.

  7. Bree says...

    We just had our baby girl, Elena Ruth, 2 weeks ago. She is our first born after suffering a miscarriage last year. Isolating is the best description of how I’ve felt. I missed celebrating our baby as we pictured with a baby shower and having our friends and family meet her. We’ve allowed the grandparents to meet her but only while wearing a mask and even still I felt anxious so we are going back to our little cave and will no longer allow anyone in our home even if they offer to wear a mask. I’ve had just about the roughest time. Every time anyone asks me how I am, I burst into tears.

    It’s pretty intense to say the least but we’re happy to just have our baby girl here with us.

  8. K says...

    I’m due with my second in just over 4 weeks. I found out I was pregnant 2 days before our stay at home/work from home began. I’ve recently realized how forgotten I feel. Obviously everyone is dealing with the psychological impacts of 2020, so I understand. This pregnancy has truly made me feel like a vessel, just here to carry the baby. Stay locked away from people to keep the two of us safe; No/Very few check-ins from friends & family on how I’m doing or what we need for #2; Constant guilt on not allowing grandparents to visit the 2 year old, and not be here during/immediately after birth. My husband hasn’t been able to join for any of my prenatal visits or ultrasounds. Spending the entirety of this pregnancy on lockdown has been tough.

    All that to say – I’m so appreciative of the fact that this isn’t our first. I would be an anxious mess if I hadn’t been through it all and had all those happy experiences once before. Here to send my love to all you first time mommas. And here to send love to everyone trying to navigate what’s best for their little ones (no matter the age) at this time.

  9. Maeve says...

    Some other boy M names…. Matthew (our son’s name :); Moses, Mason, Marcus/Markus, Mitchell, Marcel, Micah

    • Rachel says...

      My son’s middle name is Marek and I adore it as a first name. It works well for both a child and the grown up they will be someday. It’s unique and classic at the same time. Naming someone for their whole life is harder than it seems. I’m sure you’ll pick something perfect!

  10. J says...

    So much love to all you mamas and your sweet little ones.

    Not a new mom as I have a 3yo who makes my heart flood, but I will be a new-again mom in mid-December–or whenever our second little girl makes her arrival. (Side note: we are an M name family as well :)

    Conceiving this baby was a little tougher than the first time around, and as luck would have it our 1st cycle of IUI in March worked (!!!). During the procedure they told me, “We hope this works for you, it may be the last of these we do for a while.” This was a week into our stay-at-home order where I live. That clinic is now closed, likely forever. The weeks of my pregnancy line up exactly with the weeks of COVID ‘shutdown’ here. Sometimes that feels fun, sometimes stark, but I could not be more thankful.

  11. Erica says...

    My son was born in July 2019, so he was 7 months old when COVID hit. I just put together that he is 15 months old on Thursday…so he’ll have lived more of his life in a pandemic than he hasn’t. That’s a jarring thought.

  12. Marshall. Mathias. Morgan. Mick. Maverick.

  13. Erica says...

    How about Malachi?
    I’ve always thought it was such a lovely boy’s name.

  14. Jessica says...

    I had a baby last October. She is about to be one. Most of our family was able to meet her when she was first born, but once March hit that all stopped. We have slowly allowed our parents to come to visit but most everyone else has just known her as a newborn. Now she is becoming a toddler with so much personality. I haven’t been able to meet other new moms to start to build my support network. I mourn the year I missed with her.

  15. Jilleun says...

    My (1st) baby boy, August was born April 1st. When we entered the hospital, everything was normal. When we left two days later every nurse had a mask and face shield. We came home to a different world.
    It’s been awful honestly.
    We have family members in the same town that have never held or touch August, because they’re essential workers.
    Our state (UT) continues to have high numbers which is so frustrating.
    I’m grateful for technology and therapy but ugh It. Is. Hard.

  16. Taina Mirach says...

    My son is named Micah is he is obviously my favorite person, so his name makes me really happy!

  17. PAIGE says...

    Marcelo!

  18. Annette says...

    How about Mikel? It’s Indonesia version of Michael

  19. Sacha says...

    I love Miles. It was my first choice for our son’s name (born May 2019) but my husband couldn’t get on board with it. Since I essentially named our daughter (now 9), I felt like I had to let him take the lead for our second. He settled on Rafe, which I also love and suits him perfectly. But for M names – Miles is perfection. X

    • Ellen says...

      My son’s name is Miles. :) Highly recommend!

    • Maeve says...

      My husband’s name is Miles. Love that it’s getting so much love.

    • Song says...

      I have a Miles too. Love this name:)

  20. Ashley says...

    This is for Maggie searching for a name! (Congratulations!!!)

    Maxime
    Milo (pronounced the French way, mee-lo)
    Malek
    Marc
    Merrick
    Matias
    Marcel

    • Allie says...

      I’ll add Mercer

  21. Tory says...

    In early March, my best friend found out she was pregnant by in-vitro. This has been a terrifying time for her. There have been lots of phone calls, video chats and socially distanced gift-sending. Since we live far apart, this pandemic pregnancy has brought us closer together. The pandemic forced my husband and I to put our in-vitro on hold. But I’m so occupied pouring all my love and time into my friend’s pregnancy that I’m not as upset or worried about getting back on track for my own little miracle. It has given me time to slow down and reflect and not stress. New mamas, you’re doing great!

  22. Lindsey S says...

    This is the truth! It’s both beautiful and brutal. My baby girl Jo was born in June. No visitors even grandparents for 6 weeks. That breaks your heart. Watching your parents be upset And being emotional as a new mom with no tribe to help. Just now are we feeling like humans again. Thank you.

  23. Amanda says...

    I had my second baby in May. Teddy is a ray of sunshine and such a welcome little soul in this otherwise dark time. It’s definitely been hard though in that we can’t celebrate his arrival with friends and family in the same way we did with his sister. We can’t get help. Or a break. I’m proud of myself for learning how to navigate my older child’s adjustment while making it through the hardest early weeks, essentially alone. My first labor/newborn time taught me so much about my personal strength, and this second experience has been a reminder of how powerful women are, always.

  24. S says...

    We like Misha! Traditionally a boy’s name (kind of like Sasha) – but can really be for any gender

  25. Natalie says...

    My first baby was born June 24th. I definitely felt some low moments in my third trimester while mourning all the moments I felt I missed – a baby shower to celebrate with family and friends all in one space, being at work and surrounded by colleagues/friends, and just seeing others in person. My husband’s work shut down in our state but he was offered temporary work in another state 12 hours away in order to keep working. Since we were terrified of the unknown, he took that, and his two weeks down there turned into 6, during the end of my 2nd trimester. I was remote teaching and was kept incredibly busy trying to navigate the new technologies that the world continuously created and improved during that time. Then our Johnny was born at the end of June, but covid was still present.

    I have a leadership position in my teacher’s union and I teach technology – suddenly those two roles became essential for general survival in my district, and I spent the entirety of my summer on daily zoom meetings with the union and district administration as well as working collaborative groups, numerous group text messages, and providing technical tutorials and support – while figuring out how to care for a newborn. He was also present on every single zoom meeting, because I didn’t get to a point where he napped in a bassinet (and not on a person) until September (the huckleberry app and exclusive pumping gave me sanity and him weight and sleep). I felt like I was not given the opportunity to enjoy the summer with him due to needs from my union role and technical role, which have never been in such extreme demand.

    However, once school did start and I am in maternity leave, while there are still union and technical needs, they are not as prolific as during the summer. Johnny is so much more active and aware, and I do feel that I am able to give my undivided attention to him. I am also relieved that my parents live 5 minutes away, and we go there for dinner two nights a week. This is my parents’ first grandchild, and my father hovers by the front door as they await our arrival for dinner. I miss my friends, but at least video calling is now a typical norm, and I probably talk to them more now virtually than I did before in person.

    I go back to school in two weeks, but my mother is babysitting and I am looking forward to a predictable schedule once again, but man I am really going to miss this baby. We are soon starting a hybrid model and get to work remotely on half day Wednesdays. I look forward on those bonus days to just a 5 minute commute to see my Johnny boy instead of 40. Overall, these past 6 months have been hard and heartbreaking, but I still have a beautiful baby at the end of the day that brings such rays of sunshine to my life.

  26. natalie says...

    My son is Marley after Bob but from a literary sense the connection to Jacob isn’t so bad either. I often call him Mars

    • We named our son Marlowe and I love it! It feels classic (literary nod) and modern (the Wire). I also like it for a girl.

  27. Jenna says...

    I’m due in just 3 weeks! I found out I was pregnant at the end of January, so pretty much my entire pregnancy has been in lockdown mode at home (I live in NYC). And I can relate to everyone here posting about losing out on many of the expected joys of pregnancy.

    I am so so grateful for this community. Back in March when I was truly in a deep hole, I posted on one of these “how are you doing?” discussions and got some of the most kind and loving responses from all of you that made me cry and feel all of the feelings. I still reread that message to this day.

    I’m nervous but excited for this next step as we welcome our baby girl into the world. My husband and I are so lucky to both have our jobs and be able to work remote, and we took a lot of leaps forward in our “5-year plan” to make this situation better (moved to the outer boroughs into a bigger apartment in the same building as some of our closest friends, got a car), but the future is so uncertain.

    Sending love to all the new mamas! We’ve got this! And if anyone wants to wander around Forest Hills this winter with me and a newborn baby, I’ll be here!

  28. Sarah says...

    I resonate so much with all these other stories. Our first child, Eleanor, was born in January so we were fortunate to have a couple months with her before the pandemic upended all our lives. Our daughter has been a bright light in this year but we mourn all that we lost too- the chance to introduce her to family and friends most importantly, but also the support of our communities during this time. I’ve been journaling a lot more to be able to someday share my experience of 2020 with her.

    • Jess says...

      We have a sweet Eleanor who was born in January, too. It’s indescribable, isn’t it? Two months of falling asleep wondering how I could be so happy.

  29. Amanda L says...

    I had my beautiful baby girl Violetta in May. It was an incredible experience despite nothing going as planned, Thank God for my husband & doula.

    I live on a 75 acre family farm on the west coast. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all have homes here and are our neighbors. We have cows, chickens and horses. It feels like our own little city. My husband and I live in the old farm house that my grandfather was raised in. Before the pandemic, we wanted to move – I didn’t want to stay on the farm I was raised on. But now… I am so grateful to be here. We can grow our own food, I have SO much help with the baby, and we have a ton of maskless human connection.

    One of my friends brought her son over to meet Violetta and he hadn’t seen humans aside from his parents in months. He was terrified to see us and it was disturbing to see his reaction to other people. After that I vowed not to let my baby girl live in isolation – it’s not worth the phycological damage.

    • Sarah says...

      To be fair little one often have stranger danger even when they’re used to seeing maskless faces.

      I think parents who keep their kids isolated are still doing a great job. I’ve kept my 8 month old isolated and she’s fine! Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for.

  30. Katie says...

    My sweet firstborn, Ruby, was born in early February. As some others have mentioned, I was just starting to feel ready to get out into the world with her when COVID hit. I, too, often wonder what new motherhood would have looked like for me in “normal” times.

    I love my baby more than words can describe and am so happy to be a mom. I feel fortunate to have been able to resign from my position in a school at the end of the year and be with my daughter full time. The biggest challenge for me is that it is incredibly lonely. I wish I had more friends who were around during the day, or the opportunity to meet other moms at the playground, story time, etc.

  31. Suzanne says...

    I’m a first time mum of a beautiful boy Theodore, born in Melbourne Australia in July 2020. He is the most wonderful little guy and we are besotted. My husband and I were outrageously unprepared for parenthood and had no idea what to expect. That lack of preparedness has been the biggest blessing – lack of expectation means we weren’t disappointed when something that is ‘meant’ to occur doesn’t. Working from home meant my pregnancy went under the radar at work. That was nice in a way, but it did mean that people didn’t go easy on me in the way they would if my big belly was out on show. It made for a pretty stressful few months leading up to my leave.
    COVID stripped away all of the fanfare that comes along with pregnancy. I actually liked that part of it. There was no baby shower or organised celebration, which meant less flashy gifts and more of the things that actually matter – messages of support from family and friends, conversations with those I hold dearest about the experience and genuine concern and love from those closest to me. I loved that part of it.
    Our interstate borders were shut, which meant my parents and siblings had to cancel their trips to meet Ted. We don’t know when they will get to meet him in person, which makes me desperately sad for them as I know it must be hard to have a grandson/nephew that you can’t cuddle.
    But now having had my son, and experiencing the all-consuming joy and love that comes with having a child, I can’t help but think myself lucky that I’m not a parent of generations prior farewelling my son as he goes to war. Yes, isolation is a mental battle – but knowing that I’m staying home to keep others‘ sons and daughters safe truly makes it absolutely bearable.

    • Annette says...

      I’m sending hi and cuddle to Ted from Jakarta ❤️

  32. Pei says...

    Had #2 in March – two weeks after Boston shut down. Feeling incredibly grateful to have good health, food and shelter in these uncertain times while also mourning maternity leave and being able to share my last baby with family and friends. One thing that has brought me continuous delight, inspiration and perspective is checking in on the giant panda baby cam. That panda momma is amazing and I’m astounded at how universal and similar we are in caring for our babes every needs. Also great for middle of the night feeds entertainment. Be well and take care of yourselves all <3.

    https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/panda-cam

  33. Emily says...

    Our daughter, Alice, was born in early Feb. just before Covid truly hit the US. I had a month of “normal” newborn life (with those ups and downs) but the 8 months since have been so unexpected. While Alice is healthy and a bright light in our world, this is such a challenging time. I was let go from my job while still on maternity leave, and now am making a massive career shift while taking care of our daughter full time. It wasn’t what I expected to be doing, but I’m grateful regardless. Thank you for asking!

    • Emily M. says...

      Dear Emily, my name is also Emily and I have a nearly two year old named Alice. I, too, am leaping into a massive career shift.

      I’m sorry that you’re going through this magical time during a pandemic. Much love and respect to you. xo

  34. Hanna says...

    My rainbow baby, Maren Emilia (named after her older sister in Heaven) was born May 21st, at home. I have a five and three year old to take care of on top of a newborn, and it’s been exhausting and surreal having a baby during a pandemic, but I am thankful for a number of things: the time we’ve been able to invest solely in our family, the beautiful home birth experience we had with our midwives, and most importantly, having everyone be healthy and safe. Last year when we lost our sweet Emilia, I was in the lowest, darkest place of my life, and as hard as the pandemic has been on our family, I experiencing that loss has given me a new appreciation for the gift that children are.

