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. AB says...

    Thank you so much for opening this up, I immediately started crying after reading the title. My second child was born in February of this year and the first text I saw after giving birth was from a dear friend, and mother to her own baby, confirming she had a rare form of stage four cancer. I wept as I nursed my fresh baby and my midwifes checked me over, having gone from a state of beautiful relief and joy to fear and sorrow. I got to see my friend once before lock down and she held my baby son, which is still so very precious to me. As she underwent brutal treatment and I did my best to support my colicky son through hours of inconsolable screaming while in isolation, I deeply mourned what I thought this time in our lives would be and gravely feared I might never see her in person again. The thought of her having to say goodbye to her daughter is still too terrible a thought to fully contemplate. My own mother died when I was a child from a sudden, unknown illness that presented very similarly to COVID. She left our home for the emergency room the day after my 10th birthday and never returned. I never said goodbye. It all dredged up a heavy grief that blanketed my every move. It felt like having the wind knocked out of me to fear for my friend, for the country. I understood in a new way what my own mother had lost, while desperately wishing she could be there to help with my beautiful, endlessly cranky baby who looks so much like both of us and brilliant prickly pear of a preschooler.
    I am eternally grateful that my friend has just recently been declared cancer free after 7 months of surgeries and intensive chemo. She moved last week across the country to be near family and we did get one last ultra distanced bittersweet goodbye.
    Sending love and strength to you all.

    • Dawn says...

      AB,

      You sound like an incredibly strong person. What good news that your friend is cancer free. Hugs.

    • AB says...

      Thanks, Dawn ❤️ didn’t realize how tense I was until reading everyone’s stories & writing my own. Hoping let go of some of that grief and fear, and continue to love on and appreciate my people.
      Strength and love to all those traveling their own journeys through grief, whatever form it takes.

  2. Rachel says...

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve loved becoming a new mom during COVID. We had our baby in June in NYC, and while I was sad not to have family or friends visit, it was glorious to be able to soak up my new baby in total and utter peace. I felt so much less pressure to be a perfect mom compared to some of my friends who had babies in non-COVID times. I didn’t need to worry about a clean house, forcing myself to go out, having dishes in the sink, or dressing for visitors – all I needed to do was focus on snuggling and loving my new baby. I was expecting the first few weeks home with her to be the hardest of my life without friend or family support, but honestly they were the best weeks of my life. Being a new parent is hard in any time – COVID just makes it a different kind of hard.

    • Jackie says...

      I am with you! My son is 8 weeks old and I have really loved the calm, peaceful time with just him and my husband.

  3. Catherine says...

    My 6 month old, Emilia, was born in April, about a week or two after our state was shut down. She’s our first-born. New parenthood is isolating and scary enough as it is. Throwing an extremely contagious, largely unknown disease in the mix made it even worse.

    I try to counter every negative thought with something positive – to find the silver lining. Sure, nobody was allowed to visit us in the hospital or come by the house those hazy first weeks, but she’s our first, so I don’t feel like I truly missed out on something tangible.

    My husband and I were both at home the entire first 4 months of her life (he’s a teacher), and when I went back to work remotely 8 weeks after she was born. There have been many, many tears between all 3 of us, but we’re figuring it out. What I miss the most is having our families be able to visit and actually hold her. It kills me that she “met” her great-grandmother through a window at a nursing home. My youngest brother still hasn’t held her because of his job.

    Parenthood is HARD. Brand-new parenthood in a pandemic is downright terrifying, especially when you have people not respecting your wishes and requests to keep your family safe. I’m sick of being judged for not grocery shopping in person or going out to a restaurant.

    At the end of the day, I have a sweet, happy baby girl that surprisingly does not have stranger danger. I adore my little family of 3 and am so appreciative of online shopping and delivery.

  4. Stephanie says...

    We had our first child, Emilia, this summer. To top it off, right around the start of the pandemic my husband developed a rare disease that put him in a wheelchair and with incredibly weak muscles(we hope temporarily). Although our baby is just absolutely amazing, and my husband is slowly getting better and gaining strength, I have been feeling a sense of grief that we are missing out on typical first baby experiences. During pregnancy, a pandemic meant no baby shower, no shopping in person for baby gear, not having friends and family see my growing bump in person. As we adjusted to being a family of three, it was incredibly stressful to not have his physical help, and we are both sad that his is not be able to change a diaper, pick her up on his own, prepare a bottle, and the list goes on. I go to a new moms group and it has been SO nice to finally get out, and meet people, but it meets outside and will end in a few weeks when it is too cold—thanks Covid. It’s been really hard to face the fact that it feels unfair, and that we’ve had to so drastically change our expectations for this time.

  5. Jen says...

    Thank you to all the mamas who shared their stories on this post. I’ve so enjoyed reading them all and felt such a sense of community while doing so.

    Our sweet Maeven was born in late December. Just today, my husband and I took her to the park for the first time and left after five minutes when we realized “this isn’t really fun if you can’t touch anything.” The memories!

    Right after she was born, I had a really rough time with PPD while I was on leave when it was still the darkest parts of winter. Then I went back to work for two weeks before being sent home again to teach remotely because of COVID. Mostly, we have been taking each day so slowly. Our routines now involve things like “looking at the birds” “checking on the flowers” and “counting the leaves” Everyday at 4:00, we lay a blanket in the yard and just lay outside – Maeve, my husband, and me. It’s amazing how much just looking at the sky can ground you.

    Two things have been equally hard about parenting in isolation. First is how insanely much I miss being hugged by my mom. How often, for how many different reasons, in both my happiest moments with my daughter as well as the hardest times of motherhood, all I want is to be close to her. Second is the “doom spiral” that comes from being a human with access to the news in the year 2020. How uniquely painful it is to nurse a little baby while reading about refrigerated tractor trailers being converted into temporary morgues in New York, playing “peek-a-boo” while hearing about the death of Breonna Taylor for the first time, to see Maeve’s perfectly round little belly rise and fall as she sleeps while looking at pictures of the fires on the West Coast. In these moments I can’t help but ask – what have we done?

    I know someday this will end and when it does I will look back on this moment with sorrow for the lost time, gratitude for the gift of time, and hope that this will be the last time.

    Sending love and strength to all.

  6. J Y says...

    I really need to hear this “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job”; so thank you! I just had my baby three weeks ago and have been struggling with breastfeeding. It could just be me being completely ignorant prior to being a mom, but the discussion of how difficult the breastfeeding can be needs to happen more. I question myself hundreds of times a day, feel incompetent that I can’t provide for my baby his basic needs, and break down into tears many times already when he is fussy and screaming and I don’t know whether it is out of hunger or he is doing what a baby does. We are still trying, seeing lactation consultants and doing muscle training. I have been feeling I’m not enough for my baby and your post reminds me that I am a good mom just for trying. Sending all the positive vibes to moms out there struggling with the same thing, you are not alone.

    • Lily says...

      YOU ARE DOING GREAT (and if you need to give your baby formula it 200 percent will not be the end of the world, haters gonna hate). Something that really helped me when I was in your shoes was a friend reminding me that feeding is only a part of caring for a baby! There is so, so, so much else that you are offering your little one in addition to food.

    • Allie says...

      I second what Lily said – you’re doing a great job! I have an 8-week old and struggled with milk production, I felt so deeply like I was letting my son down because I couldn’t feed him. But eventually I made the switch to formula and what helped me make that decision was how much it was impacting my ability to connect with my son. We can go out and buy food for him, but we can’t replace the love and connection I provide. Also, my doula telling me that I’m not letting him down by switching to formula, on the contrary I went to great lengths to try and make breastfeeding work at great personal cost. Whatever you decide you’ve already done so much for him – you’re a great mom and wether he breastfeeds or not doesn’t change that!

  7. Shelby says...

    Thank you for making this space! My twin boys were born in May. The first month of their lives was a blur, spent shuttling back and forth to the NICU and then just surviving once we were all at home. Luckily after a few weeks of quarantining, we were able to have my parents start helping us which made all the difference. Maybe most helpful has been supportive friends and family who couldn’t come hold our babies, but could share their own experiences and by doing so give us permission to acknowledge how hard this period of our lives was while knowing it would get better quickly. And it did. Our precious boys are 5 months old, and such joys.

  8. Evan says...

    My son Leo turned three weeks today. We live in Brooklyn, and after daily grief-inducing struggles over breastfeeding, he just figured out how to latch onto my breast. Each day brings a tiny or not-so-tiny victory.

    The past three weeks have been raw, blissful, beautiful, exhausting. It’s isolating for sure not being able to have family or friends come and visit- or even professional postpartum support- but at the same time, there’s something to be said for holing up with your partner and really figuring things out on your own.

  9. Oh, fellow moms. How I love your beautiful stories. Thank you so much for sharing.

    While I don’t have a newborn during this pandemic, I do have a 14 month old and a 3 year old. For our younger daughter, this pandemic has caused her to fear other people. Every time we’ve encountered someone who isn’t one of the three people she regularly sees, she just wails, so unused she is to “strange” faces. She’s so under-stimulated that she’s bored, at home, all day, every day. She fusses and cries SO much of the time, and we’re still (still!) trying to get her to sleep through the night. My bones are tired.

    This should be such an entertaining, curious time of life for her (and for us), but we’ve been quarantined for all the months that she’s actually been cognizant of the world around her. I ache to think that this has been her introduction to life.

  10. E says...

    Thank you so much for this space, Joanna. It’s a balm to read other new parents’ comments.

    My Theo was born at the beginning of June, the week COVID peaked in our town. I was beside myself with stress that something would keep my husband from being able to be with me for the birth, that I would test positive for COVID upon admission, or that I’d end up being induced like I was with my first. What ultimately ended up happening was that my water broke in the middle of the night, and when I stood up, I started hemorrhaging. I went to the hospital via ambulance and had an emergency cesarean birth due to a placental abruption. It was a reminder to me that we can worry over every possibility imaginable, and yet the thing that ends up happening is often something we never even considered. Thank heavens, he was perfectly healthy, and he is the happiest baby I’ve ever met!

    To make things a bit more complicated, we’re living in a four-generation household while we complete renovations on a condo we purchased 18 months ago. When the pandemic hit, we made the hard decision to hunker down here with my parents for awhile longer – knowing at least we had help and community this way. Thank goodness we did, because my mother was here to stay with our three-year-old when I was rushed to the hospital and my husband was able to be with me. Of course, this means we’ve been in incredibly close quarters in a very tender time (and as an introvert, I’ll be honest – I’m struggling). But also, this has given my parents and 86 year old grandmother the gift of time with our children that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

    The cherry on top of it all is that my husband and I are theatre actors, and there is no safe return to theatre in sight. When I think about it all at once, it’s deeply overwhelming.

    I’m one of the lucky ones, and it’s still hard. Thank you for the permission to share.

  11. Annette says...

    Baby Xavi was born a bit less than a year ago, but as soon as he got his first round of shots it was back to Moldova for my husband’s work. There, I was planning to have a full time nanny and ease my way back into remote work. Not so easy to find, and then completely out of the question once Covid started exploding all over Europe. So it was Xavi, my husband and me navigating the lock down, along with being new parents, on our own, in a very foreign country. There was a lot of food deliveries, weeks we never left the apartment, and a ton of home made baby food. My bicycle was mounted on a trainer, on our balcony, so that I could get some sunlight and fresh air everyday (I’m pretty sure peloton wife got the last laugh on all of us). And then the move back to the US during the summer, us stressed as all hell about traveling with our baby. He thought pulling our masks off was a fun way to spend 17 hours. Now we’re finally back at home almost breathing a sigh of relief, but still completely destroyed and exhausted from the last year. I can say there is nothing more comforting than seeing everyone in masks outside. Please keep it up everyone, if alone in solidarity…

  12. Michelle says...

    We added a third child to our family in May, a 14yo boy! Our nephew has come to live with us as a kinship foster child, and when I read the title of this post, I thought “wait a minute…I’m a new mom again too!” We have two girls of our own, but adding a third, and a teenager(!) who had had a challenging past and who cannot meet new friends or settle into sports/interests thx to the pandemic has been really tough. A good reminder that while it is not a baby, it’s also a new parenting adventure. Xoxo’s to all the mamas out there!

  13. Toni says...

    My 4 month old daughter, Claire, has a very sunny personality. She almost always has a huge smile that takes up her entire face. I had a super complicated pregnancy with preeclampsia and postpartum preeclampsia. I’m pretty sure she’s an easy going baby because I had such a difficult pregnancy. She was born at the height of COVID in NYC and it was so tough to be isolated with a newborn with just my husband (we had no idea what we were doing). It forced us to call tons of friends and family with kids and we’ve become closer to our favorite people than ever before.

    Also, I’m pretty sure my baby girl thinks her gran lives in an iphone – she perks up whenever I pick up my phone but if my mom’s warm voice and bright smile aren’t on the screen immediately, she completely loses interest.

    • E says...

      This made me tear up. Sending you so much love Toni. Claire sounds wonderful.

    • Ginger says...

      I also have a new daughter named Claire! She’s 12 weeks today. And I also had post-partum preeclampsia, even though she’s my third girl, and I didn’t have it with either of my first two pregnancies. It was so rough, and my husband had to stay home with our big girls when I went back to the hospital for treatment for my post-partum preeclampsia. I read your comment and instantly felt connected to your story.

      I also tested positive for Covid-19 back in March when I was 22 weeks pregnant. We were living in a rental while we renovated our home and preparing to move back in, so we have had QUITE the eventful year (hasn’t everyone?). Baby Claire has been a bright spot during all this. She started daycare yesterday, and today when we woke up, we received an email that their daycare is closing for 2 weeks because of a positive Covid case. The curve balls just keep coming. If nothing else, we’re learning to be flexible, and I’m honestly happy she gets to be home another couple weeks with me, even if I have to nurse during work calls. Sending you and all the other moms many positive thoughts!

    • Danielle McG says...

      Oh my, my little one is 8 months old now and thinks the same thing about his grandparents living in the phone!! I called my best friend and Darragh was looking at the phone like “where is she” because it was just a voice call!!! It mind blowing that they catch on so quickly!

    • Toni says...

      Thanks, E! <3

      Oh Ginger, the preeclampsia/postpartum preeclampsia journey is a rough one. We are tough mothers for getting through all of it! I'm so glad our little Claires are thriving despite all the hurdles. Sending you and your family good vibes as you take on all the curve balls thrown your way!

      Danielle! Your little one is so smart! Our tiny humans know a lot more than we can even imagine.

  14. Lauren Mandel says...

    I had our IVF baby, Daisy, in June. She was our only embryo, so truly a miracle. When Daisy was born on June 22, I was thrilled but also nervous and anxious and terrified. If that wasn’t enough, on June 26, my mom died. I cried a lot, and it was hard to tell if it was the sadness and mourning or hormones. Probably a combination of both. While I’ll never know for sure, I do know that the fourth trimester is real, and it’s even more real when you don’t have the support you always imagined. I couldn’t go to the park to meet new moms or take group classes. I tried a new moms Zoom class, but somehow it made me feel even more alone. We were even nervous having our family into our home. Daisy is now 15 weeks old, I’m back to work, and I feel like I’m just finally seeing the light these past few weeks. Hang in there, new mamas.

    • Daniela says...

      Sending you so many hugs.

    • Alex says...

      Lauren

      It’s the hardest time and you lost your MoMma!!!! Girl you are doing great. Hang in there. I’m so so sorry and you’re amazing. I bet your mom thinks your doing great and is so proud of you.

    • Sonja says...

      Sending you so much love. I’m so sorry for your loss and you are an amazing mama I can already tell.

    • Sara says...

      So sorry about your mom. Sending you a virtual hug

    • Daisy says...

      I am so sorry for your loss and congratulations on your new born. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. When I had my baby, my mom was already gone for 7 years and I had shed many a tears thinking of the all important milestones of our life that she would not be a part of.

    • Charlotte says...

      That sounds so hard but you seem to be coping so exceptionally well through it all. X

    • MB says...

      Lauren, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. My mom died when last year when my youngest was 5 months and I had a 2.5 year old and I’m only just now coming out the other side of the grief/depression. If you can afford to get help of any sort – a therapist, babysitter, cleaning lady, I would encourage you to do so. Hang in there. New parenthood is emotionally and physically exhausting and I found grieving to be incredibly taxing as well – self care is paramount.

    • Christina M says...

      I’m so so sorry. What a bittersweet time for you. Sending you and Daisy so much love. I hope your mom’s memory brings you comfort.

    • Molly says...

      Oh goodness, this made my heart hurt for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine losing my mom at all, let alone so early in the postpartum period. At the same time I am so happy for your miracle baby Daisy, I hope she brings you so much joy. Good luck with heading back to work, you’re so strong mama!

  15. Joyce says...

    My baby boy Cole was born in November of 2019, and although I’m extra thankful we got to have our first few months pre-pandemic, we were hyper-aware of flu season with a newborn. It was literally the week after his 4 months shots, and I was *just* starting to feel like a human again after all the sleep deprivation, and planning to take him on his first subway ride to visit friends when covid hit.

    I think it’s been a really, really hard year. New motherhood is isolating to begin with. Putting the pandemic on top of things has amplified the isolation. Thank you for creating this space to remind me I’m not alone.

    • M says...

      I have a “baby” boy Cole also. He’s 9. I am sorry you are feeling isolated. If there is one thing I can assure you and comfort you with, it’s that with Coles you will never have a dull moment. His personality will blind you like welcome sunshine! He will soon make you laugh and smile in ways no one has before. I pray all the best for you.

    • Erika says...

      Same trajectory here with my second daughter, Rae. We were just finding our stride, and we haven’t left the house since (slightly tongue in cheek, but you know what I mean).

      I hope you have a wonderful birthday with Cole, it’s a fun age for sure.

    • Joyce says...

      Thank you for your comments, M and Erika. So wonderful to feel the kindness of strangers in these trying times. Cole certainly does have quite the personality already!! :)

      It’s funny, some days motherhood feels isolating and other days it feels like such a big, loving club where you have so much in common with so many women you’ve never even met. Thank you for making this day one of the latter. I hope Rae has a wonderful first birthday! xoxo.

    • Rachel says...

      Hi Joyce! Are you me? I also gave birth to a baby boy and named him Cole right before the pandemic hit (December). My first day back at work was Friday after Tom Hanks tested positive for COVID. We also were hyper- vigilant during flu season (we did this with our first son too- he was born in October)- and now still only leaves home for childcare or doctor’s visits.
      What a surprise the world will be to him when he’s able to go out.
      I agree, it has been a very stressful year. I’m so grateful for the situation I’m in when I see what others are going through, but I’m still mourning how things could have been.
      Wishing you the best! And happy early birthday to your Cole!

  16. Gillian says...

    Thank you for opening up this space, a clearing for all these new moms to gather! My son Ronan was born in February, about a month before lockdown. It has been both the most joyful and the most difficult few months, and the strangest part is the lack of community. I pictured new mom groups and outings with friends, and I feel so sad that no one else can share in this magical first year with us. But on the other hand, I feel lucky to be able to work from home and spend so much time watching him grow and change, and getting to know this little person who has no idea of what’s going on in the world. Taking care of him has been so grounding and has helped me live in the moment, but it has also made the world feel that much more precarious and scary.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Joyful and the most difficult. Well put xo

    • Camila says...

      Omg exactly. I announced my pregnancy to family and friends via text message last March, just after lockdown in Argentina. Myself, my sister and a dear friend had our babies 2 weeks ago. I hardly saw them pregnant and still haven’t met the babies. Nothing turned out according to our plans to live this special time together. It’s heartbreaking.

  17. Keri says...

    My baby girl, Lennon, was born in July. We laugh now at the fact that we used to say “at least this will be better by July!” I’m a doctor who takes care of kids with cancer, and I think some of the anxieties we all feel now are so similar to the way my patients’ parents feel all the time which helped me put some of this into perspective. While having a new baby in a pandemic is so hard, we try to take the time each day to find what we can be grateful for – more time at home, health, and new baby snuggles (I love this age before she’s capable of wiggling away from us).

