Pregnancy: Your Own Personal Pandemic

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The last year was a wild ride. Being pregnant in general is a wild ride. Being pregnant in a pandemic was 2 wild rides combined to make up a rollercoaster mixed with a dumpster fire. Going through both made these three similarities between the two become un-ignore-ably apparent. If you have/will have a “Child of the Quarn” or even if you just lived through your first global catastrophe- hear me out.

 

Connecting Differently

Being pregnant changed the way I related with friends who have not personally grown a human. Suddenly being immersed in a whole new world of baby registries & raging hormones- there were just some things that my best buddies couldn’t comprehend. And I don’t blame them! It wasn’t long ago that I was in the same boat, oblivious to all the bodily changes, new emotions or extra care & attention I had no idea I would crave once with child.

 

However, a whole new community opened up at the same time. A municipal of moms broke through via Instagram DMs, old Facebook acquaintances, & college buddies I haven’t spoken to in years. They all gave frequent (& much needed) pep talks or advice & were simply able to relate in a way that felt so refreshing. Suddenly a door opened to share experiences with other moms feeling the same feelings in a similar way that shifting the way we had to communicate over the past year changed who we were communicating with.

Duluth Zoom

Although it feels like an eternity since I’ve chatted with a chum in a coffee shop, in the meantime, I’ve Zoomed with distant family members that I’ve never actually met in person. Lockdown made us look differently at the way we could connect with others (thank goodness for technology!) & in some cases the ones we were connecting with.

 

All this to say, the people were here all along, but being forced into a new situation (pregnancy OR pandemic) made us find the new rhythm in our relationships. Whether it was weekly Skype calls with my parents, video chats with family across the country or exchanging nausea remedies with new friends- we were going through the same things & found comfort in commiserating together. Even if that commiserating was through a screen. 

 

The Loss of Normalcy

Over 9 months, everything I associated myself with was ripped away. My body didn’t feel like my own. My work ethic? Gone. Passion mysteriously went missing. My personality changed. All were things completely out of my control, yet desperately waiting to return to the way things were all while knowing that any chance of that would be replaced with a “new normal” yet not knowing what that would look like & having no idea when it would actually come to fruition.

 

Now that baby is here, life is completely different. Days revolve around keeping a tiny human alive rather than solely focusing on my own wants & needs. I’m lucky if I get an hour to do what I would’ve spent all day doing pre-baby. And mom guilt finds its way to creep in throughout that precious time. Any hope of arriving somewhere on time has flown out the window… I could go on & on. {Insert your own personalized scenario here.}

pandemic baby Duluth

Need I explain how this relates? 2020 and beyond stripped us of any & every social norm.  Visiting with family members, enjoying a meal with a friend, dating became hella weird & the simple act of GOING TO SCHOOL flipped upside down. All out of our control & all desperately waiting to return to some fragment of what we once knew.

 

As we inch toward what that may look like, the world feels completely different. Do you go in for the handshake? Do you dare throw a party indoors? How do you tactfully back out of a gathering you don’t feel safe mingling in? There’s an adjustment period in both of these scenarios to figure out what life looks like now. Have you figured it out yet?

 

The Silver Lining

Whether it’s a rough pregnancy, experiencing complications along the way, or a traumatic birth story- it’s inevitable that at least some portion (if not all) of childbearing is unenjoyable in some respect. However, in my experience (which was basically all unenjoyable I might add) welcoming this new life into the world was the biggest silver lining I’ve ever experienced.

 

The morning sickness, bitterness towards losing any ounce of who I thought I was, being left to live in this body that hadn’t & still doesn’t quite feel like my own suddenly doesn’t matter when a squishy human emerges & whole-heartedly is relying on me for survival. It all feels worth it. Like I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Maybe you feel the same way even if the entire road to this moment was something you swore you’d never do again. Just next time PLEASE let there be an epidural on my road.

post- pandemic duluth

While I doubt anyone wants to re-live 2020 & some may never want to push a watermelon out their vajay… in most cases I think we can be thankful for both experiences. Throughout the struggles, heartache, disappointment & hardships we emerged stronger, grateful, enlightened & full of love. Full of love for our little ones, for a sense of normalcy & for the people we’ve become in the process.

 

We were gifted a year where we HAD to slow down, take inventory of what’s important & maybe come to some really epic realizations about what we do or don’t want out of life. I was gifted 9 months of re-evaluating where my own self-worth lies. Spoiler alert- it’s not in my weight, my productivity or society’s expectation of success.

 

In the moment it’s hard to see beyond the hard stuff. But once we get through it there’s usually a valuable lesson to be learned. I found my own silver linings from being in a pandemic, being pregnant in a pandemic & having a pregnancy that felt like its own pandemic. At the end of the day, we can justify that (almost) everything happens for a reason. Even if getting there sucks.

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