I didn’t plan on becoming pregnant during what will probably be a very historical (albeit chaotic and crazy) time in world history. But my sweet son had other plans, and navigating the pregnancy and even the birth experience (now newly postpartum and this virus thing is still not “over”) has taught me many new things. If nothing else, I thought I’d document some of the “weirdness” for posterity’s sake; should women of the future want to get a peek into the world at this time, specifically through the lens of gestating and creating a baby. In hindsight, these times may not be much different than say, the Depression or even 9/11. Our world has changed overnight, and the story of a pandemic alongside pregnancy has been a new experience for ALL of us.
I’m sure there are many ways I could describe or discuss the weird, but will narrow it down to the key things that came up for ME. That said, as a midwife doing my own “care”, I very transparently did NOT encounter some of the routine “weird” things that most women did or will; I wasn’t refused care, or made to do tele-care for my prenatal time. Nor did I feel isolated or not connected to any caregiver, mostly because I chose to not have one. (And aside from this discussion as a pregnant woman, I did see “weird” changes in my midwifery practice which ultimately meant attracting more of the right kind of women, not a whole lot of fearful last-minute people running from the virus, and a whole lot of love and transparency around people that wanted to continue to work together, sans masks:)
The main WEIRD feeling that came up during my pregnancy was the collective fear. More than once, in fact many times, I experienced an unusual-for-me anxiety and I struggled for a while to figure out where it was coming from.
After ruling out personal stuff, it became clear that it can really suck being pregnant during a very fearful time in history , especially if you are someone that FEELS a lot. It was hard, no doubt, removing the collective and mainstream fear from myself and my baby. I felt like this pregnancy was more death conscious; not a bad thing, but also sad to realize it’s because this virus made mass amounts of people more conscious of their unconscious and added fear rather than an acceptance of death. Death is part of life but yet most people chose to ignore it. Whether you believe or don’t in the virus, it definitely brought up a focus on our mortality and what we realistically can and cannot do (and will and will not choose) to extend our lifespan. Not exactly the happy and blissful state you imagine for pregnancy!
Also related to the fear and death was an increased awareness on the other things we can control and that which we can’t. It’s hard to believe babies choose to be born into times like these (as well as past times in history which would be considered way more severe!) and that is something I really struggled with.
Trusting my baby and his timing but also being concerned for his future. What if he never knows life without masks? What if he grows up thinking it’s normal to not breathe the same air as other humans? This might fall into the fear category but it felt deeper than that; an awareness of the absolute transformation that is taking place in our world. Now that I am on the other side of birth and am holding him and getting to know him, I feel like I understand. I am less negative and more positive. He had the birth of warriors and clearly picked this time (his fantastic birth story is here). All my worry was my own need to control; the world goes on, kinda no matter what. A big lesson was separating my own trauma around these events (as well as past events; like living in NYC during 9/11) and trusting anyway. As my mentor reminded me; this time is like the towers falling again. We will persevere, we will recover, and we must trust that all is how it should be.
On a more positive note, I feel like world circumstances brought me even more into my power. I knew (and know) deeply what my truth is; and external circumstances didn’t change that for me. I felt SO powerful in my pregnancy; to speak and live my truth and for that I am so grateful!
As mentioned, for many people and pregnant women, this time has also brought extreme isolation and other issues, like depression. As a midwife, I will continue to offer care to counter that, and find new ways in these new times of supporting women in emotional and spiritual ways. New times require new tactics and understanding, and for better or worse these skills are requiring an upgrade at this time.
If I could give advice to other women pregnant during this pandemic it would be: stay positive, meditate, pray and get outside with nature! Talk to your baby and trust the process of these times, of this life. Infuse your pregnancy with as much joy and happiness as you realistically can produce; and just enjoy it all as much as you can.