    • Keri says...

      Oh my gosh! Another Keri :) I’ve never known anyone else to spell their name the same way. I love the name Lennon. Congratulations on your little girl. My baby boy, Owen, was also born in July!
      There is so much to be grateful for and like you said, one day at a time. I always think about the day Owen will come home from school with an assignment to ask his parents what it was like during the Global Pandemic of 2020.

    • Allyson says...

      I have a three year old girl named Lennon. Love that name so much :)

  18. Rebecca says...

    We had our sweet baby girl Emma in June after being home in isolation since early March. She was diagnosed with SCID (basically it’s the bubble boy disease) when she was five days old and then a second rare genetic liver disease on top of that. It’s been mentally debilitating to be without help and without loved ones and to have no idea when I can return to my career, which I love, or if I’ll have to give it up entirely. And I often feel angry that this is something, generally speaking, that women are dealing with but not men. Our doctor estimates that we can come out of isolation in the spring and I’m terrified of continuing this way for that long. I’m so sad for my 2 1/2 year who is missing out on socialization and forgetting his friends. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life but this is the hardest. I’m trying to remain grateful for my blessings, but damn it’s tough sometimes.

    • Amy says...

      Oh Rebecca. I am so sorry for the challenges you and your family are facing right now. Thinking of you.

    • Sarah says...

      Rebecca, that sounds indescribably hard. Thanks for sharing. You’re in my thoughts. Xo

    • Ellen says...

      That sounds so incredibly tough Rebecca. I’m thinking of you and your family, and your sweet Emma x

    • K says...

      Rebecca, I have never walked in your shoes, so I can’t say I understand, but know, at least, that a stranger in California hears you and sends you as much hope and confidence and patience and perseverance as can be sent across the miles. This space that Joanna has created with Cup of Jo really is a gathering place, and here, without worry about the virus or awareness of divergent time zones, we are gathered to let each other know we have support. I am sending all kinds of positive energy to you and your family. Keep on keeping on, sister.

    • Laura says...

      Oh my goodness, that sounds so hard! It sounds like you are doing great in the face of some really tough circumstances. I just wanted to say that I see you, and to encourage you to give yourself permission to have a really rough day sometimes. I think we can lose sight of the fact that finding it hard to live through hard times is not a weakness or a sign you need more self care. Hard times are hard, no matter how well you eat or how much yoga you do. So know that I am rooting for you, and please be gentle with yourself this year.

    • Stephanie says...

      Sending you and your family so many hugs and lots of love. ❤️❤️

    • Rachek says...

      I am a first time mom navigating the uncertain times. My son, was born in August, and it has been a wild ride so far. Jett is the light of my world in the darkness that surrounds us. With COVID and flu season around the corner, the fear of my family getting sick is debilitating, but seeing Jett’s smile everyday is the guiding light. We are on a thrilling journey, COVID is just a detour to navigate together.

    • Cece says...

      I’m so sorry Rebecca. That all sounds incredibly hard and this must be such an anxious and stressful time for you all.

    • Meg says...

      This sounds BEYOND challenging. Sending you hugs and love from my corner of the Internet. I will be rooting for your family.

    • Erika says...

      Rebecca- i wish I could bring you a stack of meals, a bottle of wine, and take your 2.5yo for a playdate with my 3yo. It’s easy for people to say, “I don’t know how you do it!” But it’s just that you are doing it, at any cost to yourself. I hope you can find some rest and recharge amidst the heaviness.

  19. Katie says...

    My son Hart was born in April in New York and it’s just really a lot. You haven’t lived until you try virtual lactation sessions. Tt feels a little like you’re acting out a SNL skit but its NSFW and there is a lot more crying. The house its dirty, we deeply miss our family, and days (and hours) start blend together without a solid routine.

    But now that I’m back at work from home it feels like the sweetest gift to not have to dash to the subway to see him before bedtime like I would have normally. With everyone else working from home it has been easier to set hours that work for us.

    Also- if anyone else is in Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens (like your friend) and wants to socially distance park chat the little Cobble Hill park is a nice quiet spot to go while it’s still warm out for a break.

    • Shira says...

      I went here during all three of my maternity leaves and I love that it lives on as a new mama magnet :)

    • Becca says...

      Hi Katie!
      I’d love to do a socially distance park chat in Cobble Hill. We also had our son in April and also had the virtual lactation session experience (yikes!). We actually live right on the block of Cobble Hill Park! I’m not sure the best way to set something like this up but I’m always available!

  20. My daughter Nora was born right on the cusp—November of last year, when things were bad in China but hadn’t spread yet. We went into lockdown three weeks after I returned to work. In some ways, her first year has been such a gift. Other than those three weeks she was in daycare before it closed, we’ve now never been apart. The beautiful, mundane rituals of caring for an infant were reason enough to hold it together during those early, most-uncertain months. (Someone has to sing to the baby. Someone has to wash the bottles. Someone cannot do these things and also stay in bed with an existential hangover.) But in other ways, it’s been a first year marked by incredible sadness and isolation. I have a big, wonderful family, almost none of whom have met Nora yet. And I was really looking forward to all the dumb stuff. Library story time and baby music class and mom-friend-coffee dates to hand-wring over sleep schedules. But baby thrives, despite it all. And disappointment is such a palatable emotion in comparison to the grief of losing a family member to illness. She’ll be one next month. There won’t be a party, but we can still have cake.

    • Jen says...

      Yes, Dot, yes. Thank you. Sending love to you and your Nora.

    • Josephine says...

      This was such a beautifully written and bittersweet comment. I’m giving birth with my first in January and it really captured the dueling emotions this whole time has been so far. Thank you for sharing.

    • What a beautiful way to put this. Yes, have as much cake as you can.

  21. Missy says...

    Ohhhhh Joanna, THANK YOU. I’m currently breastfeeding my 2 month old daughter, Jovi. Her older sister was stillborn at 6 months, so this pregnancy was riddled with anxiety (pregnancy after loss emotions PLUS covid fears). Now? I’m just beyond blissed out. I have a healthy, living, thriving baby girl In my arms. I suppose it’s more isolating….but I honestly don’t know any different. What I do know is that pregnancy and babies are truly miraculous. I have chosen to tune out the outside world because my world is now sleeping at my breast.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Congratulations on your second daughter! And I’m so sorry for the loss of your first xoxo

  22. Zoë says...

    So grateful for this post, these comments, and this community. My first, Abbott, was born in August of last year, and when he was eight months (in April) my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our second. We were trying to conceive, we always wanted to have our kids close together, so we were thrilled, but just a few weeks later, at the beginning of May, we found out it was an ectopic pregnancy and I had to go into surgery the same day to remove my fallopian tube. I was devastated, and TERRIFIED. I had never ever been in a hospital for myself – I was born at home, I had my baby in a birth center, and never growing up did I have to be admitted to the hospital for any reason. It was honestly one of my biggest fears. Not only would it be my first time in a hospital, I had to do it all alone – my husband was not even allowed to wait with me in my room for the few hours before surgery due to COVID. It was so isolating and sad and scary, but thankfully I was safe and surgery went smoothly. In July, we found out we are pregnant again, and this baby is due on my sister’s birthday in March. Going through all of this during COVID feels surreal. How can it be possible that our first baby has doubled his age since COVID started? His personality has developed so much over these months – he is so outgoing and has such a hard time being cooped up inside. Anxiously awaiting a return to some sense of normalcy.

    Thinking of and praying for new moms, expecting moms, and those hoping to become moms – you are loved.

  23. Steph says...

    Our second daughter was born in June, and we were unbelievably lucky to have family around to take care of our two-year-old while we were at the hospital. Adjusting to being a mom of two during this pandemic has honestly been a godsend for me–I am so busy trying to take care of these tiny, beautiful little people–but it’s made all of the usual family and career questions even more challenging. My in-laws feel that we are “keeping” the baby from them and have become “radical” in our social distancing, even as my girls’ pediatrician reassures me we are doing exactly what we should. I’ve considered quitting my job once it requires me to go back in person–my girls’ health isn’t worth it. But thank goodness, babies be babies even in 2020.

    • Le says...

      I so relate, Steph. I have had the exact same challenges re: the pediatrician’s recommendations versus the feelings of family members. They seemed to channel all their frustrations about everything going on in the world/their lives toward mask wearing, choosing to not see our older child because we required them to wear a mask. These are well-educated, usually rational people. At times, the stress was unbearable. My older child still says, “Remember when Mommy was on the bed and cried?” I am fortunate to be able to work as a freelancer from home, but we decided not to send our kiddos to day care this fall, and here I am at 1 a.m. trying to finish a project and wondering what I am doing! Being a mom can take everything I have–what am I seriously doing?! At the same time I think I NEED the work and sense of accomplishment. Sending you an e-hug–I have a feeling if we ever met at a playground we’d be friends!

    • Steph says...

      Le–yes!!! I felt like I was reading my own words in your response. “What am I seriously doing?” Just yes.

      I hope things get easier. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job. E-hugging you right back!

  24. Caitlin says...

    I have a 5 week old baby girl, Willow, who was born on August 31. She was a long awaited treasure… following 4 miscarriages, 2 failed rounds of IVF, and a Hail Mary immunology treatment that worked on my secondary infertility.
    Honestly, pregnancy during the pandemic was pretty wonderful. I could avoid a sweaty summer commute from jersey to manhattan, and it meant LOTS of extra time with our 4 year old before rocking her world. I wouldn’t trade that for really anything.
    We delivered her in NYC and were not allowed to have guests – a stark contrast to the 8 people who piled into our room to meet Natalie 4 years ago. It was surprisingly so so sweet to have those first few days just Willow, her father and I. After the long road to get to her, it meant we could process and revel in the joy without it being a show.

    We are sad to have not been able to have more extended family meet her, of course, but I’m so many ways this pandemic forced me into the peace, pace and perspective that I needed to welcome this special gal.
    We are so happy to have our Willow Hope!

    • Robyn says...

      So appreciate reading these comments while rocking my 4 month old back to sleep during the dreaded sleep regression. This has definitely not been how I imagined my first pregnancy and maternity leave, but
      massive silver lining has definitely been all the quiet time we’ve had with baby at home, as my partner is WFH and I go back to work this month (at home) too (which I have no idea how we’ll manage without childcare since we’re not comfortable sending her to daycare but so many parents are juggling this). Try mainly not to focus on the fact that I have no idea when my parents and sisters in Australia will get to meet the first grandchild on our side of the family, it’s just very sad. However, my overwhelming feeling so is one of so much gratitude to have a happy and healthy baby girl in my arms (even when it’s multiple times throughout the night)! Sending love to all the other new parents on here x

  25. Olivia says...

    our beautiful baby Adele was born in April, in New Zealand during our level 4 lockdown (reading these comments really reminds me our much easier our COVID experience has been than the American!)- we had an unplanned home birth with my husband delivering her in the bathroom ! and we were fortunate enough to all be together right through. But 10 days pp I was admitted to hospital with a uterine infection, by then we’d moved to level 3 so my husband was able to visit (thank goodness) but only for a few hours, trying to care for my baby in the hospital alone often with one arm unable to move with a drip in it was so hard and so lonely. luckily we were only there 2 nights but gosh it felt like an eternity, I couldn’t bring myself to tell my mum where I was because I knew I’d cry if I tried to talk to her on the phone and how worried she’d be and how much worse hearing how upset I was would make it for her when I knew I’d be home again in a few days. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for people giving birth without their partners or being in hospital for extended stays or not being able to have your family and friends able to physically support you! being a mum is the most wonderful thing and I love Adele more than the world but its also so hard and even not being in lockdown here still really lonely at times. sending love to all of you

    • Maddie says...

      I’m an American living in NZ as well. There have been so many times I’ve had to do everything in my power to hold it together on the phone to my mom. I know
      exactly what you mean. I’ve tried to not cry to keep her from feeling heartbroken and helpless about no end in sight to be here for the birth or meeting her of her first grandchild. Sending love from another in this little bubble of paradise at the bottom of the world.

  26. M says...

    I miscarried in mid March, the week the world felt like it was falling apart, as I put it. It wasn’t super traumatic for me, as it was very early on.. though I do still think about it. Then it was a big decision (for many reasons… that’s another post!), but we decided to try again a couple of months later. I’m now 20 weeks along, and have my first ultrasound tomorrow. The first trimester felt so long, with nothing to distract me from the exhaustion and nausea. I think hormones also influenced how i was handling the isolation and stress… and also having to avoid wine, ha! This is our 3rd (& likely last baby), and it’s definitely a strange season. I’ve only been in the doctor’s office once so far, and wonder what kind of precautions we’ll take as we get closer. (I have a kindergartener and a 3 year old in preschool.) I do look forward to a (hopefully!) relaxed schedule those first few months. We moved to a new town a year or so ago, so this spring/summer has not been the time of making new friends that I hoped it would be, but I’m so thankful for the people that I have met. It’s a crazy season, and tough in so many ways, but thankful for the silver linings, as well. Thanks for this space, Cup of Jo!

  27. Jenny says...

    My first child, Wesley was born in May. I go back and forth between thinking that this is the hardest time to have a child and the BEST time to have a child. Maybe both? So many people had to stay at home, I just had a baby to take of care.
    I had so much anxiety leading up to his birth. Worries about childbirth was plenty, add a pandemic and I often felt overwhelmed. I don’t know any different, so having no family at the hospital or once we got home didnt feel too strange. But my mother who lives in FL didn’t see her grandchild until months later.
    I have felt so isolated. I feel as though I am in a little bubble. I have never had to worry about breastfeeding in public – because we’ve never been out enough to do so! We’ve only brought the stroller in the car a handful of times, and my baby lives in sleep n plays because there is no reason to get dressed up!
    I really wish I had mom groups to get together with and talk during my maternity leave. It’s been tough, but I know it’s not forever, and the little boy I have now is worth any extra stress.
    I live in the bay area, and now on top of the pandemic I can’t take my baby out because of the fires. What a year…

    • Kacey says...

      We should talk, Jenny! A friend sent this to me because she said I could’ve written it. Not only do I live in SF, but my first son was born in June and my parents are on the East Coast. My mother was just out here for the first time last month and it was very hard to see her go.

      I echo all of your sentiments exactly! Both the best and worst time to have your first baby. Top that with living in an urban area, where getting out with an infant during a pandemic is a chore as I navigate all of the people. The fires have been brutal as well. I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone at all!!

  28. Erica says...

    This post brought up all the feels for me. We had our daughter in September 2019, so while not new this year, I just went back to work and had our baby in daycare for 2 weeks when everything shut down. I had JUST STARTED feeling a bit like myself again in Feb/March when she was about 5 months old- I got my nails and hair done both just once since the previous September, I went out for wine with a friend…also just once. I joke that we’ve been in quarantine since September 2019. I still haven’t gotten my hair or nails done again, or met with a friend for wine…

    It is very isolating and for a long time I mourned the life I thought we’d have with our baby this year. Having just joined a parenting group in Brooklyn, and then not being able to have any meet-ups, it was heartbreaking and I still sometimes mourn a life that never happened this year. My only friends with babies moved away.

    I am grateful to have had extra time with our daughter in the first year of her life, and I know I will miss the closeness of all of us at home together one day when we have her back in daycare again and we return to our offices. But it’s been incredibly demanding and any sense of myself I was just getting back to, has been harder to find in these times.

    • SN says...

      Erica — I feel like I could’ve written this comment… live in Manhattan and we had our first in August 2019. I was back at work for 7 weeks before everything shut down. (Fun fact — to secure our mid-year start in daycare, we had to pay the full year’s tuition. Hands down the most expensive 7 weeks of her education ;-) NYC, amiright?) My husband and I went on our first date night in a really long time the week before quarantine hit. I was feeling comfortable in my old clothes, got a haircut (and actually did my hair!) I was feeling more confident about work — and **so excited** for the Spring and Summer. I had so many wonderful plans of trips, and afternoons exploring our favorite neighborhoods with our kiddo, playdates and getting to know other people in this stage of life, and being the NYC family I had dreamed about… (sounds so cheesy, but it’s what I would think about when the newborn stage was tough, or when I was pregnant)

      Now — like you, all of our friends with kids have left. Leaving us to wonder when / if we should leave. Not to mention the next to impossible task of working from home and caring for a baby without extra help over the last 6+ months in a NYC apartment.

      People are so quick to remind us how lucky we are to have this time together — and I will always agree. Time is the most precious thing we have, and I feel so lucky to have had this time with my amazing daughter and as a family, But that doesn’t mean this is easy. It’s really, really hard.

      Hang in there.

    • Meaghan says...

      I feel like I wrote this. I had my son, Towns, in December. I was back to work and he was in daycare for 3 weeks before everything shut down. We’ve been home since March 16.

      We hadn’t been doing a whole lot since December, because of flu season, not having family in town, and just figuring out how to be a parent and a person, so I also felt equipped to keep staying home when the shutdown happened. That feeling wore off mid-summer and I was desperate to do something normal, like go get a drink with my girlfriends or get a hair cut. I ended up ordering shears online and attempting my own hair cut. It’s never not pulled up these days, because babies, so it doesn’t even matter that it’s uneven.

      It’s a bittersweet feeling these days. I know how special it is to have this extra time with our son (not to mention the privilege of being able to keep him home), but also constantly feel like I’m either being a bad employee or a bad mom. I’m sad that most of our friends only got to hold our son once before it was no longer safe to do so. I wonder about the impact of only really interacting with his parents, and not playing with other babies.

      There’s no chapter in “Your Baby’s First Year” on how to raise a newborn during a pandemic while working from home in the midst of the hellscape that is 2020. I have to just squeeze my baby bear a little tighter and hope we’re doing our best. And also that my hair will grow out eventually.

  29. Jennifer says...

    My sweet baby girl Isla was born in June. I live with my husband in a loft (one big open room), which would have been hard in normal times, but with my husband now working from home every day, we’re having to get extra creative to make it work. I take Isla for lots of walks and car rides; he takes zoom calls in the bathroom during nap-time. Amidst all this chaos, though, I am unendingly grateful for that fact that my husband is getting to spend so much more time with her. He normally works very long days (7am-9 or 10pm), but now he can take as many breaks as he wants for a “visit” and seeing the way her faces lights up every time he comes over….oof, it kills me.

  30. Paige says...

    A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for a NYT article about parenting young children during the pandemic. The article came out and the opening line was, “Paige Posladek is pregnant, and stressed.” I guess it was obvious! I read it out loud to my husband and we belly laughed until my cheeks hurt. I just got that line professionally framed so it will live on forever.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahahahaha that’s amazing.

    • Maura says...

      I love this so much!

    • Diana says...

      My husband read that article to me out loud and it sounded more and more like me with every sentence. I am also pregnant with (one) older kiddo at home and thought I had stuff figured out until COVID. Weekly therapy, multiple in person exercise classes with my mom friends, and twice monthly book club kept me sane. Hah. Hahahahhaha. Last week my zoom therapy session was interrupted by my 4 year old no fewer than 5 times and I had to go tell him a fairy story afterwards and make up my own accompanying music. Yep, it’s just not the same. Really enjoyed the article, Paige :)

    • Louisa says...

      Ha! It sounds like the opening line of a novel I’d want to read :) Hang in there, Paige Posladek!

    • DLS says...

      This made me laugh aloud. Kudos for framing it, not that you’ll ever forget this season regardless! Thank you for the smile your comment put on my face.

  31. Jf says...

    Thinking of all of you. This pandemic is hard for everyone, and everyone has different layers that make it extra tough. Being a new parent is definitely one of those layers.