    • Chanelle says...

      My Esmé is 8 months old, born in late January . I spent the first two months inside a lot just soaking her up and adjusting. I was ready to re-enter the social circle when Covid hit. Ive also returned to work “at home”. Working from home in a one bedroom apartment with an infant has been a struggle like Ive never known before. And not being able to hang with my friends who have babies, to have a safe space to process all of this, has taken a toll on my mental health and, definitely how I parent and my marriage. Finally decided to start seeing a therapist to help me find better ways to deal with postpartum and well the trauma of the pandemic. Trying to take it day by day and find the joys of everyday. Just want to be my best for my little girl.

  35. M says...

    This is so timely. I have been feeling pretty lonely. I am a new mom and my 1st child, a boy, was born mid April 2020 (due date was May 12!). I was pregnant while at work. My work I felt didn’t support me that much. I had been there 3 years and no one else has been pregnant or had a kid in my time there. No one threw a shower or had an event for me which felt a little sad, since for me, this was the biggest event and journey I’ve ever gone through. I literally one day brought in cookies for everyone to celebrate myself in a way. When COVID started, I was working from home and so people also couldn’t really see I was pregnant and how big my bump was getting on video which was interesting. My baby shower that my amazing sisters and mom threw was supposed to be on March 29, and as the date got closer they ended up getting really creative and turned it into a virtual shower. They did an AMAZING job, but it was really depressing when I realized I couldn’t have my strong female friends around to celebrate in person. I cried quite a lot, even before my son was born. I also couldn’t have my sisters and mom at my birth which I really wanted originally. 2020 has sucked except for my incredible son, Bruno. My husband and I love him beyond description, and he has redeemed 2020 for us! I wish there were breastfeeding support groups I could have attended, and new mom groups since I feel like I’m swimming along a lot of the time. I wonder what a non-covid pregnancy and birth and new momhood would have looked like. Luckily my sister has a baby who’s 6 months older than my son, and a good friend had her baby 2 weeks after mine so I at least have some people going through similar situations. I want to be around support groups in person and for people to meet my son and see how frikin cute he is. Who knows when that will happen, next spring or summer? I really hope so.

  36. Haylee says...

    I got goosebumps reading this post. And tears came to my eyes reading the first few comments. I had my first, a baby boy named Charlie Wells, in June. It’s been quite difficult and isolating to say the least, so it means so much to be thought of <3

    • Lindsay McCready says...

      I had Sloane Ivy August 12th, she is my first baby and In Toronto we went into lock down round mid March, so for most of my second and all my third trimester. I’m a teacher and threw myself into virtual teaching to keep myself distracted from all the “unknown” of having a baby during a global pandemic. There were many nights I would cry on my husbands chest because I was afraid of the world we were bringing her into, but also felt grateful I was healthy and so was she. Now she’s here and perfect and I can’t wait to watch her discover the world around her, even the unpredictable bits.

  37. Catie says...

    Our amazing and unexpected little girl, McCann, was born in early March – a week before the world shut down. She was also breech and I had complications from my C-Section. My mom was able to help for about a week, and then my in-laws for 5 days…after that, we didn’t see another single living soul for 10 weeks. On top of that, all of our friends who had said they would bring by food or send dinner delivery just seemed to suddenly forget (I completely understand that everyone was wrapped up in their own lives trying to navigate uncharted territory). I already knew this would be the hardest thing I would ever do, but being completely alone in it took both my husband and me to a very dark place. Now that I am back at work and we found a wonderful childcare situation for our needs, things are better (also, antidepressants!). However, we live in a place that is not taking the virus very seriously, so we still very rarely leave our home, and M has never met any of our friends or extended family. A good friend told me, “it’s a good thing you and your husband are her whole world right now!”

    • Annette says...

      I’m sorry that your friends suddenly forgot the promises they made to you. Life happens and gets in the way of initially good intention. I hope you and your little family are being healthy and doing well.

  38. Megan says...

    Our first child, our little boy Milo, was born August 1st. Sometimes I feel like I am living in Groundhog Day. We see the same places in our home and neighborhood again and again and again and I wonder if our kid will be one of those weird, not well adjusted kids because he never got out enough or met enough new people. My parents drove 3 days and 31 hours from Massachusetts to Colorado to meet him. We really appreciated that time. Solidarity to all the new mothers trying to figure this out. It’s not an easy time.

  39. T says...

    I had a wondrous baby girl in March, right as the world turned upside down. Her name is Mae and she’s the brightest spot of my whole life, especially during such a dark and uncertain time. The effects of living through the pandemic have been two-fold: it was easy to burrow in a foxhole with our newborn for many months and get through the hazy days of early parenthood with minimal interruptions. Now, as she becomes a more complex little person, the restrictions and risks of pandemic life are affecting us more and more — she’s needed some evaluations at a children’s hospital, which meant COVID testing for baby, and our family being exposed to a high-traffic area. Ugh. I also cannot overstate how much the social isolation impacted our (rough) breastfeeding journey — our families are out-of-state and my mother passed away in January, so not being able to access a breastfeeding support group or interact with peers who had nursed was really hard. I felt like I was on shallow latch/chapped nipple Island all spring.

  40. Olivia Jane says...

    Oh I love reading these posts and feeling the pride with which you parents are sharing your children’s names. They’re all beautiful. You can tell they’re all so imbued with love.

  41. Shannon says...

    First time mom of a baby boy born in June in Portland, Oregon. Between the pandemic, protests, and “Beyond Air Quality Index” smoke-choked air that confined us to not just our house but a few better sealed rooms for two weeks, this has been tough. Our families are older and live out of state so they have not been able to visit. All of our best-laid plans for managing post-partum have evaporated. None of our friends have been ideal candidates to bubble up with for one reason or another. Once my husband went back to work he found his hours increased to 12/day and income decreased by half. That has left me alone with a newborn for 13 hours a day, no extra cash to spend, nowhere to go, no one to see. On his days off, I go to work. This has been one of the most isolating and disappointing experiences of our lives. To think, we waited and planned and maneuvered to have a child at the most ideal time in our personal/professional lives. Lol.

    • Gemma says...

      Hi Shannon, my heart aches for you – that sounds so so so hard. I was isolated with my first – a long story I just wrote out but then deleted because this isn’t about me – and anyway it wasn’t even 2020, which is a whole other layer (or rather, about 17 layers) of trauma and stress and hardship. Wish I could say or do something to make it better. You will get through this. xoxox

    • T says...

      From one new mom to another, I am so sorry that you have had to endure this. The learning curve with new babies is steep, even with the most robust support systems. Civil unrest and climate emergencies and public health crises and economic collapse certainly make this acutely isolating and scary. The fact that you’re enduring, you keep at it, makes you a great mom. You deserve so much better!

    • Lindsay says...

      Hi Shannon,
      I’m in Colorado with a 9-month old, and while our air quality is only half as bad as yours, I agree that it’s one of the worst parts of all this! Being sealed up inside the house with air purifiers blasting is so miserable. It’s really maddening to feel like not even the AIR is safe right now, for f*ck’s sake. We’re also both working from home, in a one bedroom. Someday everything will be good again. :(
      Lindsay

  42. Thank you for this post. My heart goes out to all of you new mamas during this time. I know how crucial it was for me to find my village during my first 6 months of being a new mom. One thing I can offer is a way to have a remote village. I do a unique music class based in music therapy and psychology. But most of all it is a support group for parents. And especially now moms are finding the classes essential to their well being.
    I hope this post is allowed here. I just want to offer a resource.
    http://www.babyintune.com.
    Thanks for the blog! I’ve been a fan for years (and a neighbor :)

  43. Erin says...

    We had our first baby, a boy we named Elliott, the first week New Zealand went into lockdown. He was a c-section breech birth, which my husband was thankfully allowed to be present for, but had to leave straight after. For the following few days, it was just me and my baby in hospital – I have huge respect for the medical staff who did their best by all the new mums, despite being shorthanded in the middle of a pandemic.

    After we got home, there was the initial disappointment that our families could not visit for the first couple of months or so, but the flip side was that instead of fighting traffic every morning/night my husband got to spend time with his son as he worked from home. My brother was also forced to return from overseas, so Elliott got to meet an uncle we thought would not see him until much further down the line.

    We found that we could not find newborn size nappies in the supermarket, nor newborn size clothing online. Thankfully these shortages only lasted a short while after the lockdown, and we are grateful that this short period of hardship allows us to live relatively free of the fear our son might contract Covid-19 in the community.

    Elliott’s oldest paternal uncle is travelling up to see him for the first time tomorrow, and he will have finally met all his immediate family! Hope life returns to normal for all new mums soon – although who knows what the new normal looks like with a baby anyway!

    • Erin says...

      Also – a New Zealand midwife has compiled a book of stories from women who became mums during the pandemic if anyone is interested/wants to support: https://www.instagram.com/mamasinlockdown/

  44. Lisa says...

    My son (our second) was born on March 28th and I have a screen shot of the NYT headline from the day we brought him home that said, “half the world under stay at home order.” It was surreal to say the least. Now, 6 months later, my husband and i comment on the intense highs and lows of this time. Our 2 year old not getting the additional support or attention from family looking out for him during this period of adjustment. Our baby not meeting anyone for months. The lack of support and celebration we experienced compared to the birth of our first. But there are also many bright spots. The perspective and joy new life brings. The additional family time we get with my husband and I both working from home after our parental leave ran out. Our immense appreciation for the outdoors and having a spring baby. And last but certainly not least getting to leave my breast pump in the box.

  45. Tess says...

    We just adopted a newborn baby girl. Her first mom, myself, and my husband welcomed her into the world in August. We named her Iris because irises were a sign of hope for us during our difficult journey to start a family. We are loving being parents and feel so honored that she’s our daughter through the blessing of adoption. I’m just so grateful everyday!

    • Stacey says...

      So sweet about your baby Iris! Congratulations!

    • Sonya says...

      Beautiful name and story! Congratulations to you both and hope you’re travelling well X

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Congratulations on Iris’s arrival! I love the name and what it symbolizes. Iris Origo is a historical hero of mine. She has an amazing story if you’re unfamiliar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_Origo

  46. Emily says...

    My 2nd was born in October. I do not for a minute take for granted how lucky I was to give birth to and introduce him to the world for a few months before SIP orders and Covid. Birth and infancy these days must be so challenging, especially for first time parents. I feel you.

    But, with a baby coming up on a year who is wiggling and squealing, my husband and I often look at each other over dinner as the baby throws food on the floor and my preschooler announces he’s done 6 minutes after the meal was served, that there’s a lot we couldn’t take advantage of in the outside world anyway these days. Ever tried to hold an 11 month old on a 6 hour flight? “Run” into Target with 2 little kids in tow? No way. Early parenthood has always been safer at home- now the rest of the world understands how isolating it can feel. (But the growing availability of curbside pickup with kids buckled in in the back seat?! Amazing! Let’s keep that!)

  47. Lindsay says...

    As a first time mom due in November, I have been enjoying this post immensely. It’s so nice not to feel alone, and so strengthening to read the stories of all the moms who have delivered safely amidst the pandemic and are starting to navigate their new normal. We have been struggling recently about what to do about family – my parents are out of state. We haven’t seen them at all while I’ve been pregnant and are anticipating we won’t see them until after birth, it’s so upsetting. My mom has recently offered to come up early and we are struggling with whether accepting early help would be safe/stressful/a health risk/ comforting? For anyone else in the same boat – how did you navigate??

    • Ana D says...

      We asked for the help and specified what precautions they’d need to take before coming and staying with us. The first month is a hurricane – get your help in place. Two adult humans are not enough to take care of one newborn and themselves, especially when one of them is recovering from pregnancy and delivery.

      Get the help. Signed, Mom of a 7-month-old born at the start of US pandemic.

    • Mallory says...

      I have a baby girl due in November as well and live in the UK while my family is in the states. My mother is coming to stay, but will have to come almost a month early because she needs to quarantine for 2 weeks after her arrival. We’re setting her up in the room downstairs and will attempt the keep her separate from me for at least the first few days to see if she has any symptoms. The hospital is also suggesting limited exposure to other people, so we may partially quarantine the 2 weeks before my due date. I’m not sure I can do a full month of quarantine especially since you can’t predict a baby’s arrival. She’s then sticking around until right before Christmas. It’s much longer than I think she’d like to stay and she won’t be allowed in the hospital – only one birthing partner permitted, but at least she will meet her first granddaughter.

    • BK says...

      I’m due at the end of November and my mom is planning to stay with us for a couple weeks after the baby is born. Fortunately she lives within a few hours’ drive distance and is willing to totally quarantine once I hit 36 weeks. If someone can quarantine for 2 weeks, and also get a COVID test, that makes me feel a lot more comfortable. With other family, especially my in-laws who live a 13-hour drive away and can’t quarantine, we’re really struggling. Our tentative plan is to allow them indoors and to hold the baby but only if they’re wearing masks (but this still makes me nervous– unless for necessary repairs, we haven’t let ANYONE inside our house since the pandemic began). We also bought a gas patio heater so we can socially distance with people during the winter and hopefully feel less isolated. It’s really, really hard, though. I’d hate to deny our parents the ability to meet and hold their first grandchild, but we’re of course anxious. I don’t think there’s a right answer.

    • Danielle says...

      I am also a first time mom due in November. The stress of COVID and what to do with family meeting the baby gets to me everyday. Our plan right now is to quarantine three weeks ahead of my due date and my parents who are a five hour drive from us will do the same. They will then plan to drive to us once I go to the hospital. However, I am nervous about being exposed in the hospital and then bringing it back to them. But not having them here when we come home and having to wait to take tests and get the results is so upsetting to me. I’m not sure what we will end up doing – keeping track of the hospitalization rates at the moment and since they can drive we are lucky that the decision can be made last minute. Anyone else worried about the exposure in the hospital? Thank you for this post, as sad as it is to see so many struggling it is nice to not feel alone.

