The prospect of becoming a new mom, for a desired pregnancy, can be magical. With the positive pregnancy test, you start dreaming about what is to come. You set expectations about what pregnancy will be like as well as childbirth, the time immediately after, and the celebrations for every stage.
Your world becomes full of wonder and worry. You wonder about whom the baby will look like, what their temperament will be, etc. Moreover, you may worry about taking good care of your developing child during pregnancy and following birth. As such, you may be looking to get as much information as possible to help your child develop properly.
Meanwhile, you spend 9 months waiting for the big moment, anticipating holding your little one. Looking forward to the first big moments. Expecting to have your significant other, or someone special to be there for you and to support you throughout the delivery.
When something unexpected, such as a pandemic, happens it can derail all the plans you had and lead to unfulfilled expectations.
Now you may not be able to have the support you counted on from a support person during labor. Family members, such as grandparents, may not be able to see grandchild. Family may not be able to celebrate by visiting and supporting you after childbirth. The help and support from family and friends that you were counting on while adjusting to motherhood and recovering from labor may not be available. Becoming a new mom during a pandemic is hard. You may spend the first holidays of your child’s life in quarantine.
For me, it was my first birthday, I could celebrate as a mother.
It was my first Mother’s Day.
It was heartbreaking.
Let’s not forget the fear of potentially catching the illness and passing it along to your child. Moreover, the inundation of information and panic through social media and news is troubling. You may doubt everything that you do and the choices that you make for fear of making any mistake that could result in getting sick. The baby blues that typically are felt while adjusting to motherhood, sleep deprivation and changes following childbirth can quickly set in and overwhelm. You may feel alone and hopeless.
Should That Happen, Know That:
You are not alone!
What you feel, and your fears are normal!
Adjusting to motherhood can be difficult especially when lacking the support you deserve!
It is okay to grieve and talk about what you have lost!
It is okay to be happy and celebrate life as you enjoy your little one despite losses around you.
Likewise, it is easy as a new mom to try and deny any worries or concerns. Maybe you try to move on and do everything yourself. You do a disservice to yourself when doing so. It is okay to admit you are overwhelmed, stressed, and feel a lack of control over what is happening. Being a new mom during a pandemic is uncharted territory.
Talk with Someone You Trust
Talking about it with a trusted person and getting support can help you navigate and normalize a lot of those feelings. Through talking about what you worry about, you can get a new perspective and hope. It is also an opportunity to get help with some concrete tasks that you may be taking on yourself such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Talking to medical professionals regarding the needed care for your child can also help dissipate some of the worries and fears you may have. This could help you feel more control over proper care and safety measures to safeguard your health and that of your child.
Grieving the things that you have lost can be very therapeutic! It is okay to acknowledge that you are upset and disappointed that you have missed out on dressing up the baby in that cute little outfit to attend a family celebration. You were looking forward to showing off your cute little one to family and friends and are not able to do it in person. You may have been looking forward to the visits, help and assistance from others. This was supposed to be a time of excitement and celebration. Now the joy is mingled with fear and uncertainty. Only by acknowledging and grieving what we have lost can you move forward to focus on what you have gained.
When unable to go out with the baby to visit others, or receive visits at home, it is helpful to discover ways to maintain connection with others. This can be done through use of technology such as use of video conferences. Try to enjoy sending pictures, messaging, sending a gift, receiving a gift, and sharing stories and experiences. It is remarkable how creative we can become when we engage in problem solving.
Disconnecting from the media and avoiding overload of information (news) can also be helpful. Simultaneously, consciously looking for things that make you happy can help instill a sense of hope rather than despair. Do this daily. On the same note, looking for things that you are grateful for on a daily basis can help you maintain a more positive look.
Ultimately, know that You Are Not Alone, and that help is available. Reach out!
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Claudia is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist who helps couples, families, adults, and children utilize their strengths and skills to thrive. She provides her clients with the tools to help reconnect with their partner, work through family conflict, or help children overcome their hurt. Claudia specializes in treatment for trauma, blended families, and grief and loss.