    My son was born in August 2019. He was hospitalized in early February for pneumonia and I will always remember trying to find gloves and facemasks on our drive home from the hospital so that our family and friends could help out in our home in the ways they wanted to. The lack of supplies then hinted at what was to come. The initial part of lockdown felt like a safety blanket as we inched out of respiratory season and just wanted to keep our boy safe. Then this summer it was oppressive, especially combined with our wildfire air. Looking into the horizon of another respiratory season is tough as we know how hard it can be and also don’t want to have people in our home out of concern for sharing germs. My husband and I don’t want to put our extended family at risk by exposing each other so we are trying to juggle our work schedules with caring for a sick baby any time he gets sick.

    The one gift that the pandemic has given us is external enforcement of boundaries with some abusive and intrusive family members. No, you can’t come into our house because #pandemic! :)

    Just to share two ideas:
    -We asked our family and friends to send us a picture of them celebrating and we put them together for a picture album party for our son’s first birthday. He absolutely loves looking at the pictures and it’s a good way for him to see everyone without a mask!
    – If you’re trying to support a family with a new baby but don’t live close enough to drop a meal off, look at ordering them a pizza or meal service that will deliver to their house. Our family and friends have done this for us and we sometimes even do a video call to pretend we’re actually having dinner together.

    It takes extra energy (which is super hard to muster in the newborn haze), but we can all be creative on how to support each other!

  32. Dianna says...

    I had a baby at the end of March, right as the pandemic was getting into full swing.

    Her name is Sasha, and she’s the sweetest little thing.

    I feel very alone most days.

    • Ash says...

      I feel you Dianna. This is a very, very lonely time.

      I had our daughter towards the end of February, and it seems like I haven’t left home or seen anyone since. It’s very hard.

      I’m thankful for health and the moments I spend with her, but it is so difficult. Mourning both the life I had before, and the time this should have been.

    • Othermona says...

      I feel you so much! Sending love and support from Stockholm, I have a 1,5 yo and it’s so lonely.

  33. Chris says...

    My baby Margo was born at the end of May. She had to be admitted back to the hospital less than 24 hours after discharge, not even 4 days old yet. We were on a pediatric floor instead of the nicu so I could stay with her but my husband could not. It was really hard and the hospital was unfortunately not handling things well, though I’m sure they were trying. We got to go home after 2 nights but it took a couple months for me to move pst the experience. It also really made me think of all the parents of the other children on the floor that were there longer or were chronically ill. So isolating. Thank you for this post ❤️❤️

  34. Laura W says...

    New Mom here! My baby girl Holly was born emergently, almost 6 weeks early in mid-March, shortly after our state went into lockdown. It was very difficult trying to keep up with COVID protocols while visiting her in the NICU during her stay but seeing all the other families there and the wonderful care team she had gave me strength! She was able to come home after 21 days in the hospital but then we had to stay very strict with not having any visitors in the house for a long time afterwards, so her grandparents had to wait a very long time to hold her. It was so hard.
    This is such a strange time to be a parents for sure, but Moms please know that you are doing your best and your baby will love you for it :) sending hugs to all the new moms out there

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh wow that’s so intense! So glad you all got through it. I love the name Holly. Xo

  35. Brittny Gettman says...

    My son, Grady, was born March 4th in San Francisco, the day before the first two confirmed COVID cases were announced. The city quickly went into shelter in place, and between not being able to breastfeed him how I dreamed of doing (my milk never fully came in), family and friends not being able to hold him, or for us to get a babysitter to get a break or help, it was such a tough situation for us. We made the decision to move in with my parents in Southern California, and I’m so grateful for the option and their hospitality. But I really would love to go to a music class, swim lessons, or story time at the library just to break up our days at home. I know he’s only 7 months old, but I worry he’s missing out on socialization. And I mourn that for myself too. As my therapist said: “you NEED people to gush over your baby and tell you he’s cute; it keeps you going!” So next time you see a mama and baby, just know your compliment, even behind a mask, gave her a much needed boost of pride and perseverance ❤️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!! Loved this:

      As my therapist said: “you NEED people to gush over your baby and tell you he’s cute; it keeps you going!” So next time you see a mama and baby, just know your compliment, even behind a mask, gave her a much needed boost of pride and perseverance ❤️

  36. Ellen says...

    Thank you for this thoughtful post that hit me right in the heart. My daughter, Livy, was born in December. I vacillate between gratitude for the extra time to soak up all of her preciousness with just the three of us at home and sadness for all of the moments with extended family that have been lost. I wish that I could have been bringing her to visit my sweet grandmother and to play with my older brother. We’re tentatively planning for a visit in a few weeks, and I’m already anxious about it because of the virus. I just wish I didn’t have to feel anxious about it. Thank you for this wonderful blog, Joanna. It’s a gift to us all.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much, Ellen. Thinking of you xoxo

  37. J says...

    I want to hug all these brave and strong mamas! I’m not yet a mom yet, but our twin boys are due in December. The other day I was reflecting on how we haven’t done anything or gone anywhere in 7 months and won’t for what seems like an eternity. After being stuck in the house for so long, it’s been hard to want to nest here and I’m nervous I’ll feel even more cooped up with two babes in the winter. But hearing from all these other incredible women who have survived this exceptional challenge gives me hope!

  38. Kristen says...

    My baby boy Bishop was born in July. We were in Manhattan and escaped down to Florida with my SO’s mom for what we thought would be a few weeks. Next thing I knew we were finding an ob and getting a 6-month lease for a furnished apt. New parenthood is difficult, but doing it in a new place with none of my friends, family, or my own personal comforts/memories has been difficult. My baby’s nursery is retrofitted into someone else’s vacation home guest bedroom. We are making it work, and our sweet boy is healthy & happy (and cute as a button), but I long for friendship and connection. It’s been very lonely. I feel so blissfully happy in the moments I see his little smiles and so low in the moments when my partner is in the office working and I know that I don’t have an old friend to meet for coffee or the ability to make new friends in my community. I miss my mom.

    Thank you for giving me the space I needed to put this in writing. I already feel better and a little less alone <3

  39. Amy says...

    My first baby, Nora, was born last Sunday. My husband is in the military, so we’re used to living far from family and not seeing them very often anyway. We’re sad that we can’t share our joy in person, but the situation is not really too different from what it would have been sans pandemic. What really killed me was going to her 2 day appointment and seeing other newborns. I couldn’t help but think that our families should have been friends. We should have had the opportunity to know each other through classes and other due date groups the hospital normally offers. I don’t even feel safe seeing our existing friends. This isn’t how I envisioned welcoming my first child.

  40. My son Riaan was born on March 3, 2 weeks before things started shutting down, and 1 week before our hospital started taking COVID precautions. I feel fortunate that I was able to give birth under “normal” circumstances, but shelter-in-place and quarantine guidelines hitting during our first week home made the fourth trimester a very trying time. My husband and I both grew up in NJ but now live in San Francisco, and we watched as family members cancelled trips to come out and visit. Riaan is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, and to this day only his 2 grandmothers have met him. (And I was fortunate to have my mom stay with us for the first four months to help us out.) To help cope and stay connected, I created a private family Instagram account where I post photos and videos from our more mundane every day moments – to try and recreate that in-person experience for our extended families. Going back to work has been less jarring of a transition than I expected, because I work from home and get to see Riaan throughout the day, a silver lining in all of this I guess!

    • I also wanted to say thank you Joanna – I’ve been reading your your blog since 2011, and I credit all the motherhood stories I hungrily consumed over the years with making me feel confident as a mother now that it’s my turn. :)

  41. Gillian says...

    Our daughter Maeve was born 1/1/2020. So I feel like I have been isolation for the entire year, we were really just figuring out getting out and about with two kids under two when the world shut down. It’s been amazing and exhausting in equal measure. I have found myself feeling incredibly isolated without any family support (my family is all in Ireland and I’m in Nashville) and we didn’t see my husband’s family for nearly 4 months! I am back at work now and the girls are in daycare so my anxiety is through the roof as I’m always worried that we will catch it. Even though I’m getting to talk to people at work, there is no social life, I’m either at work or at home, and I have a surprising amount of rage at the world for ruining my maternity leave :(

  42. K says...

    oh gosh it feels like everyone around me is pregnant or having babies, from family to friends to acquaintances to celebrities. never have i had so many babies to compare to each other and observe within a year time span. infants are so tiny and alien-y! babies are soooo cuddly! both are remarkably human yet animal-y! it’s definitely a surreal feeling to bask in the glee of the normal baby milestones as the world rages on…

  43. Annie says...

    I had my first baby, Walt, the day they declared a state of emergency in my state. The first month or so was really trying, as we expected to have meal trains and grandparents around to help, and the isolation certainly didn’t help the inevitable postpartum anxiety and baby blues.

    We’re six months in now, and while I’m sad that our son still hasn’t met most of our friends and family, it has really made my husband and I a better team than I could have imagined. We’ve navigated this whole new reality, both personally and globally, together and I’m so glad our son’s first memories will be of his mom and dad being such a solid team.

  44. Courtney says...

    We gave birth to our long-dreamed-of baby girl, Olive, in May. I cried so hard when I was pregnant each time another thing was cancelled. My hospital tour, my baby shower, my parents’ trip to meet my baby. But how that she’s here, and I am looking back, I only remember how beautiful she is, and how happy we are she’s ours.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Olive!!! What a beautiful name!

  45. Beth says...

    I had my son, David, back in May. He’s been a joy – he now laughs and we gave gimmicks, and the snuggles, oh the snuggles!- but there’s part of me that’s sad to miss out on many of the first time mom things. There’s a higher level of anxiety over normally hard things (going back to work, starting daycare… ). I wish I could introduce him to friends and feel safe bringing him places. I wish we could bring him to visit family without a second thought. I’m sure I’ll look back in this time with some awe since we could be selfish with his attention, but for now there’s a bit of sadness in my heart still.

  46. Alex says...

    Our second baby, Eliza, was born on September 10th. I also was terrified I would test positive and not be able to be with my baby, but thankfully both of us are healthy. It is weird for sure right now – I am constantly worried about her getting exposed and we miss having normal family interactions. But we are all healthy and fit that, I am deeply grateful.

  47. Karen says...

    My daughter was a little more than 4 months old when lockdown started (she turns 1 so soon!!). I had only gone back to work for a couple of weeks and had visions of mommy and me yoga and playgroups on the weekends but then poof even daycare was no longer an option. There was the initial panic about touching things, breathing the air, etc all with a tiny one right at the time we were ready to emerge from our fourth trimester bubble. I was so scared that I didn’t leave the house except for walks in our neighborhood until July because I was breastfeeding and if I got sick what would we do? And then on top of that learning to be a working parent in a way I never even imagined. It’s been so surreal trying to learn to balance it all at a time when there is no balance for anyone. But we almost have it worked out now.

    But on the other hand I’m so grateful for this time with her. We haven’t left her in anyone else’s care since March, which is exhausting, but it means we were here for her first roll over, her first steps and very soon will be her first word. How many other working parents get to say that? I’be actually started the process of looking for a full time remote position so that if/when baby number two comes along we can get a nanny and I can have a similar experience of being close despite working.

    Setting boundaries with family has been the hardest part. As places open up my parents in particular both want to follow the most permissive guidelines and have unlimited access to their first grandchild, and that is so hard. We’re still not doing most things (just because you can doesn’t mean you should) and they don’t get it. They’ve always been needy/wanted things on their terms, but this is my daughter’s safety. Saying no is still so hard, and they think I’m being unreasonable, but we set ground rules and if they can’t follow them they can’t see the baby.

    • R says...

      The grandparents! I hear you. Hang in there. We’ve been very clear about setting expectation and outlining our framework for keeping a baby who can’t wear a mask safe. While I’m the past the selfish/needy demands would have elicited an eye roll and shrug, their willingness to disregard actual health mandates and increase the risk to their grandchild is clarifying. Disappointed, but holding firm on boundaries. Priorities!!

  48. Kate says...

    My pandemic baby is also four months old and also just started making fart noises all the time! They really are hilarious. :D

  49. Jenny says...

    Wow – thank you for this! I have an 8 week old and yes, this has been tough. I don’t think I realized it until after our daughter was born. I’ve realized that, not only is it isolating on this side of parent hood, but I also have been at home (working, not seeing family and friends) for 6 months up until I had her. We didn’t get a regular baby shower(s) wasn’t socializing with coworkers and friends up until my due date, being about to ask all the questions that come from this exciting time. Didn’t even do a baby registry in person! Everything has been at a distance. Now that our daughter is here, there is the extra fear of this virus. When it was just my husband and I, we felt ok. Now that there is this tiny human in our lives, we are extra cautious which brings its own stress.
    Thanks for this post. Just you asking the question helps a lot!

  50. Gillie Kindel says...

    Our daughter, Ruth, was born September 7th and she cracked our hearts wide open. Although it’s a very strange time to be pregnant/have a baby (she’s our first), it’s been wonderful to have something so positive happen to our family in an otherwise dark and painful year. My husband is full time work from home, so he gets to spend more time with her than he would if he was working in an office. Prior to Ruth’s birth, I had numerous small zoom “baby face gatherings” with different groups of friends from my life — college, grad school, former NYU work pals, etc. and felt incredibly loved. I saw more people than if I’d had one in person shower! My daughter has amazing, strong women all over the US to look up to and who will love her and I can’t wait for her to meet them IN PERSON in the years ahead. ❤️❤️❤️

  51. Alex says...

    Baby Phoebe was born in the middle of June. Similar to other new moms’ experiences: a combination of grieving the loss of the maternity leave I thought I’d have (visits from family/friends, classes, etc) and days of crippling isolation. But there is a silver lining: Enjoying being a family of three, and my husband has been around for the early days of furiously quick growth spurts.

  52. Kelly says...

    Oh, what wonderful timing. Our son, Io (pronounced EYE-oh), was born at the beginning of May. He’s our first! I had such high hopes for maternity leave – my mom was going to fly in (she lives halfway across the country), I was going to make mom friends, I was definitely going to spend some aimless mornings in coffee shops with the baby. Obviously none of that happened. My parents were finally able to meet him last month (they drove up in their RV, quarantining along the way, plus took COVID tests once they arrived) but it wasn’t the same. And I don’t know when my in-laws will be able to meet him (they’ll have to fly, and both are high risk). There’s been a sweetness to it just being the three of us most of the time (plus the dog! She’s the emotional support for the whole family at this point), but it’s been so, so isolating too. Some days I wonder if I have PPD or if it’s just the reality of becoming a parent during the pandemic, with almost zero help, then returning to WFH without childcare. Every day I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and hoping it gets easier soon.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Kelly, I see you; you’re doing such a great job. That sounds so hard and I can imagine missing out on the maternity leave you dreamed of feels like a kind of grief. Sending you so much love. Wish I could beam myself there for a coffee and then I’d do your dishes xo

  53. Alisha says...

    Our second, Ellis, was born late August. Being home since March has made the newborn days where you really can’t go anywhere seem very normal. Virtual 1st grade for our first and working from home while juggling the new baby; however, has been hectic! I don’t think I would have managed very well had this little guy been our first with the isolation. For some reason this second time around have been emotionally easier for me.

  54. Suzanne says...

    Our baby Andrew was born in April! My husband and I are anesthesiologists, and we cared for COVID patients up until his birth. Going into the hospital, my biggest fear was that I would be asymptomatic but positive, and they would take my baby away from me for the first weeks of his life. Fortunately, we tested negative (thank you UofM for the PPE.) I was so relieved after he was born and we were able to bring home a healthy baby boy. Even though I really wanted my mom to be there with me those first days… it was a powerful and meaningful time to learn how to be a parent, just my partner and me!

    And then the Facebook commercial would come on about the 100 year old who was also born in a pandemic, cheering on moms everywhere, and I would BURST into tears. Every. Time. https://youtu.be/8OW4AFbzjGk

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That commercial! Sob!!!

    • Meghan says...

      Oh Suzanne, hello! I hope you 3 are doing well.

      I’m an anesthesiologist as well :) our baby girl, Leland, was also born in April (in fact Suzanne and my due dates were only one day apart). Go Tiny Victors!

      Delivering during Covid made home feel like our safe sanctuary. Every day after work, I come home to our bubble. Everything else fades away for a moment, when I pick Leland up for a squeeze. I feel her soft hair and squishy cheeks against my neck, and I am grounded in the moment. This experience has made those tiny moments even sweeter.

    • Diana says...

      I also had my sweet girl in April! That commercial would have me sobbing every time it came on.

  55. Anna says...

    My baby Alva was born in June. We are doing well but it’s hard to meet other new moms, especially since we just moved to a new state for my husband’s grad school in August. I am so grateful to have her and she gives me so much purpose. I’m still stressed about her name- it’s after my husband’s grandma. I loved it at first but now I worry it sounds like a strange old lady name. People are always mishearing it as Arva or Alfa.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I LOVE the name Alva! It’s so beautiful and unique.

    • Blythe says...

      I agree with Jo! It’s a beautiful and elegant name, I love it.

    • Elle says...

      Alva Vanderbilt Belmont! A suffragette and a force to be reckoned with. You picked a great name.

    • Freya says...

      Just chiming in to agree that Alva is a really lovely name! Great choice. Our baby girl is Ida, which perhaps gives off ‘granny’ vibes – but oh well, we love it! x

    • China says...

      Names are soooo hard! Between my three kids, none of whom have very unusual names, one is constantly mispronounced and one is constantly misspelled (even on his birth certificate!!!). I think Alva is beautiful!

    • J says...

      Alva is beautiful!

    • Layne says...

      Alva! What a beautiful name! <3

    • Kimberly says...

      Beautiful namesake. Congratulations.

    • Sally says...

      I love it. It’s very Swedish so you can celebrate her Name Day on September 3 every year.

    • Tenley says...

      Here with more love ❤ for the name Alva! And from one unique name to another–I loved talking to people about my unusual name as a kid, and I bet Alva will, too! It made me feel extra-special to be the only Tenley people had ever met!

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes, absolutely beautiful!!!!! Unique and beautiful but classic, you nailed it!

    • DLS says...

      As someone with an unusual name that is often misheard or mispronounced, have faith! I love my name and (even more than that) I love how it ALWAYS leads to fun conversations and more connection with others.

    • Shelley says...

      I love the name Alva! Don’t even give it another thought besides how lovely it is!

    • Jenna says...

      Alva is a beautiful name! I recommend the children’s book Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow as your little one grows. It really celebrates the beauty and importance of unique names.

    • Bethan says...

      Alva is a gorgeous name, good job mama! I can totally identify with feeling super stressed later about the seemingly million decisions I had to make in that whirlwind time right after baby was born, not sure if it’s us projecting other stressors or reacting hormonally or what – but you’re making decisions out of love for your baby which is all that matters!!

    • Kelly Lockhart says...

      I love Alva! It’s such a sweet name. But I feel you on stressing how strangers react – we gave my son a unique name too, one with lots of personal meaning for my husband and I. When we stumbled on it while name hunting, it immediately struck us both as perfect and we couldn’t imagine naming him anything different. But now that he’s here and we have to share his name with strangers (and family!), it feels like we have to justify our choice over and over again. Still, I can’t imagine him with any other name. And eventually it’ll just be his name (and Alva’s too!).

  56. Diane Garcia says...

    I’m a first time Mom who gave birth bin the US right as the pandemic was on the rise. I joined a new Mom’s group for parents who gave birth during this same time called “Truly, This is Not at All What Expected”. For me, the hardest part has been feeling like I have to put up barriers and make up rules. This feels safe vs. this does not. I miss family being close and helping. I cried so much after giving birth mostly about the loss of community for my child, myself, and our little family. We have our health. My birth mantra borrowed and adapted from the book Nurture was “I am strong, my baby is strong, and we have all the support that we need”. I still think of those words and they bring me hope and strength but I also had to morn that this was not the experience I wanted and move forward. I remind friends and colleagues often that it is ok to morn what we all have lost during this time. Sending out lots of new mom love and live to those supporting new moms.

  57. Katie says...

    We had our first baby, Marley, July 24th. There have been multiple tough moments, loved ones not understanding why they can’t hold her, not being able to watch our family give her kisses, navigating working from home with a newborn, the constant anxiety about if we’re doing too much or not enough. But there have also been beautiful moments – having my husband here to play and cuddle with Marley every day, having no where to be but with each other, having the post partum support from my husband when it all seems too much.