    • Baby was born May 16 and my mom & dad stayed with us May 10-31 (roughly). We all quarantined before & took the small risk that being together added. My mom and dad cooked, cleaned and took the babe at 5am each morning so my partner and I could sleep until a late breakfast. It was the best gift I could ever imagine. Recovery after birth is frequently really hard for at least 6 weeks. I thought I would walk out of the hospital triumphant but I could barely walk a few feet to the chair to be wheeled out to the car. If you can have the help and minimize the risk (it will never be zero), I suggest you do it.

  48. Jess says...

    My daughter was born at the end of May. I echo the comments and feelings that many others shared. The lack of support due to Covid was difficult- especially with an energetic three year old. My daughter has only seen my husband, my mom (who is in our social pod) and I without a mask- but I came to realize a heartwarming thing. She has met many other adults, from 6’ away and wearing masks but she always knows when they smile at her and she smiles back. It is so hopeful to me that she can read their expressions just through their eyes. Who knows how long we will have to wear masks but know that a 4-month old can smile back at an adult they just met despite the mask. ❤️

    • Annette says...

      It’s funny how babies’ eyes make this straight line and how their cheeks and jaws lift up to show that they are also smiling back :)

  49. Tiffany says...

    I love this post and how these comments truly feel like a conversation with friends. My heart goes out to all those who were separated from family or missed all the special celebrations that come with babies (especially the first!) or couldn’t leave their homes just for some fresh air.

    I felt very lucky to live in an area where we were at least able to go outside for a walk, especially with my 2 year old who loves the outdoors. Our son was born in June so I was the super pregnant lady chasing my toddler through the neighborhood everyday. To shed a positive light on this difficult year…I have to say the kindness I felt from my neighborhood was like nothing I imagined. Everyone we walked by would ask how I was feeling, some even knew exactly how many weeks I was after months of social distance chatting on our walks, and after our son arrived we had dinner brought to our doorstop 5 days a week for the first month! My neighbor set up a meal train and people delivered delicious meals, sweet gifts and cards and lots of congratulatory wishes.

    I realize this is likely an exception to what most people experienced but it literally brings me to tears when I think of the kindness I felt. If there is one thing COVID has showed me it is the goodness in so many people.

    Sending lots of love to all the parents out there!

  50. Emma says...

    I missed this post but it couldn’t be more timely for me: I gave birth to my first child, Forrest, on September 13. I was hit hard by the “perinatal blues” in the first two weeks of his life; not because of a lack of support (I’m lucky to have a phenomenal partner and loving parents who live 15 minutes away) but because of my existential anxiety about American society. I dealt with those feelings throughout the pregnancy, but found it extremely difficult to overcome my fears (the state of our democracy, racism, climate destruction, the country’s abysmal response to COVID) and successfully emerge out of the postpartum hormonal soup. I’m doing better now–though I still deem it a successful day if I manage to not cry–and Forrest is a healthy and happy newborn, blissfully unaware that he was born during a pandemic and the worst administration in American history. But dang! could I have used a gang of CoJ mamas to walk around the block, coo at the babies through masks, and lift one another’s spirits simply by traveling the same waters together and staying afloat!

    • NJ says...

      My son was born in February and both my husband and I started going to therapy (separately) to deal with very intense existential dread of bringing a baby into this world

  51. Hil says...

    Our Josephine Pearl was born a month ago, in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave in LA. The week after we brought her home from the hospital, LA then faced horrible wildfires, which produced a thick, choking smoke that hung over the city for days- and still hasn’t gone away. In addition to continuing to quarantine for COVID, we then couldn’t even go outside in our backyard. Our 4-year old has severe asthma and our newborn has these perfect, pristine lungs. I was reading articles in the NY Times about how this smoke could cause lifelong damage on our childrens’ developing lungs. Air purifiers were sold out everywhere. Quarantining was hard enough but being shut-in our home, constantly panicking about smoke seeping in through our windows, felt truly suffocating. My husband thought I was being crazy, of course. Then we had an earthquake. It was the jolting kind of quake and it took place while I was pumping on our couch and my husband was holding the baby. We both jumped up, ran into each other, I forgot about my pump cords and milk went spurting everywhere. We immediately ran into our older daughter’s room, milk dripping everywhere. It felt scary. I started to question where we live, like I know so many have done this year. But, like so many of you have said above, I know how lucky we truly are. How fortunate we are in these times, even amidst the fires and earthquakes and coronavirus. We still have our house, I have my job. My family has been healthy. I constantly feel like I am complaining about things that I shouldn’t t be complaining about. Like how I started this post. I feel like I am not giving enough. So I’ll end with saying, I am so grateful for what is inside our little house right now. Our little world with these little people. And on good days, I can deal with the anxiety outside of our house, the environment of our country currently, the natural disasters and the state of our government. On bad days, I can hardly bare to think of these things or read the news. There’s no ‘one way’ to feel now, especially as a new mom. Sending so much love to you all.

    • Michelle says...

      Wow, that is intense. I can relate on some level, as someone who lives on the Gulf Coast. I have a newborn as well and the threat of hurricanes has felt relentless this year. I’ve felt the same anxiety about the environment, whether our family should change where we live, how our terrible leadership affects all of this…

      It’s wonderful to keep in mind what we’re grateful for and I do the same. But you’re certainly justified in complaining and feeling overwhelmed.

      Sending love out west to you!

  52. Courtney says...

    I had my sweet daughter, my second child, in late May. Her name is Gwendolyn. My daughter met one set of grandparents at two months old, and the other at over 4 months. I have a three year old son and juggling the two kids at home with a work-from-home husband in a one bedroom apartment is exhausting for sure. No help is challenging and nowhere to go is also very challenging. It’s definitely a crazy time but Gwendolyn is my light in the darkness. She just radiates. Very smiley and loving already.

  53. Jenny says...

    I’m a first time mom and my son, Milo, was born early September. So many of these comments resonate with me – the mourning of a “normal” pregnancy with friends and family and celebration and connection, the changed hospital experience, and the decisions you have to make in order to protect your loved ones. In March, I told coworkers I was pregnant and the next week we all went home. I shared updates on my pregnancy and tried to celebrate the small changes with people through social media and “show me your bump” requests on Zoom calls- it felt strange to be the one updating rather than naturally responding to things like that in person and with friends. Out of everything, I dreaded writing an email with a list of protocol for visits to see Milo once he was born. It felt so restrictive and heavy handed, but it was the right thing to do and still is. While I definitely still feel isolated I feel like the pandemic weirdly prepared me mentally and emotionally for the journey to motherhood where there is less support on a daily basis. I make myself a list of small and big things I’d like to do while Milo naps. They can be as small as “shower before noon” or “paint my toenails” or “watch a rom com”. Holding all these mamas in my heart and cherishing the conversations I have with moms in my circle through this crazy year.

  54. Jennifer says...

    I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd child the week before the uk went into lockdown. I then got covid (although didn’t realise at the time as only lost my smell/taste and had a little bit of shortness of breath but no fever or cough!) I work in anaesthetics in the hospital but have not been able to due to the high risk nature of it! I miss my normal job! I’m now due next month and face that our baby will be arriving during our second wave! So trying to prepare ourselves for what is the crazy thought of having a second tiny human to look after! Much love x

    • Sophie says...

      My first daughter Ida was born on February 21st, 3 days prior to the first case of covid in our country (Austria/Europe) and exactly 3 weeks before we went into 7 weeks of strict lockdown. Oddly enough, the first thing people always tell me is that we as a family and especially me benefitted from the crisis, as my husband spent the better part of our daughters first 6 months on earth at home, first in lockdown, than wfh. While this is somehow true, and having him with us was great, my mental health did definitely take a toll. The isolation from all my friends and close family together with the lingering uncertainity caused some hefty panic attacs and severe anxiety, that took me some time to recognize as being not “normal after birth” (but crying every evening for weeks in desperate fear that your perfect little baby will die is probably not normal). And as much as I loved the hubby being there to watch every first step – it still hurt a lot that my mum, dad, siblings and close girlfriends did not experience even the tiniest bit of my little wonder’s first few weeks, a time that was so wonderful and terrifying at the same time to me. Currently we do pretty good with the restrictions that are in place; going to a bar, nightclub, restaurant or shopping in a mall has never been less of a priority anyways. But Ida is already very sociable, loves her grandparents and seeing other kids, so I’m deeply concerned that another lockdown could do her harm.

  55. Erin says...

    Hi! Thanks for this. I’m a mom of three and my newest baby son was born June 4th at home with a nurse midwife due to an outbreak of covid at the nearby hospitals. It was a wonderful, cool experience to have a water birth, to have my husband deliver the baby, and to have my other kids there, and frankly, to take the fear of being in the hospital off the table (pardon the pun, haha). It definitely contributed to the feeling of NEVER leaving our house, though. It was hard to miss out on the plans I had for my maternity leave–planned visits from out of town family and friends, the mommy and me yoga and music classes, taking outings to bookstores, zoos, and friends’ houses. We worked hard to find ways to visit with people outside when we could and I mostly worked on reframing the narrative, so to speak. I would tell myself that this is my last baby and that we were lucky we got to spend so much time as a family of four before he came. That I’m lucky to be able to hold him and kiss him and snuggle him as much as I want. I don’t have the share the snuggles with anyone else. Social media allows me to share the cute moments with faraway family and friends. I’m wondering if any virtual Baby and Mommy classes are recommended by other readers?

    • Stacy says...

      I’m not sure where you’re located but New Beginnings at the Nest (https://www.newbeginningsatthenest.com/) are doing virtual Mommy & Me classes and the teachers are wonderful! I did in-person classes with them before covid. Hope this helps :)

  56. Laura says...

    Thank you for this space, if feels so wonderfull to read what other mothers world wild are dealing with in this weird time to have a newborn.

    Our son Sam was due on march 12th – the day the netherlands went in lockdown. I feel like on some level he must have know that is was better to be a little early, as he ended up being born on febuary 25th. So not only could my husband be there during al the checkups, scan and delivery in the hospital, but also the first 2 week with Sam grandparents, some close friends and my sister could visit and meet him.

    As this is our first child we don’t have a reference of what having a newborn outside of corona looks like, so we activly chose to focus mostly on the advantages. With my husband working form home he could see the baby a lot more (no commute, we could lunch together etc.) and he could help me when i needed it – looking at you explosive diaper situations. Fortunatly it was also lovely weather, so where i had envisionend my leave taking my baby on outings to get coffee or to visit museums with (mom)friends instead we took a lot of really long walks in the woods. It is really fun to see the effect this has on Sam. He loves trees and nature, and is still not used to crowds.

    Also now working form home defenitly has its advantages: its only a 5 minute walk to Sam’s daycare (which luckly opend up again about 2 weeks before my leave ended) so we get to see a lot more of him then we would if we were both working at our office.

    And I think also for our relationship, both as husband and wife, and as mother and father, there are definite benefits. Because we both work from home together during the day we have some one-on-one time during lunch etc. And I find it a lot easier not to fall back to the traditional mother-father roles because of this set-up. I really feel like we are ‘in it together’ and the situation has brought us closer as a (new)family unit .

    Of course, this is at the cost of having less contact with some close friends, but for me, in the place i am at right now, this is the right balance for us.

    I know however we are very fortunate: we live in a neigbourhoud with lots of green/nature, both our parents and my sister live very close by so we were able to include them in our circle, and we both have stable jobs.

    Reading al these posts really points out how blessed we truly are, and makes me appreciate my life with my two wonderful men even more!

  57. Hillary says...

    As in this article, (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/melbourne-australia-covid-19-restrictions_n_5f74749bc5b6374c55875901), I am also living in Melbourne, Australia- one of the most lockdown places on earth. My husband is Australian but I am a Californian and moved here ten years ago. We’ve always made living away from my family managable with yearly/bi-yearly long visits home with my siblings and parents, extended family, and friends.

    I just had my second daughter at the end of March and now have a 2.5 year old and 6 month old in a place where we are not allowed to be out of the house for more that two hours a day and are heavily fined for breaking a myriad of social distancing rules. I have not been permitted to travel outside a 5km (approx. 3 mi) radius for over 6 months. I completely agree it has been essential for our community but having a 6 month old that has only seen the lower half of 5 or 6 human beings’ faces and not being able to introduce her to the beautiful outdoors has been quite heartbreaking.

    Every time I think of when/where/how that first hug with my mom or dad or sister or brothers will happen, I become a puddle of tears.

    The insidious nature of this pandemic is that the one thing we would historically use to get through hardship (each other) is the one thing off limits. It’s a slow burning despair.

    However, even in this isolating darkness I am still hopeful for a brighter tomorrow. I mailed my ballot from Australia last month and am sending so much love to my loved ones back home.

    • Jessie says...

      Tears just welled up in my eyes Hillary. Thinking of you from across the world – you’re not alone and things will get better. Promise.

    • Lindsay says...

      I feel for you being so far from your family during this time! My parents are in another state but at least we have an easier option of visiting. Out of country must be tremendously difficult at this time with so much uncertainty. Sending you lots of strength and love!

    • Stephanie says...

      Fellow expat mom who had her second child in July here. I feel you, mama. Living in SE Asia for 7+ years only doable with the long trips home, and I miss my family in the US so, so much. Sending you so much love (and a partner in wanting to just scream into the abyss….)

  58. Anni says...

    Hi, I have a little son, almost 3 months old. For me personally, the worries about his future give me so much anxiety. When he is sleeping and I watch his innocent little face I wonder: Will he ever enjoy a mild summer evening, trees, the ocean? Or will the climate crisis slowly destroy everything? And the president, who does not care about anyone or anything? My little bug has such an uncertain future because power does not mean making smart decisions apparently, for our little children.

    • Emma says...

      Anni, I share these fears completely! Despite our many privileges, I am so anxious about the future awaiting my 3 week old son in America and concerned that the society he will grow into will be worse than the one we currently have. But reading through these comments, there are so many parents with similar worries, presumably all raising our children to counteract these crises, that I have to think there’s still hope for their world.

  59. Annika says...

    My son Arlo was born 3 months ago. Idaho has not been doing a very good job of managing the virus, but Boise has a mask mandate and generally feels safer than what I’ve seen of the rest of the state. I am lucky to have a job that I can do from home and my boyfriend is taking his leave now that I’m back to work (from home), so we don’t have to think about daycare until after Christmas. We have been so fortunate, and the virus has given us the opportunity to figure out our little family (first baby, with older dog and cat brothers) without having to worry about well-intended visitors. My parents had me later in life and I’m not much younger than they were. They are now dealing with heart disease (Dad) and early signs of dementia (Mom) and their health is keeping us apart more than the 10-hour drive. I hope when we’re finally able to be together (fingers crossed for next spring!) that Arlo takes to them and that there’s still some semblance of my mom left.

