On Monday I’ll be 36 weeks pregnant. My baby is due April 20th and as the days go by, I realize more and more that it’s unlikely that things will be normal by the time he’s ready to make his way into this world.
This is definitely not how I expected my pregnancy to go, to say the least! As the admin of a large pregnancy group on Facebook, I wanted to take some time to shed some light on how the pregnant moms are doing through this situation.
Pregnant Moms are Scared & Anxious
A lot of Americans are scared right now, so I understand that it’s not limited to women who are pregnant. No one knows what to expect, but for a pregnant mom, the unknowns are even more. Some of the things I hear discussed are:
- Time off of work after the baby is born. Some moms are having to take off of work now as they near the end of their pregnancy to try to protect themselves and their unborn baby leading up to their due date. For moms who plan to return to work after having a baby, the necessity to take off of work a few weeks prior to baby‘s arrival means they have essentially started maternity leave early, many of them without pay. Moms are worried about how this will affect their time with their baby‘s after birth and how it will affect their standing at work.
- Finances. Many moms are losing wages right now AND lost wages are occurring with their spouses or significant others. Even moms who already worked from home are losing wages, either because people just aren’t spending money with their company right now or they are busy taking care of other children who are now home and they can not work as much. We all know that babies come with their own expenses as well. Hospital bills, basic baby gear, formula, diapers, etc. etc.
- Moms are afraid they won’t be able to get what they need. Diaper, wipes, and formula hoarders are making it tough for moms to stock up on these supplies before the baby is born. When they are available, you are often limited as to how many you can purchase. Most moms would stock up with a few of these items before a baby is born so they don’t have to continue to take a newborn baby out frequently to buy them over and over again. That’s often not an option right now.
- Moms are afraid of germs. And can you blame them? Most moms are planning a hospital birth and if their local hospital has confirmed cases of the virus, that is a scary thing for a new mom! There are reports of moms who test positive for the virus being separated from their newborn babies. There is now at least one confirmed newborn less than a month old who has contracted the virus. Moms are missing doctor’s appointments. They are canceling their appointments because the fear of catching the virus by going out seems worse than not going to an appointment. I recently read where one mom was skipping her ultrasound appointment because the appointment was at her local hospital and they had current virus cases there.
Pregnant Moms are Sad
I’ve seen it now quite a few times. A mom is pregnant with her first child and now she’s being told that she can only have 1 person in the delivery room. She has to choose between her husband or significant other, mother, or doula being with her for the birth. There will be no birth photographers. No visitors after her baby is born. Make no mistake, this will still be one of the happiest moments in her life, but it will not be what she once hoped it would be.
Pregnant moms with other children at home are being faced with having to change their plans for childcare for their younger children. In many cases, the grandparents who initially planned to watch older children can not anymore, either because travel was involved and they can’t do that anymore, or they feel the risk of exposure is too great to leave their home. Some pregnant moms are now facing labor alone while their husband stays home to care for the other children.
The friends and family they were excited to have visit with their baby after birth now can not for various reasons (can’t travel, afraid to be around someone who was recently at the hospital, social distancing, etc.).
How I’m Doing with All of This
I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. I try to look at the positives in a situation instead of focusing on the negative aspects. I’m very thankful that I had already planned and prepared for a home birth. I have had 5 wonderful home births in the past, so I already know what to expect. I can go into my labor not worrying about outside germs.
With 5 other children, I’m often up and about pretty quickly after giving birth. I don’t like to slow down and it’s hard to sit around for longer than a day or 2. However, to be honest, if we are still social distancing and waiting on this virus to die out when this baby is born, I’m looking at it as a good thing for me so I don’t feel pressured to find activities for my older kids to do or keep up with other activities. We will stay at home and enjoy those newborn days together, resting and relaxing as a family.
Do I have concerns?
Yes, of course. I’m hoping that if our family does get the virus, it won’t be right around birth. I’d rather just get it now and get it over with if we’re going to get it.
I worry about our finances. Many of my readers might not realize this, but the ads you see throughout blog posts like this help contribute to paying our bills. I may be a stay at home mom, but I’m also a work at home mom. I love to blog, don’t get me wrong, but I spend hours each week on my blog because it’s a source of income for our family. The costs associated with having a larger-than-average family add up quickly.