    To all the new parents and parents who are navigating a new normal – you’re doing a great job. Tough days don’t last but tough people do. You’re all rockstars – even in the toughest moments.

  58. SG says...

    I’m the mom of elementary-aged children and have been wondering how new parents, expecting parents, parents of teenagers, single people, seniors are all doing. It’s a great reminder that we can all empathize with each other, even if we aren’t in the same stage. New parents, I feel you, and think of you often. I hope there is a way you can get the support you need, even if it isn’t in person. Everyone in all stages feels the acute loss of the way things were supposed to be this year, I’m sure it is only amplified for the littlest and oldest among us!

  59. Ellen says...

    Wow, I feel like I could have written this. I also had an IVF baby in May and live in California, where I’ve felt doubly isolated because of the fires. Sending big hugs to your little family from mine!

    • Darcy says...

      I feel like I could have written this comment! Our baby was born in May and we are homebound from the smoke in the Bay Area. Wishing clean air your way!

    • Lindsey says...

      My baby Emory June was born June 8. She’s absolutely the best and I love her so much, but I am completely overwhelmed and feel so isolated. My partner is so supportive and helpful, especially for the very rough first 12 weeks when I had a lot of issues with my lady bits. But now that I’m (kind of) healed, the weight of running the household plus working full time is on my shoulders and not having anyone to help feels like I’m truly living in the baby jail version of groundhogs day. It’s overwhelming to think there’s not an end to this or the pandemic in sight, so I’m trying my best to focus on each day with the little joys at a time. Like the first time my Emory smiled at me, or the first time I made her giggle.

  60. Michaela says...

    Joanna — you may not see this as I’m late to comment, but I wanted to say thank you for speaking openly about your mental health over the years as well as about the value you found in medication, including in these comments. This pandemic was a final straw for me to discuss my anxiety with a psychiatrist. I had a lot of internal battles about what it would mean “about me” or “my identity” to use a medicine for help. But you are this wonderful role model whom I would never shrink into a little label or box just because you get help with your mental health. So, why should I do that to myself? My therapist and psychiatrist found something that works for me and it’s amazing to feel better while not judging myself. Anyway, thank you for being such a warm source of encouragement for us all. It means so much.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh Michaela that means so much to me. Thank you, truly xoxo

  61. Meredith says...

    A sweet friend sent me your post, and I’m so glad she did. It came when I needed it most. My first baby, Jack, was born 3 weeks early on February 19, just before shutdown. At the time, all I could feel was gratitude for being able to welcome him into the world before the pandemic changed everything. My parents were able to meet Jack in the hospital and stay with us for a few days, which I am eternally grateful for. Now, 7+ months later, Jack has yet to meet the rest of our immediate family and has only seen a few of our closest friends who live nearby. I keep trying to stay positive and tell myself that this too shall pass, but I must admit that I cry more than I have in my entire life. Motherhood is hard enough as it is, but I’m also balancing working from home with caring for Jack. Thankfully, my husband is working from home too, but not having additional support is extremely difficult. We love being able to spend time with our baby boy all day, but trying to provide for him by working full time AND trying to give him the amount of attention he deserves, sends me into a whirlwind of emotions. Mom guilt is SO real. I just wonder what life after baby would have been like if COVID hadn’t happened. Would I be happily back at work? Or would I miss Jack terribly and wish I was home with him? These are questions I might not be able to get the answers to anytime soon. In the meantime, I will try to savor each day with my sweet boy and loving husband, knowing that these moments are fleeting and one day, this pandemic will end. Life WILL go back to normal. Sending my love to all the mamas and mamas-to-be out there! We’ll get through this and come out stronger!

    • Katie says...

      Oh, Meredith, I had Charlie on 2/22 and feel everything you’ve said in my bones. Thank you! We’re in this together.

    • Amanda says...

      I had my baby girl on Feb 19th too Meredith! After an emotionally fraught pregnancy, and a traumatic birth, I have had ALL the feelings. I echo everything you have to say, from working from home (my husband too), to having to set firm boundaries with family that doesn’t share our perspective on COVID. The fluctuation of gratitude to be able to spend this time with our babe when she would have already been in day care, to the stress of trying to focus on work while she seeks our attention, is so so hard. I just wanted to chime in that you are not alone. Sending you love and support from the World Wide Web.

    • Meredith says...

      Thank you Katie and Amanda!! It is so comforting to know that I am not alone in this. Sending you and your families my love during these crazy times.

  62. N Be says...

    Thank you for this post!
    I am expecting my first baby at the end of November. To experience my entire pregnancy during a lockdown has been isolating to say the least, but at least it has perhaps prepared me for more months of these feelings? It has been comforting to know I am not the only mom who hasn’t been able to bring her husband into ultrasounds, appointments, or get to fully celebrate her pregnancy in the same ways as normal times… I feel I am missing out, and kind of wish friends and family were a bit more aware of this… but it’s a dark time for everyone. But the bright side of things: feeling I don’t have to make an excuse to want to nest in our bubble after baby comes, and getting to work from home (i.e. my bed) these past few months sure beats going in to work.

    His name will be Elio. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, Elio. What a love.

    • Maria says...

      I had my Elia in June! Good luck always

  63. Lydia says...

    I had my first baby August 4th. Violet has been such a joy and sometimes a welcome distraction to the world. I often think about what a “normal” pregnancy and 4th trimester would’ve been like. It’s such a unique and bonding thing to meet and talk with people who can understand how different it all is from what you might’ve pictured before. Even the most empathetic veteran parents don’t have a pandemic in their advice repertoire. I feel like this wave of parents will hopefully be ones can connect quickly and also know we’re pretty bad ass if we can handle this journey.

  64. Megan says...

    I have a seven week old boy and will offer friends and families of new parents one thing they can do: BRING FOOD!! People came out of the woodwork bringing us meals and I still get misty-eyed about. Food=Love for me. We had amazing enchiladas that fed us for days, and a penne alla vodka as well, teriyaki chicken (I could go on and on). But the star of the show was a salad my good friend made. She had all the salad bits (lettuce, artichokes, tomatoes, chickpeas, etc) cleaned and chopped and tossed together. It held beautifully for days and all I had to do was spoon some in a bowl and top it off with her homemade dressing. Those healthy, crunchy things were so welcome in a time when we were grabbing junk left and right for survival!

    • Nikka says...

      Yesss. Just had a baby a few weeks ago and the neighborhood did a meal train that has been soooo physically and emotionally nourishing. Friends from afar have also ordered us delivery. So incredibly nice in a time when we miss everyone.

  65. k says...

    literally opened your blog to take a breather from my screaming 3 month old baby suffering from reflux and refusing to latch and i’m ready to scream and cry and pull my hair out (tho he’s already doing that)…thank you for asking (that was genuine not snarky!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds so hard!!! You’re doing a great job, K. Sending love and solidarity.

    • Kay says...

      My son had terrible reflux when he was born — it’s so hard! Then suddenly around 4 months it just…stopped. Lots of screams from us both before then though. Hang in there mama, you got this.

    • Bailey says...

      K, I hear you. I’ve got a two month old screamer with reflux and the crying never ends. I don’t have any advice to give, but know that you are doing great and doing everything you can.

    • Ash says...

      Momma you can do this.

      We just went through that a few months ago. 100 days of hell. No one tells you how hard that is going to be. Even if they did, it is so much worse than they describe. I told my husband after we got through it, that you can always tell which parents had babies with reflux or colic because when you tell them about yours, you can just see the look in their eyes. They know. They physically react to it. It stays with you. You love that little person but it takes every ounce in your body to get through these tough moments when they’re screaming and you’d do anything to fix it.

      Don’t forget at times you just have to set your baby down in a safe space, and take a minute to breathe and ensure you’re calm enough to take it on.

      I read this somewhere early on, and it helped me… your baby cannot talk, it can only cry, it doesn’t know how to tell you what is wrong, but it is trying to tell you momma how much it needs you in the only way it knows how. It is not crying to upset you or irritate you. Stay calm and troubleshoot.

      Sending hugs your way. Ours got through it at about 3 1/2 months so hopefully soon!

  66. Hali says...

    It’s an isolation cake: layers of isolation sponge (quarantine on the bottom, then pregnancy without social interaction in the middle, and i’m guessing those first few newborn months will be an isolation show-stopper on top) with rich physical and existential life-shifting frosting, decorated with hand-piped swirls of dramatic emotions.

    My due date is inauguration day, so no pressure or anything. My pregnancy has been pretty chill, all things considered: very minor sickness in the beginning, no noticeable fatigue etc. But damn, this is insane. I wish I had some warning about this long awaited pregnancy and how it would arrive, unexpected and surrounded by doubt and fear – I would have partied SO HARD in February, taken a massive vacation, ordered all the apps and dessert, and squeezed everyone so tightly before kissing them all farewell until we meet again on the other side of this, when everything about the world will have changed … and I’ll have my baby.

    In the evenings I can only watch cloyingly comforting shows (ahem gbbo and jane austen vibes only, maybe star trek because that seems to be my husband’s version of period drama films) but the second I wake up in the morning I douse myself in NPR/NYT reality and since June, I’ve only read books on racism because I refuse to let that awakening get lost in the chaos and the urgency to learn-up is still majorly at the forefront of my mind. If I wasn’t pregnant I’d demand more from myself, mentally, about getting politically involved and not taking breaks on weekends and when I’m done with work, but I keep thinking the baby should hear me laugh and know what joy feels like inside of me as well as fear, so I go easy on myself if anything, for him.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that most people aren’t also physically creating a human amidst this turmoil- this is a special treat just for some of us! And special treat, it really is. The kicks are medicine: I just lay on the couch with my hands on my belly completely in my own world, with equal parts wonder and humility. The song Cosmic Dancer by Trex has landed in my top ten favorites, and will always remind me of our couch in quarantine and these little baby kicks. It’s bleak outside the walls of our house, but we’re safe on the couch, and I tell my baby that. Still, I woke up at 3am this morning from nightmares about screaming babies and sick parents, I immediately got out of bed and searched bleary eyed for the nest N95 respirators I could buy to ship to my parents who have decided to fly to california from hawaii for Christmas and stay through the birth. The island they live on has largely been spared from covid, and I’m terrified of having them join the mainland where everything reeks of toxic smoke and rhetoric. Their decision should elate me but it also horrifies me. I almost can’t imagine hugging them, it’s too much to think about. If they get sick…. no no no no no

    Everything just feels very, very fragile and tender right now. But this is it! We’ll never get this time back and nothing will ever be the same! I know humans tend not to remember misery as much as we remember joy, and I can already tell I’ll look back on this time with fondness, as impossible as it feels. Sending love and cake to all the mamas!

    • Hali, your beautiful words captured this powerful sentiment so well. “Everything just feels very, very fragile and tender right now.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for sharing…and best wishes for a healthy and safe delivery :)

    • Jen says...

      Hali, I felt bone deep instant camaraderie reading your post. We have a nine month old baby girl at home, and I’ve eaten so much isolation cake that I have a stomach ache and mouth full of cavities now. Thank you for letting me share this next slice with you. Sending you so much love, wishing you all the best with your little one, and hoping that your sweet parents arrive to you safely to bring you comfort and celebrate your growing family.

    • Nora B says...

      Hali, I loved the nuance and depth and reality of this comment. You should write a book when we all get to the other side of this. Hugs.

    • Cat says...

      Hello fellow due-on-inauguration-day mama (and also seeking comfort in gbbo here, no guilt) – just wanted to say thanks for your beautiful words, and I feel this all too. Sending plenty of hugs!

  67. Jill says...

    Hi Rachel, What is Sip? :/

    • rachel says...

      Shelter in place!

    • Rachel says...

      Shelter In Place :)

  68. Our baby Hudson arrived one month early in April. I agree with many of the comments I read in that I had a similar experience- motherhood in this moment is unique and challenging. To be honest, though, the prevailing feeling I have is one of gratitude. While many have lost jobs, homes, loved ones and any sense of normalcy, I’m constantly in the presence of one who doesn’t know of any of these extremities. He lives to eat, giggle, explore, chat and learn in blissful obliviousness to the tipsy turvy world he was born into. His long gazes invite me into his world that mirrors the one I hope we can keep fighting for, one that is all encompassed by love.

    • E says...

      I have a one year old and needing to keep soldiering on, taking card of our little one when she has good and (a few) bad days has been so grounding.

  69. Alice says...

    I have an 8 month old born pre-pandemic and it has been isolating but not all terrible, I am fortunate enough to say. We moved 8 hours away so that my mom can help with child care, since we wouldn’t be able to get any where we were living. Luckily we can both work remote for the foreseeable future. Our new next-door neighbor has a 1-year old but we haven’t been able to socialize due to the pandemic, heat waves, and consistently unhealthy air from wild fires (guess which state we are in!), making it difficult to spend time outdoors. It’s isolating for sure. But it’s been a mixed blessing. We left behind some great things to move, but we were also pushed to live closer to family, which we are feel very lucky to be able to do for now. Paring life back to the essentials during the pandemic has really made me question what I want to prioritize in life moving forward.

  70. Nic says...

    My baby girl is 10 months. We live in a different city from our family and so with the pandemic we haven’t seen them as much as planned. I feel like I’m keeping this amazing secret all to myself as I watch her grow and learn new things. It’s heartbreaking.

    Having my spouse work from home has been a wonderful change though. In the early days it meant I wouldn’t forget to eat lunch!

  71. Anne says...

    My baby, Benjamin, was born a week before the shutdown began. Between Ben and my toddler Abigail, it’s been a long and lonely 8 months. Thankfully, my husband is working 100% remote and him being available for the first few months made life manageable. Eventually, we made the decision to move in with my parents across the country because our mental health was taking a significant toll. The biggest bright spot of the pandemic hAs been my husband recognizing just how massive the disparity is between women and men when it comes to emotional labor and childcare. I now feel like I really am working towards a beautiful parternship where we both share the load and support each other in our various endeavors.

  72. CK says...

    My little Leo is six weeks old, and it certainly feels like we’re on house arrest. I had some mild complications that have delayed my recovery, so I’m not even able to take walks around the neighborhood. It’s been rough. Family members are eager to come visit and meet him, but we can’t risk his health no matter how nice it’d be to have some help and company. I’m just trying to revel in all the uninterrupted baby snuggles and bonding we’re able to have right now – a real silver lining.

  73. Taylor says...

    So excited to read these comments. I have a ten week old and while I am insanely lucky to have my parents staying with us providing childcare while we work (embarrassing that we both work for the government and were offered 12 weeks UNPAID leave, I emptied my paid leave and squeezed out 6 weeks paid) I do feel like I’m missing a lot of the sweet moments of having a new baby. I commented on another thread that I’m being denied my right to have a woman in a grocery store tell me how gorgeous my baby is–but I also am missing any kind of place to take my baby. I wish my baby could hang out in my favorite restaurants and meet my favorite grocery store cashiers.

    I also feel like there’s no way to take time for me at home–a long shower or a walk around the block is great–but I can’t take a couple hours to get my nails done, or go visit a friend to have some relief from being in our tiny apartment together. I also don’t have access to any mom groups and virtual groups don’t feel as intimate. Sending so much love to other FTMs with little ones right now. We’re being forged in the fire!!

    • Taylor says...

      Oh and my daughter’s name is Eleanor (different spelling but because of the Turtles song, which we sing to her 1000x a day) but we call her Nori because she’s our little sushi roll :)

    • Erin says...

      Here, I’ll be a grocery-store lady for you, since I miss seeing babies at the grocery store:

      Your baby is beautiful!!! So healthy and alert, and look at those gigantic eyes! Ten weeks is such a good age! Good job, Mama! :)

    • Nl says...

      Totally agree on this! I have a newborn and so wish to be out in the world with her. Thinking of you!

  74. Rachel says...

    My baby boy, Harry (the fifth!), just turned two months a few days ago. I read all of the Cup of Jo baby posts, including Toby’s birth story, in the days leading up to his birth!

  75. M says...

    My daughter just turned one, so she was just past five months old when everything shut down. Because she was born in late September, she got to see family at Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019, but also because of her timing, we were mostly holed-up at home, keeping warm and teaching her Midwest winter traditions for her first five months. :) When the pandemic hit, one of my first thoughts was “Thank goodness she was born before all of this,” and I still feel that way. It is hard to navigate the fourth trimester (and let’s be honest—the first year) when you aren’t restricted in your actions, let alone when every thing you need to do is qualified by a list of precautions. It took me a little while to realize though, that because we were hermit-ed away by choice before the pandemic, and then required to stay in once it arrived, that almost all of the most important people in my life, who live in different regions of the country, hadn’t seen me as a mother. Here I am, still myself, still the same fierce friend from before, but also someone so different, and so completely absorbed with this beautiful person who’s joined my life—and now my favorite people haven’t met this version of me. It’s something that adds to my sense of time not being real, to my feelings of disorientation and apprehension. I found out a couple weeks ago that I’m pregnant with number two and I find my mind wandering to who I’ll be, and how much (TWO kids—what?!?!) I’ll want to share with my people, once this all lifts.

    • Rachel Detra says...

      M, I had to check that I didn’t write this. I am you! You are me. Cup of Jo always shows us: we are not alone.

    • M says...

      Aw, Rachel! So fun. If you’re also processing #2, congrats!!! And I’m so happy to know someone else is feeling this way. There are oh-so-many layers of adjustment to becoming a mom, and just as many to thriving in a pandemic. Sending love. -M

  76. Giulia says...

    You are a sweet, sweet human! Thank you for this post, it means the world. I am in London with my husband and baby Arthur, who is 3 months, and here things are getting grimmer again, and my family is back in Italy. I feel so very isolated, unable to see my friends here, stuck in a flat with no green areas around and with a prospect of this in front of us for months. I am so very happy as a new mum, it’s my dream come true and I can’t explain the love I feel for this sweet little boy, my husband and I love each other and we are having lovely times together, we are financially ok and thus so very lucky, but I can’t but think of how vastly different this life as a new parent would have been in normal circumstances and I feel the need to let myself mourn that. My parents coming on a flight, friends popping over for tea, neighbours stopping on the street for a chat, new friends to be met at playgroups. I think that it’s ok to recognise that, while supremely lucky in comparison to so many, it’s sad that this is how it is. And it’s good to hear that if we’re trying, then we’re doing ok; it’s so easy to let the guilt take over, for having desires of a little time for myself, for friends, for a long book, for a bit of silly shopping. Hugging all you new mamme from here, truly, and with warmth. We can do this! And like my mum said a month ago, when I ended up in hospital for 3 days with the wee one, all they need is us, and our love. Hang in there xxxx

  77. Gretchen says...

    Not a new mom but a “maybe-expecting” mom? We find out next month whether we’ll be chosen to adopt 2-year-old twins. Adopting 2 year-old-twins would be stressful enough but the *maybe* part just raises the stress to a fever pitch. If we are chosen, it means buying a new car, new car seats, new furniture (and 2 of everything! 2 cribs! 2 dressers! 2 high chairs!) while prepping our first child (also adopted) for the change AND trying to manage virtual teaching. But, if we’re not chosen, it means heartbreak and more waiting. It feels like we need to do at least some preparation because there will be too much to do it all in time if we find out we’re chosen but it’s so hard to try to prepare knowing we might get bad news.

    If we don’t get chosen, we just know that we’ll hug our little boy tight (who we waited years for) and keep moving forward with hope for more little ones in the future.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Gretchen, we will be rooting for you!!!

  78. P.S. says...

    Sending so much love to all my fellow want-so-badly-to-be-Mamas that are struggling to get pregnant. Infertility sucks. Miscarriages suck. Canceled cycles suck. Watching everyone around you get pregnant and have babies is HARD. We may suffer in silence, but please know that there is someone out there that sees you and is rooting for you. <3

    • Lynn says...

      This so hard.

    • Stacey says...