  60. anon says...

    Congratulations to all the new parents out there!!

    I would love to see an article/hear from other parents who have children with special needs and how the pandemic has affected their lives. As a mom of a teen on the autism spectrum, reading about new parents’ isolation, and exhaustion ring very similar to what I’ve been feeling while dealing with my child’s own emotions at being stuck at home and not getting any social interactions, or services.

    For all the talk about diversity here, and elsewhere (all forms of media, places like museums, businesses, academia, etc) one section that is truly hardly ever represented, or brought to light is in the genre of (dis)abilities. We hear about, and act on racial diversity, gender diversity, even age diversity. But when it comes to neuro and physical diversities… crickets.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I hear you, Anon. Thank you so much for your note. We would love to write more about special needs. We’ve written about mental health and physical disability but not as much about autism or neuro diversities. Thank you so much For your feedback!

  61. Emily says...

    Thank you for seeing us! My daughter, Hannah James, was born in January. The feeling of isolation is so, so real. It feels nice to know that I’m not alone at least!

    I worry about raising a baby in a house filled with worry. (I know…) I want so desperately for my daughter to see the good in the world. I hope there’s good left. It’s sometimes hard to see it in a city that’s boarded up and covered in graffiti and poop. It’s hard not to worry when our business has been struggling. At the same time, I’m so grateful for my daughter. She learned to smile right as things were really shutting down, and she’s given me so much to think about that isn’t covid-related. While sometimes I feel like I’m loosing my marbles beacuase of her, I also feel like she’s helping me keep them at the same time. That’s probably motherhood in a nutshell, isn’t it? Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to connect with some other mothers in person and find out.

  62. jen says...

    My son was born in July and the whole experience has been so incredibly isolating. I am a first time mom and missed so much. I never really got the experience of people seeing my baby bump and asking me when I was due, if it’s a boy or girl, etc. as I really wasn’t showing before quarantine. My husband couldn’t attend any of my appointments after about 18 weeks and I never got to have a baby shower. I was prepared to stay at home with baby, but was not prepared for the 4 months before baby was born that I’d be at home. So now baby is 3 months and I’ve been home for 7 months. We were quarantining very strictly before because of my pregnancy and now because of the newborn. Family and friends haven’t been able to meet him and I don’t even know what his pediatrician looks like because she’s masked every time we see her. Not to mention that we had planned to buy a house this year, but my partner lost his job and so even though we’ve saved a lot, aren’t eligible for a large enough mortgage on my salary alone for the area we live. So we are in a 1 bedroom apartment and I feel constant guilt that my baby isn’t getting enough stimulation being in the same room day in and day out. And on top of it all, we live in an area affected by the west coast fires so we can’t even go outside for walks or to visit a park. I don’t know if I feel so isolated because of COVID things or just regular first time mom things, but it’s been incredibly difficult.

  63. Cait D says...

    Our daughter was born on March 12! Right when everything started to shut down.

    She was born a month early via cesarean and we spent a week in the hospital. I was pretty sick and very preoccupied with all things baby. Other than the hospital not allowing visitors, I had no idea that everything was shutting down! We were also lucky because both my doula and my husband were in the hospital with us.

    In the beginning the scariest part was that we had a teeny tiny preemie baby and there were so many unknowns. Her pediatrician advised that we not come into the office for the initial well-baby visits and I never had any follow-ups from the cesarean and other complications that caused a pre-term birth – which still blows my mind!

    In some ways though it has been the best time to be new parents. My husband works in sales and pre-COVID, he travelled 2-3 nights per week. I CANNOT imagine how I would have survived with him gone for even one night in those early days. COVID was also a great way to keep unwanted visitors away. I knew before she was born that I wouldn’t want a ton of visitors in the early days but telling people (esp the grandparents) ‘No, we don’t want visitors’ caused me so much anxiety.

    Another thing that I find is that mamas with ‘COVID’ babies tend to find each other and are open and supportive about how crazy all of this is.

  64. Ali says...

    I had my daughter Margot 3 weeks ago. We moved from San Francisco to Nashville mid-pandemic (and mid-pregnancy) to be closer to family, but it’s been such a weird time to be in a new city because you can’t really meet or make new friends, so early days of motherhood feel even more isolating when all my friends are on the other side of the country. At the same time, we’re really appreciating having more space and having grandparents nearby after living more than a decade a coast or a continent away from our families.

    • Rebecca V. says...

      Welcome to Nashville! Hope you enjoy our gorgeous city when things are a bit safer…love Margot’s name!

  65. K says...

    I had my second in May. We planned for a birth center birth, which made giving birth during a pandemic seem more manageable. But my son required resuscitation and a NICU transfer right after his birth due to meconium aspiration. Thankfully he got out of the NICU in 12 hours and is doing great now, but I’m so grateful for our medical team and the Zoloft I was on! I would have been a hot mess without medication in the face of a NICU transfer during a pandemic. My recovery was surprisingly easier this time around, but I do mourn the loss of the maternity leave I had planned for. I had PPD the first time around, and I was so excited to have time to myself to bond with my little guy. But I couldn’t risk sending my older kiddo to daycare, so it was a pretty overwhelming leave alone with 2 kids. Things are better now, but man those early days were hard and many tears were shed!

  66. Do you have any details on the sweater in the post?

    • Hi there…please reply with sweater details if available? Fall has just hit near me and I’m looking for something similar. Thank you!!!

  67. Tracy says...

    I’m so glad you are giving a voice to all these new mothers. I had my son 3 years ago, and while it wasn’t during a pandemic, I had a premie who couldn’t go outside or fly on a plane or have visitors… all while my family was across the country tending to my dying father. It was a hard year. None of the attention was on me and my new baby, and I couldn’t be with my family because of my newborn’s health. It was so hard and lonely. So I want to say to all the parents now – I see you. This too shall pass but it doesn’t take away how hard and unfair it is. Hugs to all of you!

  68. Johanna says...

    How about if our kids are 4 and 7. If we’re trying are we still doing a great job?

    • NH observer says...

      Absolutely!!!

  69. Christine says...

    Thank you for this. I had my son at the very end of February, right before things went really crazy. I suffered from ppd with my first child and my husband and I developed a plan to try and make things easier this time around. It involved a lot of outside help and it was massively difficult to ask for help from people but once I had I was so relieved. Naturally, no one was able to help in the end as we all needed to isolate. The loneliness and panic of the first months of my son’s life, combined with the utter exhaustion in caring for two children under the age of two while alone…. Well, it’s not something I would wish on anyone. It’s been hard. I really mourn the loss of the maternity leave I’d expected to have.

    • Emily says...

      Sending a hug. Sorry, Christine.

    • K says...

      I’m so sorry. I had a very similar experience after giving birth to my second in May. It was difficult to plan for one type of maternity leave and get quite another.

  70. Jillian L. says...

    We had our baby toward the end of January. I have so many mixed emotions about raising and infant during a pandemic. For a lot of reasons I feel very blessed with the timing of everything. I have been able to work from home since I’ve been back from maternity leave, which has been a big blessing (no childcare costs yet, nursing is so much easier without having to worry about pumping, etc.). With both me and my husband working from home, this time has brought us much closer, and I think that despite all the fear that accompanies this time, we will always have fond memories of all this time together that we wouldn’t otherwise have.
    There are a ton of struggles that accompany this time, but when I get a bit overwhelmed by thinking about them, I try to focus on the blessings.

  71. Nearly 20 years ago when I had my first baby, I put a bubble around our house. It was self-imposed isolation which is a whole different thing. I *could* go out, I just didn’t want to go out…not yet at least. One of my best friends refused to visit empty handed. She arrived with skim milk, a dozen eggs, and a hot cup of Starbucks. I have yet to have a tastier cup of coffee. Twelve years later our neighbors returned home from weeks in the hospital out of state because their first born arrived two months early. They gave friends the code to their garage so they could assemble the crib, unwrap and wash newborn clothes, and load the nursery with diapers. They skipped the baby shower and went straight to baby. On their first morning home, seeing their light on before sunrise, I texted a request for their favorite coffee drink. By 6am I was at their door with two steaming beverages and a bag filled with pastries.

    • Amanda says...

      Unasked for help was exactly what we didnt know we needed.
      When we had our son, almost 2 years ago, he landed in the NICU with some pretty troublesome issues and we didnt have an expected discharge date . Everyone kept texting and asking us what we needed or what could they grab on a target run and we had no idea how to answer them(without sounding rude or really being able to wrap our heads around it). Every day was a blur of leaving at 5am for my sons first feeding and leaving at 11pm after his last feeding, pumping every 2 hours throughout the night, forgetting about the cat, or the state of the house, riddled with anxiety that we would get a really bad phone call from our sons doctor.
      One day we came home exhausted and blurry and emotional to find flowers, several crock pot meals, paper towels, and toilet paper, quick breakfast foods and fresh juice in the fridge and a few new kitty toys on the living floor(along with a full feeder and cleaned out litter box).
      My best friend and her husband came during the day(she has a key to our house) to offer us some relief and much needed support without us having to ask or say or do anything.
      The gesture still makes us teary eyed today.

    • Amy says...

      This is so sweet and heartwarming!

  72. A says...

    Thank you for this post and this space. After 5 years of struggling to conceive naturally and through IVF, we are welcoming our baby into the world this December through the most incredible gestational carrier. I’ve never been so gleeful and frightened at the same time. We are blessed and can’t wait to be a family, but it’s been a roller coaster ride beyond measure.

    We started the process way before Covid-19 hit, but the embryo transfer happened in early April, just a few short weeks after most places went into quarantine. My husband and I were supposed to travel to the city of the transfer and meet our GC and her family there. Here’s the twist: I had Covid-19 at the time and of course couldn’t go to the transfer. 10 days later, we luckily tested positive for a pregnancy test and every day since then has been a cocktail of nerves, excitement, fear, and more love than I could have ever imagined/ As someone who is an uber-planner, taking this pregnancy day by day has been a really big challenge. I’m pretty nurturing, so it has been instinctive to care for our GC and that has helped me get through each day.

    Now, as we get closer to the due date and being a family of three, I feel more confused and alone than ever. Our path to conception has been deeply personal and somewhat private, so we knew we didn’t want a baby shower or grand announcement, but I do long for the feeling of celebrating and being overjoyed with a lot of people. I feel like I’ve spent so much energy caring and worrying for others that I’m second guessing the things that actually are in my control.

    While I am not going through the physical or hormonal changes at the moment, I can absolutely feel the emotional and psychological changes as I get ready to be a mother. Our GC and I text almost daily. She is very open about the experiences in her body and shares every little detail which I have enjoyed. Honestly, it’s felt a little bit like caring for and supporting your other half during a pregnancy. We have attended a few OB appointments in person (which we were extremely fortunate to do considering the protocol in most medical offices) and FaceTimed during the other ones. I cherish hearing the baby’s heartbeat every. single. time.

    In short, so much energy has been poured into dealing with the scares and limitations involved with a pandemic that I feel like I procrastinated getting ready for the baby. I’ll procrastinate just a bit longer while I read through ALL the comments on this post.

    Wow, that felt good to post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, A, congratulations on your baby news! that is so exciting. you sound like such a nurturing, doting, loving mother already, and that’s wonderful how close you and your GC have become through this process. sending you so much love as you transition to a family of three with your long-awaited child. xoxoxoxo

    • R says...

      Hi A! Congratulations, I am so happy for you! I am sitting next to my 2 week old daughter who was born via a wonderful gestational carrier – complications during and after my pregnancy with my son left me unable to carry another pregnancy so we completed our family through IVF and surrogacy. I want to say that you are clearly ready to be a mother and will be a wonderful one at that! (also – no one is actually ready for a newborn anyways:) maybe just people who have gone through hostage survival training?) Oddly enough, you probably are also going through some hormonal and physical changes – just like new fathers do. I started waking up at 4AM every day for the month before our daughter was born which is not typical for me but was similar to what happened during my pregnancy with my son. And our carrier’s water broke 2 weeks early and right around the time that it happened, I had an intense feeling that she wouldn’t be able to reach me if she needed to and wrote it off as just a reminder to make sure she had my husband’s phone number as well. I know this is such a complicated way to build a family – I will say in many ways it was easier to do it during a pandemic because we didn’t have to field (as many) insensitive questions or tell people who weren’t our people. But please keep sharing and tell your people and accept their love and celebration – any new beginning is worth celebrating and one that required this much love, sacrifice, dedication and hope is as worth it as anything.

    • J says...

      WOW, what a beautiful story. <3

  73. Kara says...

    We are a foster family and we welcomed a 6 week old baby into our home in late June. We also have a 6 year old, and we both work. It has been exhausting and challenging, to say the least! But also full of sweet and joyful moments. The hardest part for me is that the grandparents cannot help out and babysit like they usually would. I miss being able to take breaks from parenting, and I hate that my family is missing out on baby boy’s first… few months? First year? First years?!?! We just don’t know. As hard as it is, most days I am grateful to be so busy with parenting during this time. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and figure out a way to make the best of each day, when I would otherwise be tempted to curl into a ball and say wake me when 2020 is over.

    • Madi says...

      Thank you for fostering! I work in the child welfare system and always admire the tenacity of our foster families.

  74. Kristin says...

    Thanks for this post. My second daughter was born on March 18, so we’ve been truly in lockdown since her birth. Now she is almost 7 months! While our family getting infected is definitely of concern, my biggest concern is infecting my elderly parents. Therefore, we decided to spend my entire materity leave shifting through period of “clean times” when we would see my parents, followed by “dirty times” when we would go to the doctor or have a socially distant playdate or two for my toddler, followed by 14 days of quarantine. I was so lucky to be able to see my parents, even for those brief (intense) periods of time, since so many don’t get that opportunity. A friend of mine interviewed me for this great article she wrote. I’d suggest anyone wondering what it’s like to give birth during the pandemic give it a read. Pandemic moms are SO STRONG, but Pandemic new moms are truly a force to be reckoned with. https://www.self.com/story/the-deep-loneliness-of-having-a-baby-in-a-pandemic

  75. Rebecca says...

    Love this post. I had my (first) baby girl in late January and she was about 2 months when the pandemic impacted my part of the country. I will say, with late nights/ early mornings and breastfeeding, it was isolating even before the pandemic. I did struggle with who/how often to see outsiders prior to, and felt the pandemic gave me the opportunity to have uninhibited one on one time with her, plus time with my husband, that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It has made regular interactions that should be joyous – introducing your baby to old friends, going on vacation, target runs – even more challenging to navigate with a newborn, but overall I have grown to be so thankful for the quiet/slow time the pandemic has provided my little family. We will never get this time back. Thanks again for the post.