And while yes, people are home more right now and therefore on the Internet more and that’s a good thing for an online business, the bad thing is that companies are not paying to advertise with ads like they normally would. Everyone is scared right now, which means most Americans are only spending money on essentials. Charmin knows they don’t need to pay to advertise toilet paper right now and car companies aren’t going to bother advertising because your average American isn’t taking on any big expenses right now. The effects of the virus on small businesses are far-reaching. It’s hurting all of us.
And then there is the unknown for my husband’s job as well. Will they shut down our state soon and he’ll be unable to work? Will the continue to pay him and if so, how long? It’s the unknowns that are really scary right now. The things I have no way of controlling. I’m sure these are issues your family deals with as well.
I consider myself lucky to already have most of the things I need for our new baby. With 5 older siblings, we have plenty of clothes and baby gear for the little guy. I even have a stash of cloth diapers and cloth wipes I can use if we can’t purchase diapers.
My baby sprinkle was canceled and although I’m sad I won’t get to celebrate with friends and family, I feel worse for 1st-time moms who are missing out on their big baby shower day. Those moms were likely hoping to receive some of the big-ticket items they needed and now are faced with purchasing many of them on their own (at a time when finances are already tight.)
I’d hoped to head to Ikea before the new baby was born to purchase a dresser. One thing we’ve found we are starting to run out of with so many kids is storage space for their clothes. I love a well-organized house and it’s getting harder and harder to organize clothes with what we currently own. But now, I’m not sure if that will happen before baby is born. In the grand scheme of things though, if I have to make do with what we have for now, it will be okay! With everything else going on in the world, the lack of adequate dresser space seems trivial.
My husband and I try to get in a good number of date nights before a new baby is born. We’re lucky to live close to family who will help to watch our children. I was looking forward to one last month of some special time with him before a newborn, but that’s been put on hold now as well.
Still, overall I feel like any negatives I may be facing right now are nothing compared to what other people are facing in our country right now.
There are positives though as well to this whole thing for me, and I’m trying to focus on those. Being at home means I have more time to work on all of the baby nesting projects I wanted to get done. I’m working through getting my house organized and that feels amazing!
I’m also getting to spend more quality time with my older kids. I’m always wanting to play more board games with them and we’ve been doing just that lately. I know that life with a newborn will get busier again, so I’m relishing these slower moments with my other kiddos.
I’ve also had blog projects I’ve wanted to work on for ages but just didn’t have the time. For example, organizing recipes on this site so they are easy for you to search through and discover new and great recipes. I’m working on that! Hopefully, within the next few weeks, you’ll find that the recipes on this site are much better organized!
How to Help Pregnant Moms Right Now
Obviously I can’t speak for every pregnant mom. I can only share what I’ve heard spoken in the groups I’m in and from my own personal experience. However, these are the things I think you can do to help, even as you socially distance yourself.
- Check-in with her and just ask! Are you going to head into a local store early in the morning to see if you can find the things you need before they are snatched up? Reach out to your pregnant friends to see if they need anything. No new mom wants to worry about running out of toilet paper right after her baby is born. We’re also seeing a shortage of flushable wipes in our area — if anyone needs those, it’s moms right after giving birth! Ask her if you can look for anything she’s currently needing. You’ll be there anyway!
- Drop a surprise at her door. Lots of moms have needs and just won’t ask for them. Is your neighbor pregnant? Does she have a newborn? Grab a package of diapers or wipes if you see them in stock at the store and leave them at her front door. I promise you the gesture will be appreciated.
- Celebrate virtually. If you know a mom who had her baby shower canceled, talk to her about hosting something virtually. Thanks to technology, there are ways of doing this now. Ask friends and family to shop her registry and ship gifts straight to her house, create a Facebook group for shower attendees, set a time, and everyone meet together for a Facebook live virtual shower. I’m certain there are even games you can create to play online. Get creative! Mom can open her gifts live for everyone and you can celebrate that way. I know it’s not the same, but it’s something for the first-time mom who is missing out on this joyful event!
- Give generously. Do you have baby items sitting around you planned to sell at your next yard sale? Consider finding a mom in your community who could really use them and just gift them to her. It will help alleviate some of the financial stress she is currently feeling during this time.
This is a difficult time for everyone in our nation. I pray that your family stays healthy and that the virus dies out sooner than they are predicting!
If you’re currently pregnant, comment below and let me know how you’re doing and if I missed anything in this post!