      Agreed – thank you for this. Two weeks ago I was happily pregnant into the 2nd trimester and reading all the birth stories, feeling isolated with the nausea, wondering what it would be like to give birth if covid is still ongoing in 2021. Now after the miscarriage it’s a whole new set of feelings and ironically more sense of community with friends being there for me. sending strength to all the new moms and want to be moms.

  79. A. says...

    Thank you for this post! I became a first time mom in May when my daughter Ramona was born. My husband’s and my family are all flight distances away, so we have been on this parenting journey alone. It’s really tough! I’m incredibly sad for the lost opportunity of in person community support during this huge life change, and am trying to focus on the daily joys my daughter brings. I definitely fantasize about giant extended family visits down the road where we can introduce Ramona to everyone (and get some help!). Stay strong, fellow new (and soon to be!) parents.

  80. Sarah says...

    This is such a sweet post – I’m due with my first in Feb (just in time for the height of flu season, too!), so I’m going to dig in to the comments to gain some hope. <3

  81. KC says...

    It makes me feel so much less alone to read all of these comments! Eleanor just turned 9 months old yesterday. The last 9 months have been full so many ups and downs. We had a horrible postpartum recovery in the middle of flu season, so we were very isolated, and the day after our pediatrician told us we could start going out, the pandemic was declared. My mom and brother in law are essential workers who get exposed, so we can’t get close to our immediate family. None of our (mostly childless) friends observe similar precautions as us. So my husband, daughter, and I have been pretty much on our own for almost 7 months. It’s been isolating, utterly depressing, bonding, and beautiful all at the same time. I definitely grieve all the events, people, and plans we missed out on in my daughter’s infancy. I’m sad my mom group fizzled out since we’d just met before the pandemic hit. But because we’ve had no help, and we’ve been lucky enough to work from home, I’ve been present for every moment and milestone of my daughter’s life so far. That never would’ve happened if life were normal right now.

  82. Zoe says...

    This is such a thoughtful idea. I have birth to my second child (a daughter, Zetta) at the height of the pandemic in April. Looking after a 3 year old and a newborn during the UK’s lockdown was one of those things you don’t think you can do until you do it. The whole experience has made me so grateful for my incredible husband, our home and the strong foundations on which our life is built. As in nature, there is beauty to be found in isolation. As things open up I never want to lose that.

  83. K says...

    My little guy (Darrow) just turned two. While this year hasn’t exactly been easy, like working from home with a toddler, we’ve been so grateful for how much time we’ve gotten to spend with him. He has changed so much this year and we’ve gotten to slow down and really enjoy him. We’re very grateful we haven’t had to deal with schools opening/distance learning…I feel for all you moms dealing with that.

  84. Emmie says...

    I had my first child just before the pandemic hit the US hard. The worst part is the loneliness, not having much physical support but also not being able to share all the firsts with family and friends. I feel like I’ve aged five years since January.

    • Emmie says...

      My daughter’s name is Rosa. :)

    • Megan says...

      I love the name Rosa!! Almost chose it for my own five-month-old girl :)

  85. Hannah Lynch says...

    I just had my first baby (and perhaps only baby, based on how hard it’s been) 8 weeks ago. Her name is Nora, and it has been so hard to be alone, and essentially indoors for months because of constant wildfire smoke (I live in San Francisco). When she was 2 weeks old, we had a horrible heat wave, and couldn’t open the windows because of the smoke, and it was 88 indoors and I was just sweating and crying with her on my chest like a little furnace because she wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. I just felt such a sense of despair.

    Everyone keeps telling me it gets easier at 3 months – God, I hope so. I just didn’t realize that all 3 things infants do (eat, sleep, and poop) would be so challenging for them. Breastfeeding is hard, she fights sleep with all her might and only sleeps when held, and has all this digestive trouble that causes her to wriggle and squirm and wake herself up. And then I read the internet with its admonishments to put your baby down “drowsy but awake” and I just laugh and laugh in despair.

    • EH says...

      Oh Hannah I feel you! In a similar position baby wise (10 weeks) but not in Cali! How I wish I could have family around without worry and the childcare support we’d planned! This is my third, and my first had even more trouble eating, sleeping and pooping. It does get better, and you will look back and feel the time went quickly (hopefully!). Someone told me with my first, “The days are long but the years are short.” Sending you a fist bump and hug.

    • Eliza says...

      Oh Hannah I feel for you! My first baby is ten months old now and I remember that HARD TIME you are going through now so vividly. It does get better, I promise – three months is better and four months is better still. We put our baby into her own room at four months old and that night I slept better than I had since before I was pregnant. I could have wept with joy. You are doing it right – there is no right way, there is just the way that gets you through it. And on the other side of this, Nora will be there, gurgling and giggling at you and throwing food at your face, and you will laugh again, and not in despair this time. Thinking of you and sending all the support.

    • Melissa says...

      Oh Hannah, this was my first baby. It gets better, things slowly get easier, and you wake up one morning and realize that you made it through that phase and feel stronger for the phases to come. Solidarity, mama, you’ve got this.

    • Anna Zimmerman says...

      This sounds exactly how my daughter was. She has always fought sleep, never sleeps in the car, and those first 3 months were just EXHAUSTING. I feel for you. It gets better, it really does!! Some babes start adjusting after gaining weight, and some calm down after reaching movement milestones. When my girl finally could hold her head up, things started “looking up” (sorry for the pun) And when she could roll over, it got even better. Just remember that although it feels like an eternity, next week you won’t remember this current frustration and you’ll be frustrated by something else ? Virtual hugs!

    • Lacy says...

      Hannah, I feel you on all of this. My little one is five months but you’re describing our lives exactly over the last couple of weeks (we’re in Santa Cruz and dealt with the fires and smoke and 90 degree house too). No advice, but know you’re not alone. And I wish more than anything that someone could hold our fussy babes and let our drowsy selves lay down and be very much not awake.

    • Kate says...

      Hi Hannah! I felt such similar feelings at that stage with my first baby. It was unbelievably, heart wrenchingly hard. I now have my third baby boy who is 4 months, and I can truly tell you that you will get through this and it will get easier. There is a unique sense with a first baby that each new difficulty is compounded on the last and you don’t know how you will live through it, but then some of the difficulties start to ease and you can catch a breath. Know that you are in the hardest stage now and slowly the hardest parts do start to let up. And you do not need to put your baby down awake, especially at 8 weeks. My babies were not interested in that either, and putting them down asleep let me take a much needed break. You’ve got this love, even if it doesn’t feel like it! Sending you strength and friendship through the void :)

    • Hil says...

      You’ve got this! “Drowsy but awake” is this magical term I’ve learned that only applies to unicorn babies, not ones who dislike sleep. My girl just turned 12 months and she just started sleeping better at 11 months with some sleep training. Not saying this to scare you, just acknowledging some babies aren’t good sleepers! All of my
      anxiety was around sleep and once I let go of it a bit and accepted she just wasn’t one, it definitely helped. :) Trust your instincts and feed to sleep, rock, do whatever you need to do!

    • Erin says...

      As someone who has a 4-month old (Margot, born in May!) I am here to attest that it does get easier. Everyone told me that and I believed no one because it was just so, so hard. The lack of sleep makes you not just tired but depletes your rational decision making abilities! I still feel overwhelmed but it really did start getting better around 3 months. Thinking of you and all the other new(er) moms out there xo

    • Caitlin says...

      Thinking of you, Hannah. That period is hard during normal times and I genuinely cant imagine what it must be like with covid + wildfires. Breastfeeding was really hard for me, too. I hope you find some peace soon!

    • Rebecca Max says...

      Hannah, I PROMISE it will get better/easier! Maybe not exactly at three months but soon after. The first little while is SO hard during normal times but especially in these unprecedented times. Don’t read the internet! Drowsy but awake is nonsense that never worked for my kids. I hired a sleep coach at 6 months for both of my kids and it was life changing! They help you through email/phone too so it’s something you’ll be able to do even if the pandemic is still happening. I felt the same as you with my first and now I’m pregnant with my third. Stay strong and just trust me. IT GETS BETTER!!!!!

    • AB says...

      I’m thinking of you Hannah. It will get better. We can do hard things!

    • Bailey says...

      Same. I also have an 8 week old. He hates sleeping. Cries when you put him to sleep and screams when he wakes up. Constantly overtired, cries after eating, spits up all over, refuses a bottle. It’s so so hard. And harder because of COVID isolation. You hate to wish to speed up time, but also just can’t wait for the next month to be over. We can do this!

    • Marie says...

      Your comment has the desperation i felt as a new mom with no support. follow @takingcarababies on instagram. her newborn class is like $80. i know that’s a lot since the economy is in the toilet but it’s worth it – the classes are videos instead of ridiculous books filled with pages of stories on the author’s own children. You will feel like a weight lifts off you so slowly it gets an unnoticeable amount better until one day you realize your life is actually fine again! (pandemic notwithstanding, grrr.)

  86. Jackie says...

    My heart leapt when I read this title because I am so, so, so, so grateful that I get to post here! We have struggled with infertility and multiple failed adoptions over the past 5 years but our son (James!) was born on August 8th! We are honestly so relieved to have made it to this point – to have a baby – that I think I a barely cognizant of how it could have been different without quarantine. I am pretty introverted so I think the lack of social pressure works well for me. I was already worried about fending off family members who wanted to come and stay for weeks – ha! I have really enjoyed having both my husband and I being able to work from home and have workloads that are not too bad so we can trade off duties and shifts. It honestly feels kind of perfect for me – like a cocoon we are creating for the first several months of his life. I am just so grateful to have him that I am soaking him up during these quiet days.
    p.s. Joanna, I just wanted to thank you so much for this post. I have seen so many cool motherhood posts that you’ve done and desperately wanted to join in. I am so happy I can finally be in the club! :)
    p.p.s. I do wish I could find a virtual new moms group. Anyone know of any? I’m on the west coast.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, my heart!!! Welcome to the club, Jackie. And huge hugs to those who are wanting and waiting to be parents, you’re already here with VIP membership xoxo

  87. Kate says...

    I had my Jack, my first, at the beginning of April. I was able to do a virtual moms group and it has been such a blessing. I encourage anyone who’s currently pregnant or in the newborn stages to see if there is one in your community or through your hospital or midwife. I could not have gotten through these hard months without my lovely supportive mama village. Hugs to all, we are doing something really hard!

  88. New mom says...

    Saw this question and burst into tears. My third baby is four days old. He came so fast I couldn’t get a covid test and had to deliver with a mask on, which I was happy to do to protect the sweet nurses helping me, but it was tough. I’m frustrated with how miserable this recovery is, and I just want to be able to send my older kids to grandma’s.

  89. Ramona says...

    Awwhhh…such sweet, sweet photos! ? Hang in there, Mamas! Some days are hard but you will be blessed with sweet, memorable moments too! Try to get outside everyday. Nature moments are good for all! ????

  90. Alden says...

    Thanks for this post! It is helpful to read the other comments, and to be reminded that I’m not alone. After struggling for a long time to get pregnant, we had our miracle baby in May. The birth was traumatizing, and I was so thankful that I could give birth with my husband there(no other people were aloud). It’s been so taxing to balance the desire to have him be held and introduced to other loved ones, and the desire to keep our family(and others) safe. The day-to-day can feel like groundhog day, where everything is the same monotony. I don’t want that to sound like I’m not grateful for every moment, but it is hard. To add to the isolation, we live in California and have often been forced to stay indoors all day due to bad air quality. Anyway, thanks for the venting session. Things are hard for so many right now; but I am the optimistic type, so I remain hopeful. My mantra when I was going through IVF still rings true, “I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I am going to believe the best does.” (Anne of Green Gables)

    • Caitlin says...

      Alden, I am sending love your way! You sound so strong. I wish I could take some of the burden of these difficult times from you (the monotony, the isolation), but you sound just like the exact parent your little baby needs. Thinking of you today!

    • Sage says...

      I had a “normal” birth and was traumatized to the point of needing therapy. I can only imagine what the birth experience is like right now. I hope you can get the support and help you want and deserve. :) You did it! You’re undoubtedly a wonderful mother, and it’s 100% ok not to enjoy every moment of the baby phase. It can be utterly mind numbing. It really just gets better and better. :) Lots of love from AZ.

    • Ally says...

      Where are you, Alden? I have a May baby too and am in LA… would love to meet new mama future in-person friends!

    • Lacy says...

      Alden,
      I’m also sitting here with my miracle baby (in thankfully, finally, smoke free California), born in April thanks to years of struggle and a successful round of IVF. At first it felt supremely unfair to have our baby shower cancelled and remain in total isolation for the end of pregnancy on through to parenthood after all we went through to get her here- but I think fertility treatments and life after losses taught me that fairness isn’t really part of the equation. Just the same, my heart aches for you and all of us navigating this. Wish our little miracle babies could play (or lie next to one another totally unaware of the other’s existence, as babies do) while we share a bottle of wine and vent together. ❤️

    • Alden says...

      Ally, I’m in San Francisco. But I was born in LA and know it well. Sending love to you from the North… it’s fun to imagine, maybe our May babies will meet unknowingly in the future(college buddies??). And to Caitlin, Sage, Lacy and all others reading this, thank you for the virtual hugs and love; This has been the most therapeutic thread! I can imagine your smiling faces, and sweet roly-poly babies, as if you were here.

  91. Jennifer Wasser says...

    Thank you for this post! THIS is one of a million reasons why your blog is the very best! And your mention of Jeni’s is spot on because two of my bests sent us some of that in the spring ;) Right after my newborn arrived, I was diagnosed with cancer and then COVID hit. What a time! It turns out that all of these things are incredibly isolating but the constant care and attention of friends who’ve had children (or even those who have not) make it all feel much less so. Sending hugs to all you new moms who’ve also welcomed babes into this wild world in the past year! XO

    • becky says...

      Oh my gosh! Sending you so much love right now!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Hugs to you! Xx

    • Jill says...

      Jennifer, I’m a bit speechless after reading this. You’re going through so much. Mommies are strong and fierce, though, so you will be looking back on this time as hell on earth, but also a time of strength and bravado. Sending you all the good things from here on out.

    • Kali says...

      Oh thank you Joanna for this prompt and space to share experiences! I’m currently in the hospital while my second daughter Lucy is in the NICU. She was just born on Wed, and while she is doing well it has been a rough few days. My husband luckily could be here with me the first day, but after that has needed to be with our older daughter–who I haven’t seen since Tuesday. It is so hard not seeing her during such a time of transition for our family, and that she can’t come meet her little sister. It was such a weird pregnancy, and these first few days have been so surreal. Sending lots of love to all the other moms with new babies ? hang in there!

  92. Natalie Arrieta says...

    Oh Jo, how do you always have the most impeccable timing?

    I’m a first time mama to a four-month old boy named Santiago, aka Santi! We live in London but i’m American and my family is back in the states and haven’t met him yet because the US embassy is closed and we’re unable to get my son a passport. It’s hard for me to discern if i’ve been feeling blue because of postpartum feelings or you know, pandemic. I wish my parents could meet their first grandchild, that my mother could have shown me how to bathe a baby, how to swaddle, but most of all, to mother me when i’ve needed it the most. Most days i stick my head out of the self pity hole and count my blessings, most of all being that because of work from home arrangements, my husband gets to see our son 24/7. That because of the pandemic, we’ve really come to our own as a little family. And that I can do this. I got this!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      You’ve got this!!! Santi is the sweetest name.

    • Jane says...

      I feel for you Natalie. I have a 22 month old daughter and expecting our second (20 weeks). I’m American and in London. I had a lovely maternity leave with my daughter and worried about what next year brings, with no idea when we’ll see my family again. But all that said, you’ve got this!! :) My husband had 6 weeks off furlough at the beginning of quarantine, never had paternity leave with our first so all the extra time he had with Rosie was such a blessing amidst the worry x

  93. meghan says...

    I really needed this post. I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant and have been working from home since March. My husband goes to work everyday, and I really only have one friend who lives about 45 minutes away. To say it’s isolating is an understatement, and that’s coming from a severe introvert (hi!). Initially, I was more than fine with having an excuse to stay inside and keep away from everyone, but now the mundanity of every day has started to wear on me so I’m trying to branch out with hobbies. Gardening, candle making, pottery…it’s hard to find the motivation, especially when I’m increasingly more tired every day and all that’s come to fruition is a pretty impressive pile of bowls and candles that collect dust and some withering herbs, but it’s nice to know others are going through the same thing (although I wish no one felt this way!)

    • JT says...

      Your hobbies sound amazing. It sounds like your baby will be surrounded beauty. Wishing you all the best.

    • Sarah says...

      I identified with this so much! I’m nearing the end of my first trimester and working from home while my husband works as a high school teacher during the day. I’m nervous to see friends in person and usually feel too tired to catch up virtually. The days feel long—there’s so much time to think about everything—which makes anxiety levels spike. It feels so comforting to hear from others in this same boat.

    • Meg says...

      Sarah I am also married to a high school teacher and CONSTANTLY vacillate between worry that he will bring COVID home since he is around so many more people in his day to day and blind hope that all the masks and distancing will work. I’m 13.5 weeks and working from home for the foreseeable future, but it is hard not to feel isolated or anxious. At the same time any time a friend stops by for an as-safe-as-possible(?) visit it is so life-giving. Hard to know how much worry is the right amount…

  94. Erin says...

    I am a volunteer who provides support to new moms in metro Detroit. Sadly, our program has been suspended due to the pandemic. When I was supporting moms, I would do a weekly text, call, email and offer support, resources and a listening ear until week 12. It’s such an important service and I feel for all those who have had a baby this year and may not be getting the help they need. I encourage anyone who knows a new baby has been born to reach out, even well after the birth, to listen and give little encouragements to new parents. xo

    • M says...

      This is very timely for me. I’m due in November and have been so lucky with our setup. Two local friends are also due that month; we’ve had a weekly outdoor activity date for the past few months to vent about symptoms and share prep. We have several family members within two hours’ drive and have done several outdoor visits. And I’ve become fairly rooted in my city from years of volunteer & other community efforts so at least once a week someone will stop by for a masked drop-off or distanced, backyard drink. There are small adjustments for sure and I expect more after the baby is born, but despite the lack of big social gatherings we’ve been able to get small, covid-safe doses of family & community. I’m so grateful.

    • Meg says...

      Erin, what is the name of your program? I live in Metro Detroit and it sounds amazing! I hope you’re all safely back up and running soon.

  95. Emily L says...

    So grateful to read this right now. My first appointment is Friday (still very early so fingers crossed) and after two miscarriages earlier this year I am both hopeful and terrified. My husband and I moved to Vermont in January and while I am grateful to live in a place that has been doing so well regarding the pandemic, it’s still been a very different adjustment to a new place. Our families are 7-12 hours away and we don’t have many friends yet. I’ve been having some early pregnancy depression and worry what it will be like having a child without the support system I always envisioned. Back in Baltimore, all our friends put together a food chain for new parents and even knowing I won’t have that is sad. I’ve also had horrible morning sickness (all day!) but don’t want to ask to work from home because if I say I’m sick everyone will think COVID and I don’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy yet. Right now I’m just praying for a healthy pregnancy and taking it one day at a time – Right now everything is fine, on Friday we will take the next step and then the next. Oh and trying not to feel like puking All. The. Time.

    • Caitlin says...

      Emily, I just want you to know I am thinking of you and hoping so much for good news for you. Your comment reminded me that women are unbelievably strong. You’re amazing.❤️

    • hali says...

      Oh man, Emily! I’m so sorry. Thanks for sharing this. One day at a time. Hope is a discipline. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts on Friday and crossing my fingers for you. Miscarriages in quarantine in a new place- that’s insane. What you’re going through is crazy hard. Sending love and lots of hope your way!

    • Karen says...

      Hi! I’m also in VT, and also had my first baby after a string of losses just before the pandemic hit. You’ll make it, mama! You’re stronger than you think and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure you’ll see this, but wanted to let you know you’re not alone.