  76. Jessica says...

    I thank the other commenters for sharing their stories. It has made me feel less alone. David was born this May and the isolation has been deafening. When I filled out his baby book I scratched a large X over the pages for “baby shower”, “visitors” and “first outings”. This isn’t at all how I imagined life with my first baby would be.
    My greatest sadness is that my family have not met him. My parents were going to be here this weekend for Thanksgiving, but with the second wave my province is once again plunged into confinement. My heart broke when I learned they couldn’t visit after 4 months of waiting.

    My hope is that no other generation of parents has to grow and birth their babies during a pandemic. The fear and isolation as a new parent in a normal time must be difficult, and with no support, no time off and no end in sight it feels impossible sometimes. Oh what I would do for someone to pop over and say “I’ll watch him for a few hours, why don’t you go out?”

    2020 is the worst year for the majority of our world, and even in the face of such challenges, I have to say that 2020 is the best year of my life. I love being David’s maman, he brings such happiness into our home and I’m trying my best to absorb all the little moments and forget about the challenges.

    Ça va bien aller! ?

  77. Tilda says...

    Thank you so much for this post! Sending love to all the other parents!

    Our second son was born in February after a difficult pregnancy during which I had to lay down most of the time. I was so happy I made it to 37 weeks, thinking we would experience a “regular” postnatal period after we had a NICU experience with our first son.
    Instead, we found out that he suffered from apnea, sometimes just forgetting to breathe in his sleep. No one knew why, so we again spent time at NICU, at other hospitals, numerous doctors etc – always being afraid he would just stop breathing in his sleep. All this during lock down, with our 4 year old at home all the time, us adults just scared on so many levels, was definitely the hardest time I’ve experienced so far.

    Fortunately, he seems to be fine now – he apparently just outgrew his problems. So, we’re incredibly thankful for this baby and our new normal.

  78. Melissa says...

    There was a time, not too long ago, when I would never show up to work without makeup. Yesterday, I dropped my two young kids off at childcare without my own shoes on. In the morning chaos of feeding, dressing, and wrangling two little ones, I didn’t realize until I got out of the car that I hadn’t finished getting myself dressed! That’s how this new mom is doing :)

  79. Emily says...

    Thank you for this, Joanna and team. I found out I was pregnant with our second baby about 2 weeks before SIP went into effect and so have basically been quarantined at home the entire process. I’m so thankful I’ve been through this before and feel very much for the first timers who have to navigate a confusing system and process in such a challenging time. That being said, it’s been a much harder pregnancy this go ’round (not just because of the toddler running around), and it’s been difficult going without the things that made it easier the first time (looking at you prenatal massage). I’m so ready to be done with this process and have been for months, which in and of itself feels like a loss – this will be our last one and I wish I felt some sort of nostalgia for pregnancy. Maybe someday.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thinking of you, Emily. xoxoxo

  80. Ellen says...

    My son, Scott, was born in November last year and had just turned 4 months old when lockdown started. I had been back at work for a month. I remember talking with my manager at one point about taking a few more weeks off so we could delay sending Scott to daycare, saying, “hopefully by the end of that time things will be better!” Oh, sweetie.

    It’s been massively trying, like this constant hum of worry that you just can’t shake. I worried about a lot of things while I was pregnant; a pandemic wasn’t even in my orbit. My parents and my in-laws live out of state. We have one family member here who was going to help us with the baby, but she has MS, and with the pandemic we simply cannot risk her getting sick. In June we finally realized our only option was to send our son to daycare. Just yesterday, he finally went back after they closed for two weeks because of a positive COVID case. It was the first time, but I’m highly doubtful it will be the last.

    I’ve considered taking a leave of absence from work, or quitting entirely. I don’t want to, and financially it doesn’t really make sense. But that hum, that constant buzz of worry and stress and anxiety, is so incessant that I wonder if the cost of it is worth my paycheck. No one knows what’s right when they are a parent, and no one knows what’s right in a pandemic. It’s an impossible equation.

  81. Neha says...

    This resonates with me so much and thank you for this so very important safe space. I’ve never posted a comment here before and this inspired me to!
    We had a 2 year battle with infertility and finally had our beautiful baby girl as a result of IVF this July.
    It already felt like we went through so many years, sacrifices, and loneliness to get here. While I was 22 weeks pregnant and mid pandemic, my mother in law passed away suddenly and my husband had to go to London to be with his family.
    There was a time I wasn’t even sure he’d be allowed back in the country, or make it back for the birth of our baby.
    With so much uncertainty, I couldn’t be more grateful for my perfect baby girl and that all of us are safe, healthy, and together.
    But after a traumatic birth/emergency C section and a lot of breastfeeding difficulties and mastitis, it sure has been a bumpy start. It doesn’t seem fair considering all we went through to get here.
    But, here we are with our miracle and for that I’ll be thankful forever. My heart will always be with those who are trying so hard to become parents in any way.

  82. Jessamyn says...

    My Rose will be 6 weeks old on Thursday. Thank you for posting this and creating a space for all moms to be seen and heard. I’m sad my girl can’t meet her extended family or our friends in person. It was hard not being able to hug anyone while pregnant but not being able to have other people hold our baby is harder. I just keep reminding myself that we will get through it and how grateful we will all be when we do.

    • Angela says...

      My BFF had a baby girl, Billie, 6 weeks ago on Friday. Just know that your loved ones are anxiously awaiting buying cases of champagne to toast to your sweet girls! Please feel no guilt whatsoever for SPAMMING us with baby pictures. I know my arms are aching to hold my beloved “niece.”

  83. E says...

    Thank you so much for posting this… like many, I’ve come to this space for years and have found myself going back to the motherhood posts many times over the last several months. My daughter, Asa (“Ace-ah”), is 7-weeks old and was born right as the fires erupted here in California. I remember noticing the smoke roll in outside while I was in labor; but Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC was on that evening as she arrived which was an optimistic backdrop to her arrival! As a first time mom, it’s been hard to process all the loss. I think all the moments and experiences we lost in the early months of the pandemic have been compounded with the natural feelings of identity loss as a new mom. I had at least hoped to go outside and walk with my daughter in those early weeks at home, but that was impossible with the CA fires. I have been SO grateful for mom-friends that have answered late night texts or calls. If we decide to have another someday, I wonder how different it will feel under (hopefully) more normal circumstances. As many have said, there’s been some joy in the simplicity of being home without a stream of visitors, but in contrast I am grieving the little things I had hoped to do with her (and those simple things for me!) in these early months. It’s been so comforting and, in a strange way encouraging, to read through these comments… so thank you again, Joanna for bringing this topic up and thank you fellow readers for being so open and honest!

    I can’t wait to watch these 2020 babies grow up… they’ve been the bright spots of a dark year and I know they’ll continue to shine.

    • Brooke says...

      I know it’s very difficult. My daughter is 18 months and it’s STILL HARD. I hope you’re able to find moments of joy…something just for you.

    • Jackie says...

      Beautifully stated. I live in California too and it felt extra daunting to have a child at a time like this but he is truly a bright spot in a dark time.

  84. Leah says...

    I love the idea of “make space for.” Xoxoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3

  85. SC says...

    Baby Marcella and I thank you for this post. Some relatives and friends don’t consider that parents coming of age during a pandemic will have very different thoughts, feelings, rules, etc so it was nice to have this post and its comments to be reminded that we aren’t weird for feeling and acting the way we are! (P.S. I don’t blame these relatives/friends for not thinking of this – we are ALL under our own unique kind of stress and worry this year.)

  86. Not new parents anymore. Our son is 7 already, but I can still remember the sleepless nights that lasted for about 3 years, crying because I coudn’t help being sooo tired, ignoring my personal hygiene, brushing my teeth was an ordeal :) All past now, but still in my mind as I read your article. Btw, didn’t want to see anybody. I was so tired and depressd that I coudn’t socialize at all and didn’t want anybody to see me. Over now :)

  87. Emily says...

    I had my first baby, Margie (named for my grandmother Marjorie), May 30. I’m a single mother by choice and one of my biggest worries about having a baby was feeling isolated, little did I know my last trimester and the first year (two years?) would take isolation to a whole new level. I made it through the first couple of months before her due date doing lots of extra planning – to keep my massive anxiety at bay. And since she’s been here she’s been the biggest joy in my life. My sister, her wife, and my niece moved in with me for the 4 weeks before my due date so that she could come to the hospital with me. Margie was 9 days late, and has been the biggest joy in my life, and made the world seem just a little bit ok.

    I’m lucky that I’ve had a ton of support from my parents (who live nearby) and my sister and although my maternity leave wasn’t at all what I expected it to be, other than the physical recovery it was mostly a happy blur.

    But now that I’m expected to be back at work, and productive, and navigate the world as a new mother I’m absolutely falling apart. I haven’t been able to bring myself to take her to daycare, because doing so would mean that I would only be able to see my parents outside and seeing no other adults inside seems impossible. This means I have 30ish hrs a week of childcare from my parents (which I am so lucky to have) and all of the things I used to like about working and my job are gone; it feels like all I want to do in a day is feed and take care of Margie – but that won’t pay the bills. I wouldn’t change anything, because then I wouldn’t have my precious girl, but it is oh so very hard to go through such a big transition in such a terrible time – pandemic, the president, the supreme court etc.

    Thanks so much for opening this discussion, its been incredibly helpful to read how others have been handling it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds like such a hard decision to figure out how to work/handle childcare/see other adults, etc. Sending so much love to you and your sweet Margie! You sound like such a loving mother.

    • Tracy says...

      Hi Emily – I’m a single mother by choice, too. I just want to let you know I’m thinking about you. That’s it. You are not alone. The work life balance thing is just SO hard – at any time, but for sole parents particularly so (even if you love your kids to pieces as we do). Enjoy Margie every moment you can, and I’m sending love your way.

  88. Abby Dunn says...

    Thank you for this space. Our identical twin girls were born in February (after a 6 week stay in the hospital for me), and then went on to spend 95 days in the NICU during the pandemic. I found the mothers with me in the NICU to be the strongest, most incredible women I’ve ever met in my life. We trudged there everyday, watched the bodies being loaded into the refrigeration trucks (the NICU and Labor and Delivery were the only non-covid departments left in our NYC hospital) with our hurting, healing bodies, waiting in line in the pumping room with our masks and our hands bleeding from so many scrubs and purrell soaks. Not one of us felt sorry for ourselves because we were so worried about our babies, the nurses and the physicians. It was a trying time to be sure, but also a very inspiring time, watching all of these mothers being as strong as we know women can be. My husband and I were so lucky to bring home two perfectly healthy girls. Let’s be honest, with preemie twins we would’ve been isolating without COVID, so we have enjoyed our time alone with our precious girls. But we have jobs and the health of our families and loved ones, which is so much more than most can say. I am just in awe of how strong everyone is during this time, and am so grateful to be able to read the stories of others…..

    • Rachel says...

      Congratulations on your babies! That sounds incredibly tough and you and the other parents are incredibly strong.

    • jdp says...

      such a story. holy moly. congratulations and all the applause and kowtows and admiration for such bravery and resilience. new motherhood is hard enough….

    • rachelle bell says...

      Hello my fellow new twin mama! Mine are now 9 months old and its been such an interesting time to have one baby… let alone TWO!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wow, Abby, you are my hero!!!

    • Jill says...

      Congratulations Abbie! And what marvelous love and effort you’ve already put into mothering your little girls.

  89. KK says...

    Our second, Jonathan, was born in late July and it has been such a mixed bag. Pregnancy was terrifying. I have asthma and it was intense to also be in charge of another life too. The lockdowns started just after my 20th week and he wasn’t old enough to survive outside the womb and we didn’t have really any information on the virus and the fear factor was really high. Late pregnancy in July with a toddler SUCKED. I was a terrible playmate but we didn’t have our typical story time, daycare, playgroup stuff to go to an I could tell she was restless hanging out with me.

    But there have been so many blessings too. The hospital bubble without visitors was actually so lovely? Just the three of us, getting to know him, breastfeed constantly etc. And now having the help of my husband in the morning and night without any commutes to worry about and such. He can get our daughter up for the day with a snack and milk if I’ve had a particularly long night with the baby and he’s home for dinner and bath time no matter what (his job typically has pretty long office hours). And just the fact that he’s been able to witness so much of their lives that he wouldn’t have before is pretty awesome. I also don’t hate that I can’t really go anywhere right now because I generally don’t have my sh*t together as a new mom of two and it takes the pressure off. If we make it to the park by 10 or 11, that’s perfect! ha.

    New motherhood is exhausting no matter what and I’m constantly balancing the fear of one of us getting sick with the joy of having such a unique set up for experiencing his first days. It’s been wild for sure!

  90. Sharon says...

    Reading these with 10 day old Margot in my arms, after a sleepless night, and both feeling less alone and also super sad for all the feelings of grief out there. I vacillate so hard between gratitude (healthy baby, healthy me, my mum is in town, my partner works at home, I live in Canada so have a year off) and extreme sadness of all that hasn’t and won’t be. I was so afraid of PPD anyway, and now feel like I’m Sisyphus trying to keep it at bay. But I take strength from the positivity in these messages and recognizing that it just is what it is, there is nothing I am doing to make it worse and nothing I could do to make it different. Courage, mes amies.

    • Emily J. Chandler says...

      Ahh hang in there girl! You will sleep more soon, I promise. From a well slept mother of an 11 month old. Bon courage.

    • Ana D. says...

      Therapy, meds, sleep (getting at least 4 hours uninterrupted in each 24 hour period), and time all help. Acute PPD hit me like a ton of bricks. Without meds and asking for explicit help from my spouse, I don’t think I would’ve made it through the first month of newborn parenting (Feb 21 – Mar 21, 2020).