    • Becca says...

      I hear you! I’m newly pregnant and not telling anyone at work. Also, I had just moved when I had my first child and was sad to not have that support I envisioned for myself. One thing that came fr only having our family unit: the three of us became very close, maybe closer than if the circumstances had been different. I hope all is well w this pregnancy and you find a kindred spirit easily – despite covid!

    • JET says...

      I had some serious depression at the beginning of my pregnancy (have always had anxiety but never depression so it freaked me the heck out.) Just wanted to share that the cloud lifted around 10ish weeks. My biggest fear was that it would last forever (or at least for my whole pregnancy) so I wanted to tell you that, at least in my experience, it did get way better. If it didn’t I was 100% going to go back on my Prozac and my doctor was very supportive of that plan. You got this!!!!!?

    • Caitlin says...

      Emily, welcome to Vermont. I’m a new mom and want you to know you’re not alone. Would love to be a new VT / CoJ friend of yours on this journey x

    • Mia says...

      Emily, I am also a newly pregnant Vermont transplant feeling very blue lately about the idea of going through pregnancy and all that comes after basically alone. My husband is wonderful, but I miss our families and community and am struggling to stay positive during what should be an exciting time. Sending you good vibes and best wishes, and hoping that by spring the world is moving towards a better place!

    • Emily L says...

      I just wanted to follow up on all these lovely comments in case any of you check back. Thank you so much for your words – they brought me to tears but in a good way! My appointment went well and I’m literally cheering myself on every day! I would also LOVE to meet some Vermont mamas or mamas to be (or not mamas!!). If anyone cares to reach out I’m just gonna take a chance and throw my email out here: emily at emilylewiscreative dot com

  96. Meg says...

    Thank you for asking, Joanna. I had my baby girl, our first, juuuust before lockdown happened, before the world got turned upside down. Our Nora is now 7 months old and as we speak, FINALLY down for her second nap. :) Lockdown was ROUGH for the 10 or so weeks when we didn’t have any help whatsoever, all in the 4th trimester, and I learned I had a birth injury and was trying to figure out how to heal. Once we opened up our bubble to our parents, things got better. And once we got past 4 months, things got even better still. She is an absolute joy! It’s so weird, though, that I’ve never taken her on normal errands like the grocery store, and have no clue when I will– life feels normal until I look up and remember for the millionth time how different life is still, outside our house. I have to actively remember to take a diaper bag because it’s not second nature, because of how little we go out. We’re finding new ways to do that, though, and I can’t wait to see Nora explore the world and hopefully be able to be around so many more people and make new friends. Hugs to all you other new mamas <3

  97. Lexie says...

    I just had a baby nine days ago (my sweet boy Ari) and it has been so hard navigating visitors, especially close family members who are virus skeptical. I want my family to have early memories of my son but the added risk assessment is draining when I’m already sleep deprived.

    On the upside, I see why that “newborn or quarantine” article was so popular — it really has been pretty similar to what we’ve already experienced the last six+ months!

    • Jackie says...

      I loved that article. I definitely feel like quarantine is a lot like having a newborn. I kind of think it makes having a newborn easier because your friends aren’t out doing fun stuff without you – everyone is stuck at home!

  98. Caitlin says...

    I was in my third trimester at the beginning of the pandemic and my husband and I used to play “Pregnancy or Pandemic?” as in, am I crying about this because I’m pregnant or because we’re in a pandemic? I became so narrowly focused on just getting through to my due date that it almost became like the whole thing would clear up once the baby arrived; like everything would go right back to normal. But I had my daughter (Helene Elizabeth) at the end of June, a full two weeks late (the longest two weeks of my life – all the usual distractions were a no go, so we watched all the Mission Impossible movies and put together a model of a dirigible to pass the time), and the game just shifted to “Parenthood or Pandemic?”, as in would we be this freaked out about the baby getting sick even in normal times? Would we want to spend this much time at home anyway? Would I be crying about seeing Mars as a tiny little speck of light next to the moon while holding my beautiful fat cheeked baby regardless of where I was in history?

    The hard parts are navigating a completely new identity as a mom while also losing all the other contexts in which I knew myself as an individual, not getting to share her with other people, all the math and risk assessment that goes along with every social interaction. The best part is getting to spend so much time with our girl as we continue to work from home. She’s an easy smiler, especially when she’s waking up, and we feel like she’s turning us into optimists despite everything.

    • J. says...

      This comment really made me smile and also tear up a little bit. I’m not pregnant but am an easy-crier, and the description of Mars and “turning us into optimists despite everything” really touched me. Sending big hugs (and I absolutely love her name!!!). You sound like a really wonderful mom. xx

  99. Brittany says...

    Just a reminder that this month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. With the death of Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend’s son, Jack, the community of women who have had their babies die are having a tough time being in the news and have our grief judged and dissected so publicly, it have been a really tough time on top of missing our little ones. While I appreciate this community engaging new parents as a community and have seen this community engage in the hard conversations of miscarriage, I’d love to see a recognition of those of us whose children didn’t make it home from the hospital, like my daughter. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and many mommas who have experienced the death of our children, ask for recognition and support through the “wave of light” candle lighting. It would be lovely to see Cup of Jo recognize this as well. Thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Brittany, that’s such an important point, and I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Thank you so much.

    • Brittany says...

      Thank you for your reply, Jo. It’s tough to be a new mom who never got the opportunity to tell a birth story, share my challenges with pumping, be told congratulations, etc. all because my daughter died at 25 days old. Would love to have those of us who experienced this loss welcomed with open arms as well to share and talk about our children.

    • Anna says...

      Having had two miscarriages this year, I second Brittany’s point. Grieving alone during a pandemic has been incredibly, incredibly hard. I imagine it must be so hard to be pregnant or have a newborn during
      this time, but I would give anything to be in that position.

    • L says...

      Thanks Brittany. I’m a new mom to a seven month old who also lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy in August. The anxiety of being in a life-threatening situation was exacerbated by not being allowed to have my husband with me at the hospital. I’m in a software engineering bootcamp doing hours of coding a day and juggling that with the joy of getting to know my new baby and just wanting time to grieve. It is nice to know about the wave of light, it feels like I am being recognized.

    • Lily says...

      Brittany, my daughter was stillborn in February. A miscarriage in June and now 7 weeks pregnant. I feel like my world has been permanently altered in ways I can’t express. To top it off I have hyperemesis gravadarum with my pregnancies so I’m just desperately trying to avoid a trip to the ER for fear of Covid exposure but also afraid to take drugs or get dehydrated for fear of losing the pregnancy, Sometimes it feels like these days will never end, but when Chrissy shared it touched me so deeply, it’s just always so cathartic to know you’re not alone even when other folks loses trigger your own grief. Hugs to you and all your babies.

  100. Emily says...

    Nursing my 5-week-old baby boy, Theo, right now! While I am very much mourning the ability to meet other new moms, and wish we could get out and about as our new family of three, we are trying to see the pros. My husband is working from home because of COVID-19, and getting to spend that precious time together has been incredible. There is also something cozy about staying at home and figuring out this whole parenthood thing without any unwanted visitors or stressful outings. I live on our couch now, and spend most of my days nursing or with my boy napping on me and my husband bringing me water and snacks and kisses for us both. I know I’ll look back on these hazy days with mostly fond memories, which is unexpected amidst a pandemic.

    • Jackie says...

      I have an 8 week old – James – and feel similarly. There is something so cozy about this time and I also live on the couch. :) I never understood why new moms liked food they could eat with one hand. I get it now!

    • Megan says...

      Emily, I whole heartedly agree. My husband is also working from home and we opted to not have our 4 year old daughter return to preschool. So the four of us have been home for these past 7 weeks just being together. I had a repeat C-Section and I recovered so quickly, I credit the fact that there was nothing to do but sit and heal! We’ve been able to see my family (they’re all very cautious quarantiners), though I’ve missed some of my close friends greatly during this time. We’ve been able to get onto a sort of routine far quicker than I anticipated as well. There’s never been anyone popping over and staying too long while I’ve fretted about “you need to go, I need to try to feed this baby!”. Overall, I too, will look back on this time very fondly, which I find myself feeling incredibly lucky about.

    • Sarah Jane says...

      We had our second daughter the first week of quarantine. At first I mourned the maternity leave I imagined (toddler in daycare. visiting breweries on weekdays! also, visiting wineries on weekdays!), but now I appreciate the strange bubble we’ve lived in. It was already going to be tough with two under two, and if everyone else is quarantined we don’t have any FOMO! And it was way more fun having company for this maternity leave for what it’s worth

  101. Megan says...

    Thank you so so much for asking, Joanna, and for all of your replies to these comments (and for asking about our babies’ names!). My daughter, Nina Eleanor, was born in late March. I’m a single mom by choice, so I knew I was heading into an adventure and I should expect the unexpected… but boy, did I get more than I bargained for. I am luckier than many pandemic moms (my family made it town for her birth, I didn’t have to labor by myself or with a mask, I had my parents’ help for her first five months, etc), but the pandemic just makes everything so much harder and more isolating, and I wish her first year didn’t have to be like this.

    But again, thank you for asking and for your sweet replies. About four years ago you put up a post about a single mom by choice, and it was so inspiring. I commented that it made me think I could do the same thing, and you replied with encouraging words, and it was just so validating and uplifting. And now here I am with my beautiful baby girl–I did it! Thank you for creating such a supportive community and for your individual kindnesses.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, Megan! I am so teary! Huge congratulations on your sweet baby girl! That makes me so happy.

  102. Christa says...

    I relate so much to many of the feelings and experiences shared here, thank you Joanna for asking after us. Otis was born the same week we started sheltering in CA, I’m grateful they were still allowing visitors in the hospital when he came. But soon after it was my husband and me with the baby and our 3 yo who we expected to be at preschool all day getting all of his energy out! It was a lot of togetherness early on which was overwhelming even while I was longing for people to be around and a world to explore with my little ones. After this past year of losing my dad, coping with a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy after many miscarriages, and then loneliness and isolation in the newborn phase, we have settled into a groove and I couldn’t be more thankful for this little baby (‘Happy Head’, as his cousins call him) and his brother who are the sunshine we need.

  103. My littlest one just turned one- so not as brand new as many of the babies here. Also she is our third, so juggling an 8 year old and a 3 year old at home as well. I work in theatre, so I my show was cancelled in the middle of rehearsals and I think being unemployed has been the hardest of everything. The facilitator of my mom’s group called me an “accidental stay at home mom”, and that’s how I feel. I love my job and miss the sense of balance I felt when I was working. I am realizing I am not cut out for being a homeschooling mom 24 hrs a day, that going to work and being able to devote some of my energy to this other thing made me a better mom. I do realize that I am lucky because my husband is still working so while money is tight (and my unemployment benefits are running out), we are in a lot better shape than so many other people. But some days it is just. so. hard. to just be mom.
    Wow…. I guess I really just needed to say that out loud. Thanks for providing the space.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I see you, Diane. Sending love. <3

    • Sarah says...

      “Accidental stay at home mom” – I use this term all the time! I feel like it is just such a good term for so many of us. There are beautiful things about it and incredibly had thing about it and everything in between. I gasped out loud when I saw you wrote that term too. It’s just such a good description. Sending you love!

  104. Mary says...

    Our first baby Beatrice was born in July. Not only is Beatrice her great grandmother’s name but it also means ‘bringer of happiness.’ She has lived up to her name in her first couple months. We find so much joy in neighborhood walks, sitting on a play mat, first smiles and coo’s, and watching her learn to roll over. Let’s be real though-with the joy comes doubt and worry, exhaustion, and even a little longing for life pre baby and a lot of longing for life pre pandemic.
    Stay strong pandemic mamas, mamas-to-be, want-to-be-mamas, and feel the virtual love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I LOVE the name Beatrice. How lovely that it’s so meaningful. Also, the character named Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing was so funny/smart/wonderful!

    • Jackie says...

      My baby boy was born in August and I also am finding so much joy in all of his little activities and accomplishments. :) He is definitely my world – even more so because of quarantine. I love it, but also resonate with the missing of life before – especially sleep!

  105. Anna says...

    Thank you for this post. I’m expecting a baby in December. My pregnancy has been full of uncertainty and complications, which COVID makes all the more difficult as partners are prohibited from joining appointments at my clinic & my family is far away and unable to visit. These challenges are all exacerbated – or feel exacerbated, at the very least – as I lost a baby a year ago on Friday. This has been a very hard week and I haven’t known where to turn. Thanks for this post + for all those little reminders that I’m not alone.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Anna. Sending you all the love and good wishes for this pregnancy. xoxo

  106. Thank you for this, Joanna. My first is due in November and while we can’t wait to meet them, I am struggling to accept that we won’t have my parents here when the baby first arrives. I never imagined things would play out this way, but they’re a 3 hour flight away and we agreed the safest thing would be for everyone to make one trip after the baby is born, and the hospital only allows one birthing partner anyways.

    I am also really worried about child care. My husband and I both work, and I am in healthcare, meaning working from home isn’t an option. So many friends up here with kids have struggled to figure things out with little to no solutions offered by their hospitals or by the government- two (!) couples I know/work with either left the state with their kids or sent their children out of state so their parents could help out. I feel like working women have been totally neglected in this pandemic and it’s really unfair.

    All the best to all the new Moms out there!

  107. Katharine says...

    Our baby Sam was born at the end of August, and we live in 575 sq feet of city apartment. It’s HARD. My partner just resumed teleworking after 6 weeks of parental leave and it’s really hard to negotiate crying/holding baby/video calls when we have no private space. And I’m supposedly supposed to resume work in another 6 weeks, which feels unfathomable. But a new baby brings joy, and we are getting to spend precious time together. And real talk, soon we’re driving to stay with my parents for a month, expanding our bubble for the first time, and we want to move out of the city sometime after that (but how do you pack/move with a baby and pandemic?!).

    I will never not be angry at everything we lost during this pregnancy and newborn season, and it’s been beautiful. Both things are true.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Both things are true. xoxo

  108. Amy says...

    I have a 19 month old. The pandemic and shutdowns started just after his first birthday. There’s so much I miss about our old life, and Covid has caused so many financial worries. But the silver lining? Now I’m allowed to work from home, and with my commute eliminated, I’ve gone from seeing my babe 1 – 1.5 hours a day to getting to spend 3 or more hours of quality time with him a day. It’s been such an unexpected blessing that I’ll forever be grateful for. It’s really changed my bar for what work-life balance should look like.

  109. Kaitlyn says...

    Thank you for this post, Joanna. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant with my first child (a little girl, we learned last week!). The isolation has been incredibly hard, but I am grateful to have a wonderful husband and a new rescue pup to keep me company. And while I haven’t been able to see my family much, I have seen them across yards and through car windows and even snuck in a quick hug with my mom the day we told her we were pregnant. Another silver lining was that I worked from home for the majority of my first trimester, which was such a blessing because the fatigue was real and made afternoon naps a necessity.

    Sending love to all of the new moms and soon-to-be moms out there. This transition isn’t easy and we’re all doing a great job!

    • Sarah says...

      I’m 21 weeks with a little girl. Congrats! *waves*

  110. Kara says...

    I am due with my 3rd baby in January and honestly, I am looking forward to having a reason to say no to visitors initially. I get overwhelmed and nursing in those early days can be so difficult with people visiting. I am looking forward to nesting and having quiet, winter days at home by the fire with my newborn.
    However, my other two children were summer babies so I am a bit nervous about not being able to go on walks! Walks were my saving grace once I recovered a bit!
    Love to all new and especially first time mamas missing out on traditions and feeling isolated. <3

  111. Lisa says...

    Mother of two little boys here! David (17 months) and Isaac (6 weeks). There are so many gains and losses. The ability to work from home means we never miss a moment with our kids, for which I’ll be forever grateful. But I also grieve the things my toddler is missing and wonder if his baby brother will also miss out. Grandparent visits, playing with cousins, going to zoos and museums, playgroups and classes…. My toddler is the most social little being and he has no friends. Full stop. I also hate being the bad cop in keeping the kids and grandparents apart. David adores his grandparents and they want to hold him and meet Isaac, while my husband and I are the ones in the middle ensuring no one gets sick. A trip to the ER with a newborn just isn’t worth it, but how long can we keep family away? When will the world change? We’ve been holding our newborn up lion king style in the window so his grandparents can see him and it breaks my heart.

    You might also consider having an open forum like this for those grieving during this time. My father died of cancer toward the beginning of the pandemic. Like so many others, we were never able to hold a funeral, never able to sit shiva. I think of his wife all of the time. Someone close to us just lost her child, and while it is the worst thing I can possibly imagine under normal times, it is unfathomable to me right now.

    • Emily L says...

      Sending so much love Lisa – you’re doing great, even if it’s so hard. I can relate to grief – my mother in law died this April and we still haven’t been able to travel to see my husband’s family, all the details with wrapping up her estate have been taking MONTHS due to COVID (not something you want to deal with when just wanting to grieve), and just haven’t had any closure.

    • Emily says...

      Hi Lisa, I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old, so these things have been on my mind, as well. I feel so awful for our kid who is at a point in her development when she’s so ready and eager for connection. But I have to believe that she’ll barely remember this time–it’s probably harder for us than for them.

      I’m so sorry for your loss, too.

  112. Megan Powell says...

    My first baby, was born in May just as things were starting to open back up in Alberta, Canada here. The last month of pregnancy feels like forever in a normal year (I would think) but in the middle of a pandemic, it was an eternity. The first month of his life was so hard as we tried to come up with a plan for friends and family to meet him. As our city has reopened though, so has our bubble and immediate family have all been able to enjoy him and some close friends. We’re 5 months in now, and the anxiety and depression are starting to hit me. My husband was laid off over 3 months ago, and having us all home every day is both a gift and difficult. Motherhood is lonely, especially when other’s don’t understand what you’re going through. The day in and day out routine can be suffocating. And now every trip outside of the house is a risk, and sometimes it’s worth taking (especially for my mental health) and sometimes it feels enormous.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Megan, I’m sending the biggest hug your way. Postpartum anxiety and depression are no joke, and the pandemic must make it even harder. Just know that it WILL end and you WILL feel happy again. also, personally, medication helped me so, so much when I went through it after Anton was born, so just wanted to put that out there. Sending love, mama xoxoxoxo

    • Molly says...

      Hi Megan,
      This is all so hard. I resonate with so much that you said. And I agree with Joanna, meds can help temper the anxiety. They have really helped me!

    • Abby says...

      Motherhood is an incredibly lonely experience, but the bond you’ll start to feel with other mother’s is incredibly intense. Hang in there, friend, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Rachel says...

      Can someone tell me more about the decision to take meds, or suggest a good resource to understand what it would be like? I don’t even know how to decide if it’s the right thing for me or not.

  113. Allie says...

    I was feeling a little sorry for myself (our second was born in May, and I just miss my “people” so much and was feeling sad about all the fun baby classes he won’t get to do) but then we got the news that a dear family member experienced a miscarriage. I can’t even imagine the sadness and isolation she must be feeling and it feels like we can’t do a thing to help her. I’d welcome any ideas to send love from afar, from this lovely group of women.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      How heartbreaking, Allie. I once read advice to treat a miscarriage like other kinds of death/loss — send food, flowers, cards, etc. I thought that seemed like great advice.

    • Anna says...

      I had a miscarriage last year and I can’t imagine how hard that must be to go through right now. I agree that treating it as any other loss/death is helpful ( because it is a loss and death). Something to remember her baby- a book, necklace, journal or send flowers, dinner, or a letter. What I appreciated most was my cousin’s wife who called me several times to check on me. I wanted to talk about my baby that I had been so excited to meet and loved. It felt good to have someone to share my pain and not treat it like an embarrassing medical mishap.