  91. Margaret Gullick says...

    My son Caleb was born in April. The past six months have been incredible and incredibly hard.

    On the one hand, the first months are always hard, and I was planning on hanging out at home a whole bunch for the first few months anyways, so it wasn’t the worst timing in that regard! And we didn’t have any issues around his birth or being in the hospital, since I only wanted my husband there anyways.

    But on the other, it’s been so difficult to be so alone for this time. It’s been especially tough to ask for help from family and friends, since we don’t want to bring any risk to anyone or get anyone sick. Our families aren’t local, and one grandparents is much older, so they weren’t able to come up at all for the first month, and have only been able to visit sporadically on a limited basis. We have one local friend who’s held him. And that’s it.

    Further complicating all of this is the fact that my husband is a surgical resident, so after his month of paternity leave (amazing that he got any! but so not enough!) he’s still been going to the hospital every day, reinforcing that issue of not wanting to ask for help to keep everyone around us safe. Plus his schedule SUUUUCKS so much of the time (he’s always on call, works long hours every day and most weekends, and even when he’s home he’s constantly on his phone responding to questions, etc). He’s great when he’s available, but he’s so often not! Which means everything is all on me all the time, especially since I feel like I can’t really get any help from anyone else because of COVID.

    I’ve been able to keep things together for the most part, with just the usual amount of new parent stress, but honestly I’m hitting a breaking point after six months of this.

    • KC says...

      My husband is a doc too. He’s an attending so he gets more pat leave but I can absolutely relate to this schedule!

    • Rachel says...

      I’m a resident (though not surgery, which is particularly tough) and my heart goes out to you. Is there a way you could have a few hours of help, either by hiring someone or doing an exchange with another parent? You are amazing!

    • Sarah says...

      We had our first baby (rainbow baby) this July and my husband is also a resident. We were so lucky that his hospital gave him 2 months of leave, but now he’s back to work with a crazy work schedule of 24+ hour shifts. It’s been really difficult to handle being at home alone with our son, particularly overnight, and the hours where my husband is home, he’s either sleeping off his shift or doing work. I know it’s so difficult for him too because he wants to be more available to spend more time with our son. This definitely compounds the isolation of new motherhood PLUS being a new parent during COVID. But you’re not alone.

      Thank you so much Jo for creating this space. Being a new parent, particularly a first-time parent, during this time has been so challenging. There have been some bright spots, but it’s not the experience we envisioned when we imagined having our first child. It’s been difficult to meet new mom friends or even spend time with our existing friends. The casual dop-ins or help from our community are out of the question. t’s so reassuring and comforting to know that we’re not alone and our feelings are normal and validated. Thank you!

  92. Kathryn says...

    We had our son Benny at the end of May. After several years of infertility and IVF, we’re so grateful he’s here, that he’s healthy, that he’s smiley, and that he’s ours. But infertility itself felt like its own form of quarantine, and now that quarantine has been extended indefinitely due to COVID.

    Overall, I think we’re the luckiest of the unlucky. We couldn’t get pregnant but it eventually worked. We had our one (and likely only) baby during a pandemic and I experienced complications at the end of my third trimester that kept us locked in a hospital room for 10 days (not even able to walk the hallways because of COVID) but we experienced wonderful care and Benny is healthy as am I. My husband is working remotely so is able to spend more time with our son than would ever be possible during normal times, but we both miss people, being in the world, and sharing our longed-for baby with family and friends. We left NYC in early March and transferred our care to Massachusetts near my parents, so have been able to spend more time with my mom and dad than I ever would have hoped for, but we’ve left behind the life we planned for. (What are plans in 2020?) It’s hard, lonely, and isolating. Virtual parenting groups are not the same but I’m still amazed by people’s ability to create community. It’s not what I would have wished for, but I’m trying to be grateful for all that we have and for our sweet, sweet boy.

    Thinking of all the other parents, soon-to-be parents, and wishing-to-be parents out there, and sending my love to you and your families.

    • jules says...

      Your post gave me a little hope as we keep on trying for a little one. I hope you are able to spend some time with your friends and family soon so they can all meet him. xoxox

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Benny is such a cute name. Sending love xoxo

    • Neha says...

      Thanks for posting this. We had our IVF baby in July, and I share so many of your thoughts and feelings. Nice to not feel alone on this wild ride!

  93. Lily says...

    I am loving reading the comments here, from people with all different situations. I had my first, Letti, at the end of May. I always tell people I don’t really have anything else to compare to… so this all feels like it’s just what being a new parent IS. Maybe I will have the chance to have another kid during more normal times & look back at this to realize how utterly bonkers it was.

    I do want to give another shout out for virtual support groups. Mine has been wonderful and such a huge help. And I have been able to keep attending them while going back to work, which I wouldn’t have done with an in-person group.

    • Emily L says...

      How do you find a virtual support group?? That sounds amazing.

  94. Meghan says...

    My first baby to make it this far (June) arrived in June after a hospital induction at 41+5. My mother has cancer and my mother in law does not self-isolate, so my husband and I were on our own. I’m self employed so I had no maternity leave.

    This is not how I had planned to welcome a baby. But I feel depths of strength I did not know I had, for having made it this far. I rely on my sister and my virtual mom friends to shore me up mentally. I take it one hour at a time.

  95. Emily says...

    Also, reading all these comments, it pains me (yet again) to think that our president said “don’t let it dominate your life.” What a terrible insult to everyone making such hard choices and sacrifices.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I had the same thought, exactly. xo

  96. Lily says...

    Thanks for holding space. I have loved reading these comments and feel like a part of a strong virtual community of powerful new moms, brave folks handling infertility, and everyone else too. My twin boys Felix and Ashok were born in April, when India was totally and completely locked down. We couldn’t even get food delivery or packages delivered. Our family is in the U.S. and it will be who knows how long until we meet again. We have been really conservative about meeting friends even outside with masks, and so it has been so, so, so lonely. We are hanging in (my husband has showed True Strength of Character and I love him more than ever thank god) but yeah. Trying to find tiny slices of joy when I can, and stay grateful for the help we do get, our urban garden, a little time to myself to write, these smiling, giggling, curious little grabbers, and all the time we have together. But I really wish we could invite everyone to a big effin picnic party with heaps of pimm’s and chips and laughter (god I miss LAUGHTER). The parks here are closed.

  97. Bethan says...

    Very teary reading through these, thank you for this space! Our son Llewyn, baby #1, was born in July, and the birth was a bit traumatic – I hated not having my doula or mom there but felt so grateful my husband could stay with us for the whole interminable 4 days we were hospitalized. I feel like everything is half regret half gratitude for the pandemic – we’re struggling with breastfeeding still, almost 13 weeks in, and I’m sad not to be able to have support come to the house but also grateful not to have to bring our circus of a feeding time out on the road! Sad to take a leave of absence from work to avoid daycare and possible exposure myself (I’m a healthcare social worker), happy for the extra time with baby. Stressed about when my husband’s school district will require him to go back to in-person teaching, grateful he’s an extra presence for us during the day for now. Wondering if our baby is extra challenging because he’s so used to quarantine, grateful we don’t have to bring him out more because the fussing with an audience is so hard! Super sad more family can’t meet him, I guess the small silver lining there is not having to argue with people about getting a flu vaccine? (Ugh.) I don’t know how to feel most days, or what is normal really – the only constant seems to be the unexpected, and some days that feels more exciting than awful but sometimes it’s the reverse!! Our sweet baby boy is the perfect all-consuming distraction from the chaos of the world outside and I know I’m unequivocally grateful that he’s here and healthy and ours. <3

    • Bethan says...

      I guess I should say gratitude IN the pandemic, definitely not grateful FOR the pandemic.

  98. Valentina says...

    Phew! My first is due exactly one month from today. Bookmarking this page to come back to these sympathetic and encouraging comments this winter when things start to feel challenging. I come from a big, boundary-less, overbearing family from both Italy and Iraq, where new motherhood is usually celebrated with daily visitors, lots of food being made for the new parents, and an abundance of unsolicited advice. I spent a lot of quarantine reminding myself of all the silver linings we experienced being pregnant during covid, but I’m scared it is going to be much harder during the fourth trimester to do the same.

  99. Carolyn says...

    Thank you so much for this post! I had my first baby (a little girl named Lily) in January, and as soon as we were ready to join the world eight weeks later, NJ shut down. My husband lost his job in April and has yet to find another, despite working tirelessly to find one. It has been…rough, to say the least. We are so lucky that my parents live nearby and have been able to help, but this is certainly not how we envisioned spending the first year with our daughter. The bright spot is we have a happy, beautiful little girl who is so loved and gets to have both parents home with her all day and no shortage of cuddles. We’ll get through this and our daughter won’t know the difference, but it definitely has been the hardest time my husband and I have experienced together.

  100. Emily says...

    It’s strange–I found being pregnant during lockdown SO hard. All spring we stayed completely isolated. I really missed having people see my growing belly, getting offered a seat on the subway (or not!), having casual acquaintances and coworkers realize I was pregnant when they saw me… all of that. I felt so robbed of the maternity leave experience I was expecting–a chance to make new mom friends, take companionable walks in the park, go to baby classes, have time just with my baby while our older kid was in school. I was scared that my husband wouldn’t be allowed in the hospital.

    But once my baby was born in June, it changed. Things were still hard, but suddenly that sense of loss over the alternate reality I didn’t get was gone, replaced by the actual presence of our sweet little guy. He’s here, and now that we’re a few months in, I can feel my love growing for him every day.

    We still struggle every day with what decisions to make for our family, how to see grandparents, how to let our older child have a social experience, but we’re doing okay.

    • CT says...

      I had my first son, Isaac, back in May. I had planned a home birth but ended up transferring to a hospital after more than two days in labor. I ended up getting a c section, and honestly had a wonderful experience at the hospital. So, so grateful for that pain relief! I feel like I got super lucky with my son. He’s beautiful and even tempered and smiles easily. I also feel so much gratitude for paid maternity leave. We had family come visit after the birth (somewhat against my wishes) and I was glad when it was just me, baby and my husband again. I’m back at work and he’s in daycare. So far, so good.

  101. Sue says...

    When we decided to have another babe it was October and it was going to be perfect… family could visit, the older would be in kindergarden , the second would be in pre school, and i could still have time to have one on one time with the new baby, husband could take some paternity leave and it could be a little bubble of the three of us during the day and help with the kids in the afternoons and night….

    Well, I had to have a baby with a facemask on, other kids aren’t in school so no one on one time with the new baby, no meals or help from friends to hold her while i shower (especially with my 3rd I’m more than happy to hand the baby over for some help!), I’m ‘homeschooling’ but without any of the resources that home schoolers usually use (library, zoo, etc.), and husband won’t take paternity leave because he’s afraid to lose his job.

    My heart goes out to all the first time moms who had to go through pregnancy, labor, and post partum during this time.

  102. Stephanie Zercher says...

    I have enormous sympathy for all those moms and dads coping with babies (and other young ones) during this time. While this is nothing like what they’re dealing with, it has been hard for those of us on the sidelines, too — at least for me. Our darling goddaughter and her wonderful husband got pregnant and had twins just last week — all during covid. We’ve known her since she was a year old and are very close — I even officiated at their wedding. Not being able to be with her in person to offer love and support — not being able to see her pregnant with twins! — was really difficult to deal with. Not to mention that her sister, who we’re equally close to, got married this summer, and of course we weren’t there for that, either. As I said, this is nothing compared to the isolation that moms and dads are going through — but it still hurts.

  103. TC says...

    I woke up to my 18th negative pregnancy test this morning. I would love to see more content for those of us who aren’t parents, but not out of choice.

    Thanks.

    • Jessie says...

      I am so sorry TC. Infertility is unbelievably hard. Sending you love and light!

    • P says...

      I’m so sorry <3 if you haven’t read them yet, there are a number of posts on Cup of Jo about infertility that you might find comforting… https://cupofjo.com/tag/infertility/

    • Jules says...

      I’m sorry, TC. I’m right here with you. I know that feeling of the negative test, and how nice it is to read these comments and stories but also how hard it is too. I hope you can find something this week to take your mind off of it and know you’re not alone. <3

  104. Maggie says...

    I recommend moms of infants listen to the earliest episodes of Hillary Frank’s “The Longest Shortest Time”. The podcast has changed some over the years, but those early episodes where she’s in the middle of – or revisiting – the first months of motherhood were totally validating a therapeutic for me. And the name – longest shortest time – is the perfect description of the newborn phase!!

    • Caitlin says...

      Could not agree more!! LST got me through my first fourth trimester and I’m revisiting these episodes now that I find myself with a newborn again.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’ve never listened to it, but I know people love it so much and I’m excited to check it out. kThank you for the rec!

  105. b says...

    I’m not a parent, but I’m reading this post and these comments anyway and I just wanted to say that I love the names everyone has chosen for their kids – so many great, unique names abound.

  106. Wow this is amazing and heartbreaking all in one. We had our daughter in late summer and this weekend (fingers crossed) will be the first time she meets her grandparents (it is their first grandchild as well). She is nearly 10 weeks old and has only ever met her parents and her pediatrician. I am so thankful we are all safe and healthy but isolating doesn’t even come close to describing what this experience has been like. It is comforting to read so many similar experience although my heart truly goes out to parents at any stage of their journey during this time.

  107. Sarah says...

    Our first baby, Lola, was born in mid-August. Navigating pregnancy and new parenthood during the pandemic has been a trip, scary/lonely/unchartered, but the support of communities like this one makes it all possible!

  108. Stacey says...

    Thank you so much for holding this space for a large group of women who seem to be forgotten right now! Not a first time mom, but in early August I had my 3rd. We were already terrified to find out we were pregnant with our “Hail Mary” baby in December. With 2 other kids and knowing how incredibly sick I get in the 1st (and much of second) trimester- it felt like a lot. And then just as I was beginning to feel better, Covid hit. Trying to teach from home, while helping my Kindergarten daughter learn online, while taking care of my 2 year old and wrestle away the anxieties of being pregnant during this felt like a lot. I went through a major grieving period those first few weeks. People kept saying “this will be so much better by August!” But in my gut I knew it would not. The anxiety was real and it was a struggle to keep my kids happy away from the neighborhood kids just so that I could be sure I wouldn’t test positive when I got to the hospital. It was a hard hard summer. Thankfully, most of my anxiety went away once I had our little boy. While we are still being extra cautious, my mentality has seemingly switched. Now with my daughter in school and son in daycare, I am getting this one last dream of a maternity leave that I was sure I wasn’t going to get. While it’s a financial hit, taking these full 12 weeks before going back to a petri-dish of a high school has been sweet sweet balm on my wounds that I felt like covid imposed. I know going back to teaching will be super hard and fill me with anxiety again. But for now I am cherishing this bubble that my youngest and I get with each other.

  109. I just had my second son about 6 weeks ago, his name is Aero. We’re doing okkkkkk. It is definitely isolating more now since you can’t do all regular activities, people don’t want to meet up as much and things are just different but all in all we’re good! I’ve tried to focus on this time to bond with just my baby and get to know him.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Aero is the coolest name!

  110. Agnès says...

    It is very moving to read all of these comments; I’m not a new mom (my son is almost 7), but I can remember vividly the first weeks of having to take care and love a new born. It is soo intense. Sending many thoughts, encouragements and love to all of these so so brave new moms! These babies will have stories to tell and I am sure it will be a very strong generation. The bond between you is unbreakable (and I also mean between you quarantine new parents).

  111. Kate says...

    I’m nursing my two month old, Eliza Love, right now ? She’s our third baby and we also have a five year old and a two year old. These days are exhausting and I miss being carefree in hanging out with friends. We live in a small town in the Midwest so I usually endure the winters by having friends over for coffee and play dates…now I’m not really sure what the long winter will look like.

  112. Kate says...

    I’m nursing my two month old, Eliza Love, right now ? She’s our third baby and we also have a five year old and a two year old. These days are exhausting and I miss being carefree in hanging out with friends. We live in a small town in the Midwest so I usually endure the winters by having friends over for coffee and play dates…now I’m not really sure what the long winter will look like!

  113. Hannah says...

    I’m catching up on these as I nurse my 3 week old daughter, Grace. She is my first baby and I, too, had so many daydreams of a blissed out maternity leave, which have been trampled by my husband’s (indefinite) small business closure, and navigating a distance learning hellscape with my 10 and 7-year-old stepkids. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I tried to reframe my thinking and no longer see my maternity leave as something that had been taken from me, but instead a chance to have quiet, work-free time at home with my husband and sweet older kids, which we had already been enjoying so much of over the Covid spring and summer.

    The cherry on top was learning in the hospital that I was Covid positive. I’m a nurse so I was most likely exposed at work, and was totally asymptomatic. I still feel angry and upset at a nonsense hospital policy that allowed me to unknowingly expose staff, other patients and my baby before the test results came back a full day later. The first few days at home with Grace were a nightmare- I drove around for hours to find a testing center that would test a 2 day old. I still could cry from my guilt at exposing my baby to this. Luckily, she was negative! My whole family is done quarantining and symptom free.

    What I will say is, with every insanely crazy thing happening this year and the deep pain we are all feeling, I have never felt more thankful for anything in my life than this completely easy baby. She latched beautifully right away, is so calm and quiet and watchful and fun, and sleeps as well and long as any newborn does—she’s so amazing and I’m so grateful to her! I don’t feel like I deserve such a wonderful child and she makes all this BS bearable. CoJ, love you and thanks for letting me get my feelings out!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love the name Grace. xoxoxo You are doing a great job, Hannah.

  114. Maddie says...

    What a touching idea for a post. I’m an American living in New Zealand with a baby girl due…today! We have been so lucky in NZ to have been largely untouched by COVID for the majority of the year, and our strictest lock down period forced me to slow down and take care of myself which I think has helped to contribute to really a lovely healthy pregnancy. On the flip side, it’s been isolating and claustrophobic living in this bubble that we can’t leave and that nobody can enter. There is no end in sight to when my mom might be able to be granted legal exemption to visit as only citizens are allowed in. I can’t leave either unless I’m able to pay thousands of dollars to return to government managed quarantine. Sometimes it just breaks my heart not knowing when my mom will be able to meet my baby. Will she still be a little baby, smell like a baby, want to cuddle her nana?

    • Claudia says...

      Hey darl, the government announced changes to the exemption policies – i can’t recall the exact details but it might pay to investigate. hope the delivery went well and your arrival is settling in nicely. xx from nz

  115. Katie says...

    My first baby girl was born in mid August, in Amsterdam. All of our family and close friends live in the US, and when we first found out we were expecting, everyone had plans to visit us for weeks at a time during the late summer and fall, to bond with baby and help us out. Of course, the E.U.-US borders are still closed, so no one can visit — and our trip to the US in April for baby showers was also canceled — and my mom couldn’t be here for her birth, which I had really wanted. Luckily here we had a nurse come daily for the first week to teach us how to care for a newborn, and to help with my recovery. (Thank you Dutch insurance!) The country is again tightening up restrictions, but a lot of people aren’t concerned so things are still taking place. I had signed up for mom and baby yoga this month, but just canceled it since I am so worried about the rapidly rising case numbers. I do feel lonely, and trapped, and wish I could get together with other new moms I had met here, but at least we have FaceTime and WhatsApp groups. And I am keeping my hopes up that I will feel like it’s safe enough for us to travel at Christmas, so we can see the family we haven’t seen in 1.5 years, and our little bug can meet her grandparents and aunts. I can’t wait to be able to hug everyone… if that’s even a possibility. The not knowing is one of the hardest parts.

    • Anna says...

      Solidarity Katie! I am also an American in the Netherlands – my kids are older but my parents couldn’t be with me for the birth of my first because there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. I was so sad about it then, but in the long run it was just a blip. My kids have been able to build a great relationship with my parents via occasional visits, FaceTime and what’s app. I hope you can have Christmas stateside!

  116. olivia says...

    My baby boy, Gabriel is almost 11 month and I can’t believe it…
    I still feel like my body is a mess, it is hurting all the time…
    I love him more than I could ever imagine, but we broke up with his mom when he was 15 days old and I feel lonely all the time…
    That’s not how i dreamt of it…
    I wouldn’t change a thing in him, my sunny, smiling, stubborn, non sleeping baby, but I wish I could live all that with someone… and the thought of not having him one other week end is awful…
    Working full time I feel like I never see him, I come home when he needs to sleep, he wake up so much at night I basically never sleep more than 3 hours, and then he wake up and go to daycare…
    The pandemic was a « good » thing for us cause I had two more month with him before going back to work…
    I am lucky though, his second mom and I are getting along well enough, so when I am really sick (I was last night) I called her and she came… but taking care of my baby, my work, my house, administrative duty, cooking for him and all… I almost never have time to eat diner (he sleeps at 21/22 and then I have to clean the dishes and the house and I have no courage to make food for me)… i never never never would have imagine it to be so hard… but in the same time I love him so much and want more of him and feel guilty if I ask for help or if I take « me » time…

    • Hayley says...

      Olivia! This sounds so hard. I wish I could cook you a meal, you are not in London are you? Take care of yourself and try to eat earlier, while holding that sweet baby. Easier said than done, I know. I had my third baby last summer and right now I’m sitting in the dark with my hand on his back so he can sleep! I vowed not to let this happen AGAIN! Ha ha, so much for babies + plans

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Olivia, sending you the biggest hug. That sounds impossibly hard. You are doing such a great job. IT WILL GET EASIER. So much love to you. xoxoxo

  117. Keri says...

    Thank you for opening up this space. It is amazing to read everyones individual stories. Motherhood is hard and being in a pandemic is hard. I live in Australia, and my baby boy Owen is 12 weeks old.
    We are so lucky to have been able to deliver without a mask on, with my husband there. We have no community cases in my state, moms groups are back on, and we’ve even been to mum and Bub aquacise classes.
    But our whole family lives overseas. It breaks my heart that he has not been able to meet his grandparents and great-grandparents. His aunties and uncles haven’t been to hold him and spoil him. It’s a 14 hour time difference so even FaceTime and phone calls with friends and family back home are limited.
    We don’t have much of a support network here, My husband works 10-12 hours days and most days I feel very very alone.
    So thats where we are at… Incredibly grateful for where we live right now, but incredibly homesick at the same time.

    • Rusty says...

      Where are you, Keri?
      I’m in Perth (South Perth). There must be some support groups you can reach out to?
      My niece is a midwife at the women’s hospital in Subiaco and she said they run groups to help with the additional isolation from Covid. If you’re in Perth, maybe call them and see what they are running.
      xx

    • Keri says...

      Rusty, I’m in South Freo! Thank you so much for your reply. I am going to give Subi a call and see if I can find more info! Xx

  118. Maria says...

    Our second daughter Elia, was born in June. Anxiety was through the roof from March- July for developing reasons… had preeclampsia so was induced at hospital (waaah, wanted to labor in the safety of my home) for 24 hours before i gave birth, had post preeclampsia so back at the hospital for three days away from my six day old while my hero husband took care of both my girls when I could not. Also had to visit the ER right after and get a blood patch to my epidural site bc of a leak of spinal fluid… but 4 months later I have the sweetest chubby cheeked baby, she has the best big sister, I’m trying to navigate working remotely, we have weekly sister parties that include flowers and ice cream bc why not, trying to date my husband in the bedroom after bedtime, getting serious FOMO when we see family and friend gatherings on social media who are not taking this pandemic as serious as us… this chunk of time will surely be remembered with a strange gratefulness for quality family time, our overall health, not having to pack and plan my days away and I will never take for granted fun things anymore like Disneyland and hugging.

  119. Monica says...

    This is such a great idea! Thomas was born in April, and welcomed at home after about 3 hours of labor. He’s five months old now so it’s been 6.5 months of “two weeks to flatten the curve” here. In a way, it came at a decent time because having a baby, we weren’t going anywhere for awhile. People ordered us takeout or dropped off food to us. No one badgered us to meet the baby.

    It was my easiest labor and postpartum out of our three. No breech presentation, no hemorrhage, no tongue tie, no breastfeeding challenges, no complications at all. It feels a little shameful to say, but after my two very difficult other birth experiences in which I worked very hard, I feel like I kind of deserve this peaceful one. I’m really thankful and I’m enjoying having a baby for the first time, especially in such an uncertain time.

    We’re homeschooling by choice and are navigating the transition pretty well with a baby. My heart goes out to the mamas who are struggling during this time. Any attempt at consolation runs the risk of feeling like a platitude – I have no idea when things will get better. What I do know is that focusing on what is real in the moment can be powerful. My baby is real, right now in this moment, real and good and I love him. My big kids are real and good and I love them.

    Sending love

  120. Jessi says...

    My baby Oscar was born in May at the height of the pandemic here in UK (though we are sliding into second wave as I type this) induced at 41+5 weeks and had to be on my own in the ward for a full day and night until my waters broke and my husband was allowed to come in. After the birth I had to go back on ward as they were short staffed and couldn’t do a full check that evening. So husband had to leave and I was on my own with first baby again…it was terrifying! No idea how to breastfeed and so short staffed that I didn’t get discharged until 4pm the following day. No parents visiting no friends, no new mum groups. Can’t get the baby weighed, can’t take the baby swimming. No baby play dates, no yoga or health check for me. At the start of lockdown there was no toilet paper, nappies , no formula for sale (in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed) it was utter chaos! I have a beautiful son and we are healthy and things are ok but I can’t help grieving the simple basic things that we have missed.

    I can’t even imagine what it must be like in America where your healthcare isn’t free….insanity.

  121. Hannah says...

    My second daughter, Felicity, was born at the end of July. The labour and birth were back to back and so scary and I was on my own for most of it and over 24 hours after delivery because of Covid. I had ppd the first time round but this time I feel so much more confident and Felicity is so smiley and easy going that I keep feeling sad that I can’t take her to any classes and show her off, especially as I don’t plan to have any more. It took me over a year to get pregnant though so I’m just trying to be grateful everyday.

  122. Jenny says...

    I had my first baby in July- a beautiful baby girl named Beatrice. She is our shining light in this difficult year. I’ve definitely felt isolated, particularly because we moved from NYC to California two years ago. I was just starting to get settled at work, and beginning to think about trying to make new friends out here when I got pregnant. Being tired and what-not through the 1st trimester, and quarantine life beginning in the second, I still have not made any new friends outside of work. And I haven’t even seen my coworkers, as I was given permission to work from home up to my due date.
    Our hospital stay post birth was so quiet. In a way it was peaceful and nice to bond just the three of us. But as time has gone on, it’s become hard to not have family around. We came out here to be closer to my in-laws, as there are tons of kids in the family. I look so foreword to Beatrice being able to safely be surrounded by rambunctious cousins. And to have in-person support beyond my husband (who, bless his heart helps out as much as he can when he’s not locked away teaching high school virtually).
    I’m scared about maternity leave ending. I’m praying my boss will let me work from home again for awhile, as I work in healthcare in a hospital, and the thought of bringing COVID home to my amazing little girl makes me queasy. For now I just enjoy her gummy grin as much as I can.

  123. Maggie says...

    Name help please!

    Thank you for this post. We are expecting our first in A few weeks and I appreciate that I can come back to this post in the coming months as we navigate parenting and Covid.

    We are intent on naming our child with a name that starts with M, however lately none of the boy options on our list are sitting right with me. Does anyone have suggestions for an M name for a boy? (I’m happy to hear girl names too if people want to share!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ooh what a fun question (and congratulations)!!! Im sure you’ve thought of some of these but how about…Mack, Mateo or Milo? And Murray sounds so cute and friendly :)

    • b says...

      Ooh, I like Milo. What about Maddox?

    • Anne Koplin says...

      Matan. This is my son’s name. Accent on the second syllable. Means ‘gift’ in Hebrew. I love it ?

    • Maggie says...

      My son’s name is Miles :)

    • Katrina says...

      I love Malcolm and Marty.

    • anneso says...

      Matias
      Mauris
      Marcel
      Maxime
      Malo
      Marcus
      Matthieu
      Sorry if the names sounda bit foreign but I am french ;)

    • Rose says...

      Miles!

    • JB says...

      Fellow “M” namer over here. We named our son Maxwell and it suits him (my husband is an electrical engineer and big fan of James Clerk Maxwell :)

      We’re having a daughter in a few weeks and we’re leaning heavily towards Marlowe.