  114. Katie says...

    It’s such a weird and isolating experience! I was six months pregnant when lockdown began so my baby shower was cancelled and I missed out on a lot of the late-pregnancy experiences I was expecting to have: weird observations from strangers, people giving up their metro seats, awkward office parties, etc. We’re lucky enough that both sets of grandparents live nearby so we have been able to spend time with them during these months, but none of my brothers or anyone else in my family has met our girl and I’m not sure when they will. At the same time, I am so grateful for Ellie (Eloise) during this time because at four months old, she is the best distraction and a perfect dose of hope and silliness when everything else seems grim. Last week, she learned how to blow raspberries and my husband and I were laughing at the random fart noises she kept making. She brings us so much joy.

  115. Kori says...

    Our son was born March 4 and we ended up having to spend a couple days in the hospital. When we were leaving the doctor told us to get out while we still could. My parents had to cancel their flight. At first the lockdown was a reprieve; we could build up our confidence as new parents without any scrutiny. Now after 7 months it is lonely. My parents have still not met their grandson and I’m wary of going out because it seems no one can resist touching a cute chubby baby. I’ve had to swat away stranger’s hands. But even harder is telling close friends “no” when they ask to hold him.

  116. Kiara says...

    Our son Owen was born March 12th, right before everything shut down. He wasn’t a week old when quarantine began and no one could come help/see him. He is our first after six years of infertility, two rounds of IVF and so many surgeries. After two weeks, my husband went back to work. I just had another surgery for complications from his birth that basically began the vaginal healing process all over again. I work from home without childcare. It has been brutal. I spent so many years dreaming of life with a new baby, and so much is different. Arguing with grandparents who no longer wear masks about holding my son…it’s breaking relationships. Thankfully, I have a perfectly healthy son who brings so much joy, it’s like living, breathing poetry. And yet I’m voraciously researching moving to Canada/anywhere.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, that sounds impossibly hard, Kiara. I’m so sorry. You’ve been through so much! Sending so much love to you and your sweet son. xo

    • Caitlin says...

      Kiara, I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job. ❤️❤️❤️

  117. Marie says...

    Thank you COJ team for creating this space. Our little one was born in late April, little Arthur (Artie for short). It’s been hard and lonely to have this magical little human come into your world as the pandemic rages on. We haven’t seen any family, at all. We’re in NC, my family is in NY state and my husband’s is in Germany (he’s German). The pandemic completely upended what I thought having our first baby would be… it made us rethink a few things and with remote work… we decided to be closer to family. We move this weekend! I just started sobbing as I wrote that, it still doesn’t feel quite real. I lost my job and my husband’s job went fully remote (and will stay that way), so we’re heading back to the Northeast (or to Germany if Trump wins). I’m sending so much love to every mama out there welcoming a little human to the world, especially first time mamas. This is has been a rollercoaster of a year, you are doing your best and please know – that is enough. Sending love.

  118. Callie says...

    My sweet Gavin was born this summer. I am a first time momma and am so thankful my husband works from home and my own parents live nearby and can be in our bubble. That said it is a challenge everyday to teach my son that there are so many lovely people in this world and that smiles are wonderful gifts when we can’t go many places and when everyone has to cover their smiles with masks. Instead we make do with dolls and stuffed animals while I dream of the day when I can meet friends for lunch with our babes in tow and let well meaning strangers linger to smile over baby coos without the worry.
    PS- thank you for a wonderful blog! I have been reading since before Toby was born and have saved many of the motherhood posts over the years!

  119. Brittney says...

    I’m currently bouncing on a big exercise ball at 38 weeks pregnant with Otto and SO ready to be done and have him here, but worried about having to get strict with well-meaning family who will want to visit right away at a time when cases are on a huge upswing in our state. Honestly so glad we can’t have anyone come to the hospital so my husband I can have those first few days alone with him, then I guess getting firm with COVID precautions to outsiders is my first tough act of many to come as a mom to protect him!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! You’ll be a protective mama bear, you already sound ready :) And I love picturing you on the exercise ball, I remember those days!!!

    • Brittney, also writing in from an exercise/birth ball (I’m also 35 weeks :) wishing you a safe and healthy delivery!

  120. Rachel says...

    Great timing for this post! I just found out—two days ago—I’m expecting our second baby. Our first, Josephine, is 14 months; I’m fully expecting COVID to be around next summer—how will I handle a newborn and a 22 month old in these crazy times?!?! Other comments from moms who are DOING IT are giving me a lot of hope.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Congratulations!!! You’ll be great, Rachel. Sending you all the love.

  121. Shay says...

    Sigh, yup, here we are! Our baby boy, River arrived mid-June. I was hospitalized at 35 weeks because of a preeclampsia scare but luckily I held out with only hypertension and let baby cook a few more weeks. My poor husband freaked out packing up our hospital bags alone with his pregnant wife sent to the hospital unexpectedly after a routine doctor visit! My husband was furloughed a month before River arrived and then called back in 4 days later, only to be furloughed again, luckily this time after he was born. The silver lining is that my company called me during my maternity leave letting me know they expanded their maternity leave to 16 weeks! My husband and I had the month of September together with River and now he’s full time Dad till the end of the year. It’s a LOT of family time but wow, what a gift to be all together for the first 6 months of River’s life.

  122. Katie says...

    Thank you for this; how kind! My little Eliza Kay, 4 weeks old, is asleep on my lap while I type this. I tell her all the time that she’s certainly been born into interesting times! Not being able to show her off to my friends and family is the worst part, because she’s just the best. And as others mentioned, after working non-stop for years, and finally being blessed with a little one, I had visions of a maternity leave filled fun outings, classes and travel. Now, we’re just grateful for a daily stroll around the neighborhood. I remind myself often that Eliza knows no different, and our job is to ensure her world is peaceful and loving, even if right now, the larger one is not.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, the babies are happy as clams, they know nothing different! They’re just happy with their loving parent/s. You sound like a great mom, Katie.

  123. Claire Pack says...

    I’m due Thursday with our first child- a baby girl. We are so so excited, but I’m also a little sad thinking of how different things are from how they should be. We’ve basically been home since March trying to keep myself and this baby girl healthy and safe. It’s a strange time for sure, but I can’t wait until we have our girl in our arms in just a few days.

  124. Susan says...

    My long-awaited, much-wanted first baby was born in late February, three weeks before everything shut down. I had so many plans for early motherhood: baby book groups at the library, drop-in childcare at the gym, swimming lessons once he was old enough. Instead we’ve done nothing and have been at home since March. Our state has no leadership and the caseload is high, so I don’t feel comfortable taking him anywhere. I worry so much about all of the experiences he’s missing out on. How different my life would be if I could take him to the neighborhood coffee shop in the mornings and just sit there and let him see people. All of our relatives live 7+ hours away so we’ve had very little support. It’s been hard. I expect it will continue to be hard.

    • Katie S. says...

      This DOES sound hard, Susan. Really hard. It doesn’t seem fair that you have to experience it. Sending all the love, resilience, and courage your way.

  125. Hannah says...

    Hi Joanna! As always, your posts make me feel seen and encouraged. Thank you! I’m a first time new mom to little Gemma (like your Gemma!) who is 8 weeks old. It’s been my middle-of-the-night tradition to catch up on posts while she’s eating, ha! It’s been exhausting and I’ve been hit by an unexpected bout of the ole PPD, but have found sanctuary by taking tons of walks around the neighborhood, eating lots of Reeses pumpkins, and meeting some new mommy friends through some virtual mom groups. Plus, Gemma started smiling back at me this week! She’s a ham. COVID has definitely put a damper on things, but we are keeping our heads up and just trying to soak in this time, all snuggled up at home. Best to you and your’s, and to all the other little mommies out there. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Baby smiles! I’m sure she is the absolute sweetest. I’m so sorry to hear about your bout with PPD. For what it’s worth, I found out after experiencing PPD twice that there are medications like Celexa that are proven safe to take while breastfeeding (if you’re breastfeeding), so I wanted to put that out there, in case you felt like that would be helpful or wanted to ask your psychiatrist. That saved me with Anton. xoxoxo

    • Tricia says...

      Hi Hannah, congratulations on your new little bundle. Could you share where you found virtual new mom groups? Are they local to your city or can anyone join? I live in Philadelphia and haven’t found any virtual options to replace the in person classes I did four years ago with my son!

    • Hannah says...

      Tricia! Small world! I live in the Cherry Hill, NJ area. Right across the river from you! I’ve been going to a few of the Virtua hospital virtual groups. There’s a breastfeeding support group, and a TLC group for postpartum. I think this is the right link https://www.virtua.org/ClassesEvents?cTopic={47A3C879-247B-46A8-B700-80EE2F49EF04} – just email the person to get the Zoom link. :) Good luck, and maybe I’ll run into you someday.

    • Jen says...

      Hannah – I’m cheering you on from down the road in Hainesport, NJ (and possibly from Cherry Hill soon, too, if all goes well with our new home!) Sending you and your sweet Gemma girl so much love. You got this.

  126. Sondra says...

    We welcomed baby number four the day after the first cold case was reported in our state and have been in quarantine ever since! He was born with a heart defect which makes it dangerous if he gets ill. So, our family (which is out of state) has not met him yet. But, even though I miss everyone I do have to say that this was the easiest recovery and “babymoon”. It has been just my husband and the kids to soak up their little brother and I feel like, with everything cancelled and just the bare essentials happening, we have been able to bond and transition to a family of six with peace and calmness. It has been nice in a very unexpected way.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds like such a lovely nest, Sondra. And a family of six, congratulations!

  127. Jena says...

    Clinging to each and every one of these comments and my heart is right there next to all of you marvelous human beings!! <3

    I'm 25 weeks pregnant now with our first baby, a little girl we plan to name Blair. While it's already been challenging in a lot of ways (the social isolation, no one gets to see my growing bump in person, no baby shower) I'm remembering to be thankful for the flip sides. I was terribly, terribly sick for the first ~20 weeks and as my husband is a teacher he was teaching from home which meant he was around to make me any food that sounded good, bring me dry toast in bed so I didn't have to move too much before I got food in, and just to give me a hug at any time when things got to be too much. Plus, less money spent on maternity clothes! As long as I can fake it on Zoom calls, I'm good! Without COVID, that never would have been possible so I'm thankful for the silver linings.

    Sending everyone so much love!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, silver linings! What a great perspective during a hard time. Congratulations on your sweet baby xoxo

  128. M says...

    I’m so grateful for this post. I’m currently pregnant with my first child with my dating scan next week. I’m so hoping that it goes ok! My partner isn’t allowed to come with me but I am allowed to take a picture, all being well.

    I’ve read this blog for years and years, and I’ve recently been going back through the motherhood and pregnancy posts late at night when I can’t sleep. I find the insight and comments so soothing and helpful at this strange time when the world is upsidedown, and when it still feels too early to tell my friends about my pregnancy. So wanted to say a huge thank you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, that means so much to me, M, truly. Congratulations on your little one. Sending so much love your way. xo

    • Jena says...

      Congratulations on your little one!! Sending you all the love!

      I second this comfort found via Cup of Jo. I read all of motherhood posts from Joanna “live” at the time she published them and while I enjoyed them, as a college student, they weren’t something I took notes on. I’ve now gone back through and read every single motherhood post at least twice and find so much comfort, joy, and peace there. It’s like having a best girl friend!

      Specifically, thank you, Joanna, for being the first one I’ve heard say that baby books made you nervous. I was feeling the same but couldn’t pinpoint where the anxiety was coming from for some reason. I read that and it clicked — I haven’t been back on to a week-by-week guide since and feel so much more at peace. Instead, I’ve been reading Great with Child and just talking to baby girl in my belly!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Instead, I’ve been reading Great with Child and just talking to baby girl in my belly!” = awww, I love that, Jena! Thank you so much for your kind words, they completely made my day.

  129. Marion says...

    My baby boy, Levon, is turning 14 weeks on Thursday and I struggle to even have words for this time. The world shut down at the start of my third trimester and I was so sad to miss out on the late pregnancy indulgences such as massages, in-person yoga classes, and final date nights with my husband before needing to pump, find a babysitter, etc. I had a home birth, so it was more “normal” in some senses than if it had been at a hospital, but still, everybody was wearing a mask except for me and my lactation consultant visits and doula visits were all masked up. It all felt so strange and apocalyptic!

    I think the hardest part was having so much less support postpartum because of social distancing and quarantine. Friends were so generous in dropping off meals for us, but no one got to come in and hold the baby, no one was able to drop by and help with housecleaning or giving us a break. We didn’t get access to our community in the way I wanted and I think very much needed in those early weeks and there were some days that felt really really hard because of it.

    I say all this and also hold immense gratitude that I was able to give birth at home, experienced no complications, we’re all healthy, and I live in a state that has handled the pandemic really well allowing me to see a few other moms and friends on socially distanced walks. It just…should have been different, you know?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “It just…should have been different, you know?” Yes, I completely and totally get that. I’m sorry, Marion.

    • Marie says...

      Yes, it should have been different. God, how I wish it was different. Sometimes, when I feel myself spiraling a bit with anxiety (I had a baby on April 23rd), I picture the big reunion, ya know? The one where it’s truly over, the one where you greet people with hugs and kisses and they’re holding that beautiful baby boy you have with pure joy and bliss in their eyes. It will happen. Not soon enough but it will. Those thoughts give me a strength, they make me cry but they give me strength. I hope they do for you too.

  130. Chelsea says...

    Thank you so much for this! I gave birth to my first back in May, at the height of lockdowns in our state. We were incredibly fortunate that my husband was allowed to be in the labor room the entire time, but that was it completely. I deeply wanted my mother and sister there, a plan that had been in place since way before we even conceived. It almost all didn’t feel real, like I was in a movie or something, so surreal. After he was born, we spent an additional 4 days/nights in the hospital as he was jaundice, and we never left our little room. Truly it almost all didn’t feel real to me, it was so bizarre. How could this be happening now, let alone at all? Our son is 4 months now and we’ve been fortunate to have had some distanced visits with his grandparents, but as this drags on, my heart aches that he’s missing out forming a bond with them. Its been so tough, but I’ve realized a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, the complete love and partnership I share with my husband, and how supported I am by my loved ones. I’ll never take time with them granted ever agai.

    • Chelsea, my husband and I will be in the same boat for the birth of our first in a month- no doula, no Mom, no sister, just the two of us- terrifying but after what some women experienced in New York I’m just thankful he can be with me.

      Also, I can’t agree with you enough on appreciated our loved ones and the limited time we have with them. I had to cancel two trips to see my parents during the pandemic and miss them terribly. Thank goodness for Zoom hangouts, whatsapp and Skype, I’m not sure what I’d do otherwise!

  131. Olivia says...

    We just had our third, Zephyr, in June. It’s been easier in some ways as he’s the third, but harder in others as – as with your neighbour – our family back in England can’t come and visit us and meet him.

    We also just moved to a new area and it’s super hard to make friends with three babies and a pandemic and its accoutrements to juggle!

    Thankfully all the kids are very happy and unbothered by the goings-on in the world more widely, but man do I miss all the tiny freedoms I took for granted before.

  132. We are about 8 weeks away from welcoming out 2nd baby boy. I feel especially bad for first time moms who are going through this as the adjustment to parenting can be hard enough without a global pandemic! I’m very nervous about the winter months and the isolation. We live in MN so outdoor gatherings are just really hard to do with how bitterly cold it gets here. I’m hoping and praying for a mild winter! One challenge I’m dealing with is that some in my family are covid doubters, including my parents. So I started to see a therapist to discuss how to set boundaries/communicate our visiting policies/etc and how to not internalize comments I am going to get from family… Covid has been tough as I’m high risk due to immune suppressant drugs + pregnancy so to have my family think I’m being crazy/making a big deal out of nothing has made things so much harder…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds really hard, Lisa. Sending you love and strength as you navigate those family dynamics. An old therapist once said to imagine, during stressful family interactions, that I was encased by a big glowing golden egg of light and that their criticisms or comments couldn’t get through it. It was woo-woo but helpful! Thought I’d pass that along, just in case:)

      And big hugs for you and your growing belly. You must be excited to meet your sweet son.

    • Sondra says...

      Covid-doubters! That is my family to a T! Great idea about seeing a therapist. Mine has helped us come up with boundaries and alternative ways to allow family members to “bond” with the baby. Ours is almost seven months old and my family(from out of state) has not even been able to meet him yet. But, creative thinking (zoom meet ups, lots of photos texted or mailed, FaceTime chats,…) has helped.

    • Casey says...

      We had our first child in late August and the pregnancy was not what I expected due to our state’s shut down in March, not having any interaction with friends or coworkers, going to prenatal appointments without my husband, being locked up in our hospital room, social isolation and exhaustion from having a newborn (maybe this occurs even without COVID ;)) and now, family that doesn’t not respect or understand our visitor policy (until at least 2-3 months old, visitors who want to hold the baby must quarantine 14 days, or they can only visit outside and not hold the baby).

      It’s been so incredibly stressful and tiring on my marriage as we must have repeated discussions on why we have a visitors’ policy and the rationale behind the visitors’ policy. I almost feel gaslighted by my relatives over this. It sucks and it sometimes feel like I’m being robbed of this joyous newborn phase because of our relatives’ inability to respect our wishes and understand our point of view.

  133. Sonja says...

    Our daughter, Penelope, was born in May. She’s our second kiddo and our nearly five year old son, Leopold, is a dream with her. I am grateful that our bubble includes my parents and my sister/BIL. We’ve been anchoring our weeks with homemade pizza Friday nights and Sunday burgers and seeing my family has helped with isolation so much (both Covid and newborn alike).

    Seeing your loved ones love on your babies and vice versa is the sweetest, most raw feeling. I’d like to bless all the parents in the world who are feeling lonely for their family; may you breathe a little deeper today knowing that you and your little ones are so, so, deeply loved.

    And to all those who delivered their babies without someone they love to hold their hand, you are a force.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds wonderful/sanity saving. I love the names Penelope and Leopold.

  134. Janaki says...

    My baby, Iris, was born in the beginning of March, so she’s seen the pandemic through from the beginning. I have two pictures of friends holding her in her first week of life–and that’s it. Thank goodness her smile lights up a room, otherwise the endless pictures of her with just my husband or son, sitting on the couch would get pretty old. I think I am carrying a lot of grief that I don’t even realize day to day until something triggers it. The other day we were reading the wonderful book “Everywhere Babies” together, and when I got to the line, “Every day, everywhere, babies are held, in cradles, in chairs, at nap time and night, by friends and relations who cuddle them tight,” I just burst into tears. I’m afraid that by the time she’s able to be held by friends and relations, she’ll be old enough to walk right into their arms. I do feel lucky to be connected to my community in lots of other ways, but the grief is there.

    • Kimmie says...

      I read this book almost nightly with my 22 month old daughter, Lula. I’ll now be thinking of you and Iris as we read this page. Wish I could squeeze your little one and carry her around. The loss of this time is real. I’m so sorry.

    • Kori says...

      I feel the same about my son. My parents and sister live overseas and they’re missing all the cute baby stages. It makes me so sad too

  135. Kelsey says...

    I have a 1 year old. It’s been unexpectedly wonderful, mostly, to be able to watch her learn how to crawl, and walk, and now start to talk, even though it is also really hard. My mom is a nurse and can no longer cuddle her. It’s heartbreaking to see my daughter toddle towards Grandma in the backyard and they can’t touch. I have never taken my daughter to the grocery store, or the zoo, or the library. She sometimes sees other babies and children on walks and is utterly fascinated.

  136. Rachel says...

    Oof! What good timing for this post. We had our 2nd baby in June, and I thought postpartum would be simpler the 2nd time around, but it turns out it’s been so much more challenging juggling the needs of our 2.5 yo (Theodore) with our newborn (Margot)! Complicated by estate responsibilities for my Father-in-law’s death (not related to COVID, but it happened in March), the rest of our family being across the country, and being isolated from friends in a 2bdrm apartment, we are just making it day by day…

    That said, we are getting a little(!) more sleep, and trying to be thankful for small moments. We’re safe and healthy. We have a roof over our heads. And there’s always COJ for community & entertainment ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending you so much love, Rachel!