    • Janelle says...

      I love the name Matthias for a boy and Miriam for a girl :) Congratulations on your first baby and wishing you a safe delivery and happy start to motherhood!

    • Carolyn says...

      Congratulations Maggie!
      My 8 year old son is named Miles and we love it-Timeless, easy to spell, not too masculine, nor too feminine.
      Best of luck to you!

    • Lily says...

      Marius was on our list (my favorite book is Les Miserables)

    • Alison D says...

      I love Joanna’s suggestions of Mack or Milo! Also love Miles and, if your looking for something more rare, Mars.

    • Kathryn says...

      Miller! I like last names as first names, haha.

    • G says...

      My daughter’s name is Maayan (pronounced Ma-ayan). It is a Hebrew name that means “spring” like spring of water, and is unisex. People have had some trouble pronouncing it and often say “Mayan” but I don’t mind and will teach my baby girl that she should politely correct people when needed. Good luck!

    • Emily L says...

      I love the idea of Mars!

    • Christina says...

      Maybe…
      Morgan
      Martin
      Mikael
      Måns
      Mattias
      Magnus
      Malcolm
      Max

    • emma says...

      Mario
      Marco
      Marcos
      Matias
      Miguel
      Mikel
      Milan

    • Regina says...

      Maggie – My son is named Massimo and it’s the best.

    • Kari says...

      I love Maxime! While on a high school exchange, I met a handsome French guy named Maxime and it’s always stuck with me as such an attractive, cool name. :)

    • S. says...

      How about Morgan? Could be girl or boy, but I’ve met many more boy Morgans :)

    • Chelsea says...

      Hi Maggie! First of all, my daughter is a Maggie, so I love your name. :) Maggie’s little brother is Maxwell James, we usually call him Max, but we also love to call him Maximus, Maximo, and Maximilian for fun. Good luck!

    • Anne Rüsing says...

      Marc (Anthony), Martin, Max(imilian), Marcus, Matthew, Mathias, Mats, Menander, Michael, Milan, Malte, Marvin, Marius, Malik, Mael, Magnus, Matteo, Mirco/Mirko, Moritz/Maurice, Manuel …
      Do let us know! Good luck
      a

    • Kat says...

      Hello. If we had a boy we were going to call him Magnus (but we had a girl!).
      In our extended family we have a Malakai, Maverick and also friends with a Maximus. Good luck!

    • Muzzy says...

      Macslan! Mac and Max are such cute nicknames. It’s of welsh origin and not common!

    • Tara says...

      I’ve always liked Marlow (or Marlo or Marlowe)

    • Marsha says...

      I weirdly like michael (nn Carl or Mickey) as it reminds me of Michael Banks in Mary Poppins!
      Misha is russian and can also be used as a in for Michael
      Mitchell or alternative spellings
      Marshall as a long version of Mars?
      Miguel
      Mike
      Myles
      I am surprised nobody has mentioned Monty yet! It’s so sweet and unusual but easily pronounced and recognizable. If you like to a longer name Montagu(e) or Montgomery? I love Montague the most, the Romeo/ Juliet romantic in me!!
      Max is such an adorable name! Longer forms include:
      Maximilian ( My friend Millie’s name as his parents wanted to name him after the Millennium Falcon!)
      Maximus
      Maxim ( After Dauphine De Maurier’s Rebecca)
      Maximo ( Baby Mo! I’m melting it’s so cute).

      Let us know what you decide on when Mr M or Little Miss M is born!

    • Lauren says...

      I have a Morrison, but I also love Milo (and every Milo I’ve ever met is wonderful). I like the Miller recommendation too (and I’m obviously okay with last names as first names)!

    • Robin says...

      How about Moe, Marvin, Murphy, or Manny?
      Best wishes!

    • Em says...

      My dad’s name is Miro (he’s Slovak) but I recently met another Miro named after the artist. Either way you slice it, I think it’s a lovely name :) Good luck!

    • A says...

      Our son’s name is Mason :)

    • Danielle says...

      Our son’s middle name is Milan, after a Serbian friend who shared the same middle name (not after the city).

    • Jenn says...

      Has anybody seen Murray? He’s around here somewhere.

    • shannon says...

      I have a Miles and a Mack-both delightful boys.

    • Jules says...

      We have a Maximilian too and it’s a great name! We had #4 last year (first girl!) and one of the boy options was Montgomery. I think Monty is such a cute nickname.

      Nameberry.com is a great resource. They have a name generator where you can put in names you like and it suggests similar names. You can also search by meaning, beginning/ending letter(s), or origin!

    • Leah says...

      My favorite M names for boys:
      Morris
      Micah
      Martin
      Mel
      Murphy
      For girls:
      Marina
      Marie
      Mimi
      Maria
      Maura
      Maya
      Mila

    • Alison says...

      One of my son’s names is Miller and I love it so much! Perfect balance of being unusual but not weird. (Nothing wrong with weird obviously:)

    • Polly says...

      What about Mika?

    • Rue says...

      My dad is Mark and my grandfather was Moses (Moe). I’m considering Moses as a first or middle name for a future kid!

    • Marisa says...

      My mom and her siblings named their kids with only M names! Just one boy however-Mitchell- the others are Marisa, Melody, and Mandy :)

    • KRB says...

      We named our son Mayes. He is 6.5 now!

    • Naomi says...

      We called our youngest son Marcus. Jude was the other name we considered but when he was born we knew Marcus was the one. All will become clear!

  124. Kelly says...

    My son was born March 15th. We’re in Ottawa, Canada and everything locked down the very next day. He was born at home with midwives, my friend and husband there. This was my second and I am sooo grateful I had done it all before!

    It’s been hard not sharing him with others. He’s so cute and I just want to introduce his beautiful, smiling face to everyone. We named him Orion.

    • Joyce says...

      What a wonderful name, Kelly! I love it. My personal favorite constellation :)

  125. Rachel says...

    I feel so alone. With the pandemic, I’m home so much although we are seeing family members, and don’t know who to talk to about all my feelings or how to talk about them. Today has been really bad, and I don’t know how to get back to feeling like myself. No matter what I do, it never feels like enough, and the sense of accomplishment never lasts more than an hour or two before we’re onto the next thing. I’m working so hard to get things right, and it doesn’t feel right that something is lurking in my brain and stealing my joy. I worked so hard to get this baby here, but I don’t seem to be reaping any rewards. I’m sorry that this is so dark and scary,
    I just started seeing a therapist for postpartum depression but this is my honest outlook today.

    • Janelle says...

      I’m so sorry things have been difficult lately, Rachel. Even though you may feel alone, you are not alone. I am sending you a loving hug and a promise that things will get better. I’m glad that you are reaching out and will start seeing a therapist for postpartum depression. Seeking help demonstrates how strong and capable you are and therapy can make all the difference.

    • Carolyn says...

      Rachel-Your very honest post does not go unnoticed. Sending you tons of love and positive vibes. These early days are not easy and can be completely disorienting. I can’t even begin to imagine facing it all amidst a pandemic. Remember-Everything is impermanent and this is especially true for babies and kids. One foot in front of the other (and maybe a soothing and/or uplifting soundtrack in the background and lots of cozy cups of tea to help fill those longer days ;))

    • Lily says...

      Ugh I am so sorry. This might sound stupid, but you are truly not alone (working through PPA on top of lifelong depression here! It sucks!) Everyone is extra anxious and tender now, being a new mom is extra anxious and tender, it’s a powder keg. I totally get the feeling like your life is now a series of ten thousand interruptions. I miss being able to focus (on anything, even my kids). I hope the therapy helps. Something that my therapist suggested that has worked pretty well is to turn off my phone, hand the babies over, and take 20 quiet minutes to myself every day to do nothing, just ground myself a little bit by slowing down. Virtual hugs.

    • G says...

      I’m so sorry to hear that your days have been difficult, Rachel. It WILL get better. I struggled with those same feelings after the births of both of my children, and that without a worldwide pandemic! It did require help from a therapist and in one case, medication. No shame in seeking help. I know it is hard to express these difficult feelings to others about a time in your life that many people expect to be joyful, but I hope you will find someone that you can trust with this so you don’t feel so alone. What you are feeling is so common, you are a wonderful mother and the joy of parenthood will find you soon. XO

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Rachel, that sounds impossibly hard. Sending you the biggest hug. I’m so sorry you’re going through this dark time. I suffered from PPD after the birth of both of my boys, and I felt like it would never, ever end. I remember telling Alex after Anton was born, “We’ve made a terrible mistake.” But!!! IT DID END and then I was happy again and my children are the great joys of my life. It will end for you, too, I promise. One thing that really helped me was going on medication — for me, that meant Celexa — and my doctor said that was safe for breastfeeding. So, I wanted to put that out there, in case it’s something you want to consider talking to your doctor or therapist about. Sending you the biggest hug, mama. You’ll get through this, it WILL end. xoxo

    • Allyson says...

      Sending love to you. Things WILL get better!

    • Sage says...

      You are not alone. After 3 months I finally felt sorta kinda a little bit like myself again. There’s a light at the end of the young infant tunnel, I promise. You are not JUST a mom, although I’m sure you are an excellent one. Proud of you for being honest and seeking the help you need and deserve.

  126. S says...

    I’m pregnant with my first baby who is due next spring. I already felt some blues in my first tri – from feeling crappy/sick, having to power through rough days at work (from preg symptoms) where I am a healthcare worker, not seeing friends often enough due to covid, listening to the news (bleh)…but I’ve found new ways to have joy and am holding onto hope! Very excited for baby. Hoping very hard that things will look better then than they do today.

  127. Cass says...

    My second son Bennett was born the end of June and I feel like we are really coming up for air now that we passed the 3 month mark (the fourth trimester is so real!). I had a very hard time with PPD following the birth of my first and I was so looking forward to using maternity this time leave to be more active and social.. then COVID hit. I am so lucky I have family nearby to help us but I still have hard days and days I’m so angry we can’t just go to the playground.

    I’ve loved reading all these comments. Xox

  128. C says...

    For years, I have been reading your motherhood posts and yearning to be part of the comment club. After struggling with infertility, I found out I am pregnant two weeks ago. I have my first pregnancy scan tomorrow and am grateful and excited but also so nervous. I pray that at this time next year I will be a new mother too.

    Joanna, would you consider doing a motherhood post about those experiencing I fertility during the pandemic? A lot of people have been faced with canceled cycles and postponed treatments, which is truly heartbreaking, and it could help those going through it to see that they are not alone. Sending love to all the mothers – old, new, and those still waiting!

    • Rachel says...

      C, thinking very good positive thoughts for you, but also doing that thing where I hold my breath a bit because I know how scary this moment can be. We managed to sneak in a fertility treatment right before COVID shut everything down, we assumed it wouldn’t work but it did. I’m 37 weeks now, and I’m still (honestly) a bit in disbelief that this giant belly is holding a human.

    • J says...

      Hi C,

      Congratulations! I’m in a similar boat- just found out last week that I’m pregnant from a round of IVF and I’m so excited (and still in shock) but I don’t know if the nervousness will ever go away. There are still so many hurdles and the uncertainty and heartbreak after so many years has left me a less optimistic person.

      I would also love to see a motherhood post around infertility during the pandemic. It’s a whole new level of lonely, especially as the “quarantine baby” posts keep coming (part of the reason I’m now off social media).

      Anyway, I wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you as you head to your first scan today! I also send love to anyone who is struggling to accept that their reality is not what they envisioned.

      J

    • Kate says...

      Congratulations!!! Will be thinking of you today :) xoxo

    • Dawn says...

      Best of luck to you, C. I’m having my first IUI this month and I’m trying to remain hopeful while knowing the odds of it working are low. This has been wild to experience during a pandemic. I’m hoping we will all have great stories to tell our kids when we survive this time.

    • C says...

      Just echoing how lonely struggling to get pregnant has been during the pandemic. I read another comment describing infertility as its own kind of quarantine, which is so true. It’s been far more isolating and scary for me than covid has, though that’s not to say the pandemic hasn’t been weighing heavily on me as well. Sigh, sending light and love to all.

  129. Melisa says...

    Our son was born in July, when his older sister was 21 months old. Pre-pandemic, I spent the first trimester riddled with anxiety and fear about the idea of having two under two, and when lockdown happened that fear and overwhelm didn’t really subside, as might be expected. I spent the rest of the pregnancy channelling my anxiety in preparing for the birth, and flailing around trying to figure out how to prepare for having two kids (nope, didn’t happen). Surprisingly, the first couple of months of having two kids were far easier than I was expecting (in part because the birth and recovery were much easier this time) – we realized that our whole lives had already been turned around when our daughter was born, and the mould prepared for our son to nestle into. And summer felt like such a reprieve from covid-19. However, as the covid case count has sky-rocketed in the last couple of weeks in Toronto, where we live, my anxiety has come rushing back. The long days, warmth and safe-feeling park outings of the summer feel well and truly over, and I’m dreading the long, arduous Canadian winter with a hyper-active toddler and baby. Our two days of daycare a week are a sanity saver for me, as are the playgrounds in our neighbourhood, but I’m expecting them to get shut down again soon. Comparatively we are so, so incredibly lucky: secure in work and housing, healthy (knock on wood), with wonderful kids and a good marital relationship, but the all-encompassing feeling of doom of this period is hard to ignore, especially with the awesome responsibility of two beautiful little lives. Perversely, I find myself (almost) grateful for the 15 years’ experience of my anxiety disorder, which has taught me myriad coping mechanisms at times when I felt like my life was unraveling.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending you love, Melisa, and so much good luck and strength navigating the winter with your little ones. xoxoxoxo

  130. Daisy says...

    Our neighbors 2 doors from us had a baby girl at the height of COVID. There is a green belt right next to our home and one day on a walk around neighborhood, saw the new parents surrounded by friends and family 6 feet apart and the new parents were showing off their baby in a public space outside their home. The craziness of all of this hit me. We briefly spoke to them and the dad was all chatty and recounted the birth story. I came back home and decided to send a gift anonymously from “their neighbors”, with a note that how their baby is a Hope among all the chaos and an indication that life goes on. My own sister adopted a baby girl from India and was stuck there for over 9 months to get her daughter’s passport and visa. Now, finally their family is all together. My heart goes to all the new parents who are dealing with parenthood during this crazy time.