    • Carol says...

      I love those names!

  137. OO says...

    We’re expecting our first at the end of November. At this point I feel okay with the prospect of nesting through winter—it’s not as if we were gonna go out much anyway.

    I do mourn the fact that we missed out on a babymoon, shopping for nursery items in person, and going to our favorite restaurants/bars/the movies before baby comes. It’s like our lives stopped nine months before we were ready, and we’ll never get these last “before kids” days back.

    Still, I’m trying to count my blessings and mentally prepare for our next stage of quarantine (Quarantine 2: Baby Boogaloo). More than anything we are so lucky to have (sensible!) family close by who have been cautious enough that I feel comfortable introducing them to baby right away. Missing out on that would be the hardest thing for sure.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Quarantine 2: Baby Boogaloo” = haha, so sweet.

    • Fran says...

      We don’t have a newborn – my son is nearly two – but I did miscarry during the early weeks of the pandemic, had a D&C and subsequently became pregnant again. I’m now nearly 17 weeks. Sometimes this timeline serves as my reminder how long this pandemic has been around! The hardest thing has been to deal with my anxiety related to repeat miscarriages in the context of the pandemic, where my partner was not allowed to any appointments, I was looking for sympathy and reassurance from medical staff (who at the best of time often don’t have great “anxiety bedside manner”) but they were rushed and hidden away in masks. So many appointments filled with fear where I was sweating and crying into my mask alone. I’m glad the worst is now over and this baby seems to be doing great so far. Thinking of everyone who has been left feeling isolated and lonely because of the pandemic.

  138. Annalise says...

    My sweet son Wells Benjamin turned 5 months old when the pandemic hit and at the same time I was let go of a job that I’d just returned to from mat leave. Everything changed overnight. I became a stay at home Mom in what felt like seconds and I felt myself grappling with this new reality while the world was also grappling with its new reality.

    It has in so many ways made a raw, grueling, and isolating chapter of life that much more of those things… However, it has changed me for the best. I so acutely feel the preciousness and privilege of this time with him and really seek to soak it all up.

    There are things I miss and wish I had like more Mom friends, the stimulation from my professional life, etc. But I keep surrendering to the belief that I am right where I should be, and that is here with Wells.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wells, what a beautiful name. That sounds like a really intense transition; I can see why you’d feel thrown for a loop. So glad you are getting through it and soaking up your sweet baby xoxoxo

    • Lynn-Holly says...

      Hi Annalise, thanks for sharing! My son Benjamin Terry was 4.5 months old when the pandemic hit, and something similar happened to me with work… My old job got rid of my role but offered me a new one. However, the new one didn’t have the flexibility I wanted (I wanted to work two days a week from home, and now, ironically, everyone in that organization works from home.) so I got a new job. I was so so excited about this new job! It had the flexibility I wanted, so I’d get time with Benjamin, but also was in an industry I was very excited to work in. My start date was March 19th, and the bottom of the world basically fell out on March 13th. So, a new baby, and a new job that never happened, and now suddenly a stay at home mother. All of that to say, I so so feel what you wrote.

      I keep telling myself- give space to mourn the loss of a dream, but then, adapt and grow. Looking at all of the things growing outside (my son and I spend a lot of time in Central Park) helps me envision this.

      Grace and peace to you and your son! I wish you the space to process all of the changes, and also the joy and strength to adapt and grow.

  139. Tali says...

    This one really hit home…thank you for this. Our baby boy was born in January, but just as we hit the 8-week moment, when you (naively) think to yourself “oh, we we totally got this,” they enforced the stay-home advisory. I had so many plans for the last stretch of my maternity leave – mommy and me classes, coffee-shop dates with other mamas, and of course meeting all of our extended family who is in Israel. All I could think of was, “i’ve been quarantining with these two – babe and dad – for the last two months since he was born, winter baby you know, what are we going to do???” Now, seven months later, of course I am grateful for this time, and the fact that I got the extended “maternity leave” I was craving for. Seeing your baby develop and thrive so closely is a real unexpected gift. But I can’t help but think of everything he’s deprived of … playing with his cousins, having his grandmothers smother him with love; he’s been mostly sheltered from the outside world. Parenthood has been a surreal experience from the get go, but this has definitely risen it to a whole other level.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      This makes so much sense, Tali. It’s such a hard situation, yet there are silver linings. In the future, I can’t wait until he has a chance to have his grandmothers smother him with love; what a sweet vision. <3

  140. Rachel says...

    Wanted to share a tiny silver lining in all of this madness/sadness…

    I’m a midwife and the one positive I’ve seen from COVID and postpartum is that new parents are taking it easier. While the social isolation is brutal, the time at home and quietness of SIP can be so helpful to new parents as they recover from delivery and get to know their new baby. At my hospital, the postpartum nurses are telling me that new parents seem better rested and are having more success with breastfeeding with out a constant stream of visitors.

    I’m in no way saying I would choose this for any new parents, but looking for the positives where possible.

    And yay for meal trains (the best thing for anyone with a big change in their life), outside visits, and FaceTime!

    • Ness says...

      That is reassuring! I am 34 weeks pregnant and definitely feel staying home and working from home have been (at least physically) beneficial to my pregnancy.

    • Orlaith says...

      I agree Rachel. We had our gorgeous first 9 week old son called Tom at the start of August. We’re still breastfeeding which I’m so happy about and I think this strange time has helped me focus on it more. Usually I’d be an up and out type of person, joining everything, which may have distracted me from the task in hand but with all the time in the world it has helped give me the time to stick with it and hopefully continue for the first 6 months. Also my husband working from home has given Tom invaluable time with his dad that he would not have gotten in normal times. It was hard 5 nights in hospital with only two hour visits a day from my husband, it’s hard only being able to have zoom support and interactions with people, it’s hard not having had our siblings and my dad meet our little boy yet and as we’re heading into a second wave and potentially more restrictions (I’m in Ireland) it might be some time before they meet him. There are pros and cons of these uncertain times, but if I didn’t focus on the positives I think it would be more difficult to navigate this time.

  141. Molly says...

    Baby Rosie was 12 days old when we started sheltering in place. In the weeks that followed, she presented with colic and I presented with PPD and PPA. She’s 7 months now and while things have gotten so much better than those early days of COVID with no tests, no knowledge, and just frenzy, I look at her and wish she could go on a swing at the playground, see the smiles underneath the masks, that she could be held by her grandpa, her uncles, her aunts, her cousins, my girlfriends. My mom died a few years ago so I wrapped myself up in the idea that a village of family members would help me raise her. There is so much grief in not having that for both of us. But we’re lucky on so many fronts. She is healthy and happy and we are finding our way learning how to be parents for the first time during a global pandemic. I have so much respect and love for all the other parents doing this, especially the ones who started their parenthood journey in the early days of COVID.

    • Laura says...

      Molly, that is so hard. My first was so colicky and the mom group I was part of was a lifeline during those first few months. I’m so sorry you are unable to take advantage of those types of outlets due to COVID but want you to know you are doing such a good job, mama. Keep up the good work. xo

    • Sondra says...

      Congratulations! Our son was born the day after our state reported its first case- a doctor at the hospital I delivered at! I know what you mean about looking forward to a village and then being left with….nothing. Also, I know what you mean about feeling both thankful for good health, but sad at the circumstances. I feel the same way!

    • Ash says...

      I’ve read all the comments so far and want to send so much love to all of you. This is so hard in every way imaginable.

      I chose not to share my pregnancy, or our baby on our social media accounts. It was a choice that over a year ago, I was very firm on despite our family pressing to do otherwise. I know this is hard for many to understand but I wasn’t in a place emotionally where I felt like celebrating my pregnancy with the world. I had just landed my dream job, and taking a year long maternity leave (Canada) wasn’t part of the immediate plan. On top of that, I so wanted our daughter to have a choice when it comes to her information being shared online.

      Now with lockdown and my choice not to share, I have an 7 month old that only a handful of people have ever seen or met and that is incredibly hard. Many people don’t even know I had a baby! No one is gushing over my baby and oh how I miss that. I wanted to wait to have a shower until she arrived so we could invite friends to meet her, only to have that cancelled as COVID swept across the country. Then to top it off, another couple in our very small community chose the very same name as us for their daughter this past month because well, they didn’t even know our daughter existed. It sucked. At times I think maybe I should just post it all, get some positive feedback, some likes, share the super cute outfit, etc. but I know that if it wasn’t for this pandemic that’s not what I would want and not what I want for her long term.

      We have barely left home, and struggled with family and friends who haven’t been kind about our decision to stay fairly isolated. I feel like I am constantly walking this thin line between safely letting people see her, and a lot of family drama if we refuse. I’m mourning what motherhood was supposed to look and feel like, what the life I had looked like, and what the future for my sweet girl might look like. Oh it’s just so heavy. I’m mourning all the things I thought this time would be.

      On top of all of this, we had horrible colic the first three months. It took everything in me to stay sane and keep us both going. A friend later told me that this phase of newborns is coined 100 days of hell, and that was so accurate for us. There was no one to provide an extra set of hands, or a break once my husband went back to work after the birth and it was mentally and physically exhausting.

      But all of that being said – I just have to look at my sweet babe, sleeping beside me and remember that babies will fit into whatever space is here. It doesn’t matter how chaotic the world is, they will arrive and fill that space with the purest love imaginable. Babies just fit.

  142. Nikki says...

    I’m not a super new mom, but I have a 15 month old daughter named Cecilia. I was looking forward to doing a ton of stuff with her this spring/summer- swim lessons, tons of playground time, and going to cute classes and meeting up with friends who have little ones. I was just starting to take her places when this all happened. It sucks.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, that really does suck. I’m so sorry, Nikki.

  143. Molly Gregory says...

    We have a 2 month old, Maeve who is absolutely the most amazing thing about 2020. My husband is an essential worker, but I was looking forward to a calm and peaceful maternity leave. Exactly a week after she was born a hurricane came through the area and flooded our finished basement. A week later, our refrigerator stopped working so we spent 2 weeks living out of coolers (delivery issues due to covid). Then, my 3yr old son’s daycare had a positive case so he was home quarantining for 2 weeks. My maternity leave was anything but peaceful. Thank goodness I had baby snuggles to get me through!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a list!!! that’s just SO MUCH. sending you love, Molly. the name Maeve is lovely. (I remember loving the author Maeve Binchy when I was a teenager.)

  144. AG says...

    Thanks for asking, Joanna. Though I’m still 1.5 weeks away from my due date feel isolated, too. I’m a first timer and haven’t been able to take any birth, newborn, prenatal yoga, or breastfeeding classes in person or, as your friend mentioned, meet any other (soon to be) moms. I can’t even tour the hospital! I also feel I missed out on the final months of freedom with my husband, friends, and family (and feel WAY GUILTY about that.)

    Thanks again for letting me vent! Best wishes to us all! ❤️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      vent away!! these times are tough (understatement). I’ll be thinking of you during these next couple weeks <3 <3 <3

    • JS says...

      AG, I had my first baby in June. We live in New Orleans where everything got shut down in March—and I was feeling exactly like you. It was so scary not being able to tour the hospital and so isolating to go through the end of my pregnancy/beginning of my daughters without any friends or family around. One silver lining was the amazing nurses at our hospital. My husband couldn’t leave the premises and no visitors were allowed, but I feel like the nurses went above and beyond to make us feel safe, celebrated, and supported. I’m hoping the same positive experience for you too! Also, I had some socially-distant outdoor visits from close friends. I couldn’t hug them, and they couldn’t hold the baby, but just seeing them and sharing our daughter (from afar!) brought joy. Sending hugs—you’re going to do great and your baby is so lucky to have you. ?

    • AG, I am due in November and I feel you so much on this one. The one that hurts the most is a planned babymoon with my parents in Florida; I haven’t been to the family vacation spot in 7 years and was so excited to see my Dad for the first time since I found out I was pregnant. I was so crushed to have to cancel the trip. Not meeting other Moms has also been hard since this is my first one! Wishing you a safe and healthy delivery <3

    • Sarah says...

      I’m six days from my due date, AG! And also a first time mom, also feeling isolated. I’ve taken online courses on childbirth and breastfeeding and baby sign language, but it doesn’t feel the same. My husband and I moved in January, got pregnant right away, and then everything closed down, so we haven’t made any friends in our area. I was really hoping to meet some local people through birth prep classes and groups for new parents. And don’t get me started on how to talk to our families about whether/when they’ll be allowed to visit after the baby arrives!

      Whew, guess I needed to vent, too. Best of luck to you with your delivery, and may things return to (somewhat) normal soon enough that our babies won’t remember this time of masks, virtual interaction, and constant hand sanitizing!

    • efitz says...

      AG, I’m in the same boat, and it’s been really demoralizing at times. As a first time mom (due December 2020), I too have longed to participate in classes and activities that would ordinarily provide a level of support and community that are completely lacking in an age of social distancing. I realized recently that I’ll have gone my entire pregnancy without seeing many friends and family members at all, and the next we meet in person, I’ll be showing up toting a baby. Life will be so different, and the transition period will have been a blur of isolation. It’s surreal.

  145. Ashley says...

    Thank you so much for this post. I had my second baby, a girl, on January 31st. I actually remember back in early February, while breastfeeding round the clock, starting to really pay attention to the news of this unknown virus in Wuhan, China, and how it seemed inevitable that it would come to the United States. I became so overwrought with anxiety that somehow we’d become infected and something terrible would happen to our new baby girl (who was a product of IVF after 3 miscarriages). Our older son was in preschool, but in mid-March, after many sleepless nights wondering if we were jeopardizing the health of our newborn by keeping him in school, we withdrew him. My maternity leave was very different than I imagined–instead of getting to know my newborn, I was breastfeeding her while trying to pay attention to her brother, who was experiencing serious regression from being pulled out of school and forced to hang out with his parents and a newborn. We lost my grandmother to COVID-19 in mid-April, so, although she knew that I gave birth and saw pictures, she never got to meet her second great-grandchild. My sisters, who live in two totally different parts of the country, far away from me, still haven’t met their niece in person. I didn’t think this was a huge deal at first, until they expressed how sad they were not to be able to hold her as an infant. They probably will not meet her until she’s a toddler, which is sad. However, we are all healthy for now, and whenever I feel scared or sad, I think about how our daughter has brought SO.MUCH.JOY to our lives, especially during this time of quarantine. I don’t know how I would be if we were still doing rounds of IVF or experiencing miscarriage, so for those of you experiencing that and other losses, I see you and am so sorry.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Ashley. I can’t imagine how many different emotions you’re feeling during this time. It’s a LOT on your shoulders. I’m also so sorry for the loss of your grandmother.

      And how wonderful that your daughter has brought so much joy; she and your son sound like they are deeply loved.

      PS January 31st is my birthday! I always loved it because you could get the present that you didn’t get on Christmas, haha.

  146. Katrina says...

    My baby Sylvie was born early in January, and we had barely started venturing out of the newborn phase stupor when we had to self-quarantine. I had been so looking forward to feeling like a human again — joining some mommy groups, showing off my baby to friends, going on a date with my husband, ordering a cocktail, booking a massage, going camping. She’s almost 9 months and she fills our days with joy, but I wish we could share her. Video chats just aren’t a substitute.

    We were supposed to fly across the country to see our families in the spring. Now only a handful of them have been able to meet her, always through a glass window or from 10 feet away unless they can completely self-isolate for 2 weeks. I’ve been terrified that our parents or grandparents are going to get sick and will never meet her. Her great-grandmother (who she’s named after) did end up passing away mid-September. We would send her pictures and videos and every time she’d write back that she couldn’t wait to hold her and hug her. My heart is broken.

    The greatest relief is that my husband can work from home most days. He is getting so much more time to bond with her. And in the midst of the monotony of our daily lives, Sylvie is changing every day. I’m convinced that her first giggles brought me joy more powerful than they would have if the world wasn’t crashing down around us. Every night we sing her “What a Wonderful World” and hope that I’ll be able to really show it to her one day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, picturing you singing her “What a Wonderful World” every night is so moving. You sound like you’re doing an amazing job, Katrina. I’m so sorry for the shitshow that is the world right now! PS I love the name Sylvie.

    • Molly says...

      Tears, Katrina! I resonate with so much of this. And I sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” every night to my 7 month old, hoping that she sees the beauty on the other side of this soon.

    • Tali says...

      Katrina – I have a January baby too, my first, a baby boy named Ethan. I completely related to everything you wrote. Our entire family, both my husband and I, is based outside of the U.S. including my only grandmother who is now 97 years old. Thankfully she’s doing pretty well, but of course, I am so saddened to think she might not be able to meet Ethan.

  147. Nadia says...

    This is me right now. Literally, with my little one in my arms fighting sleep (a new not-so-fun trend that picked up last week), as I type this. I am so lonely! We’ve extended our bubble to include our parents – (my mom has been such a big support!) – and I know we are lucky to have even done that. But, I miss my people! I am a first time mom, and this feels like the most life-changing moment of my adulthood and I want my friends and family to be a part of it.
    <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, I totally get that. What’s your baby’s name? xoxo

    • Nadia says...

      Enrique! Named after his great grandfather
      <3 <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that!!!

  148. Floortje says...

    Oh it’s HARD. My first baby was born March 25th, about 10d after we went into lockdown where i’m at. The pandemic means that my baby hasn’t met any relatives, except for his grandmothers who were here for a few weeks in the beginning (and we are so grateful for that!). We have zero perspective that this will change anytime soon -we’re in the US and on visas, leaving to go visit family will possibly mean we cannot come back. I am barely holding it together as we are and only thinking of the upcoming holidays makes me SO SAD. We knew moving to a different country meant not being close to family, but we always figured we were “just” a flight away. That situation alone is hard, but having a baby in the mix makes it just so much harder and nobody not in this situation “gets” it.
    PLease send me love and tell me it will be alright……….

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, Floortje, it will be all right! It sounds really, really hard, especially being so far from your family. I’m so sorry. Sometimes I’ll think of that expression, “You can do hard things,” which helps me remember that this is a tough time and we have to get through it — but it WILL END. Think how amazing it will be to finally bring your sweet baby to see all your family and friends. Sending you the biggest hug and so much love. xoxoxo

    • Kori says...

      It’s the same for me! I moved to Europe and thought my family in Canada were always just a quick flight away. Now I’m too scared to go to a restaurant, let alone an airport! Also, my parents aren’t even legally allowed to visit us at the present time! Covid please go away!

  149. Kari says...

    We are currently trying to start a family and while I’m so excited to hopefully welcome a babe soon, the idea of COVID isolation as a new mother has me worried. (Also sad about missing the less critical things, like a baby shower or going on a babymoon. Not crucial but still sad to miss out.) Looking forward to hearing about the experiences of new moms in today’s weird climate. Sending you all love, light and extra rest! xx

    • Nadia says...

      Wishing you the best in your journey! If it’s helpful to know, my friends and family threw us a virtual baby shower which ended up being so much more lovely than I thought possible! And family who wouldn’t have been able to attend in person were able to log on. It was a nice upside ❤️

    • Kari says...

      Thank you for sharing, Nadia! I can always count on a fellow COJ reader for a bit of encouragement. x

  150. Tricia says...

    My eyes filled with tears just reading the title of this post. We waited years for our baby and she’s so sweet and easygoing but I feel quite lonely and scared for the isolation this winter may bring. My mom is my dearest friend but she lives 9 hours away. She’s answered the phone anytime I’ve called in the last three months and I’m so grateful for that support, even from afar. Sending all my love to other new parents, what stories we’ll have to tell someday.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what’s your baby’s name? she sounds so adorable! I’m so sorry about the isolation. I wish new moms could form a bubble somewhere, like the NBA:)

    • Jen says...

      Oh, Tricia. Sending you so many hugs. I wish there was a penpal service so you could receive postcards to know that you are not alone. xx

    • Tricia says...

      We named her Isla. Thank you so much for this post, reading through the comments after putting my girl to bed was just what I needed today — almost like receiving postcards.