As hard as this new normal is, I just keep thinking of you, new mamas and mamas-to-be. In your house with your growing belly or new baby, isolated in a world that looks a little different than it did even last week.
If you are pregnant, maybe you had to cancel your baby shower. Gone are your plans to go with your mom friends to finalize your registry choices. There might not be a hospital tour or a last prenatal class.
Social distancing means no one can stop by to hold your little one so you can get a break. Chances are the dropped off meals have stopped. No one is doing your laundry.
You might have less check-ups, or anxiety over follow-up appointments - you might be relying on tele-medicine and faith.
Maybe you are grateful for this quiet time. Maybe you are scared. Maybe you are happy to be sheltered from the opinions of bossy relatives. Maybe you are dog tired.
But, you can do this. Continue to keep yourself and your baby safe. Remember all the things that stood for goodness and safety and love before the pandemic. Continue to do those things. Control what you can control like feeding, nurturing and safe sleeping.
You are not alone. If you have to give yourself a daily, hourly, minute to minute reminder to breathe, it's ok. We do to.
Go to Appointments.
Unless told directly by your healthcare provider, it is more important to continue with prenatal care than it is to stay home. Just remember to practice social distancing and talk to your doctor about any concerns.
And, remember hospitals are still the safest place to deliver your baby.
Make a Plan.
Talk to your doctor about what delivery in your hospital looks like during pandemic conditions. Talk to your partner about how you will handle childcare for your other kids. Make a plan for how you will cope with the possibility that you might have to deliver your baby without your partner or support person by your side. Agree on a technology you can use to connect while in the hospital. Grandma can't be there in person? FaceTime her in. And, don't forget to bring all the device chargers so you can have unlimited time.
Consider making a playlist of your favorite songs. Have photos and support objects packed in your hospital bag that remind you of the most important people in your life.
Trust that your doctors and nurses will be there for you each step of the way. Know and believe you are in good hands.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and you won't be either, dear mama. It's ok if your to-do list today is just loving and tending to yourself and your baby. Wear comfortable pants. Forget the bra. Be slow.
Make sure you are getting enough to eat and drink. Your baby needs you to be strong and healthy. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food - if you are breastfeeding this will help with milk supply too.
Talk to your partner about your safe sleep plan. Remember the safest thing you can do (always) is keep your baby close but in their own sleep space free of blankets and toys, and lay them on their back. Set up a crib or bassinet in your room and decide how you will stay awake while tending to your baby in the middle of the night. Prepare now and have those strategies handy - a good book, a phone for candy crush, an iPad for watching Netflix.
Call, Message, Skype.
Don't be afraid to call or video chat your people for support. Just because they can't be with you physically, doesn't mean they can't be there for you emotionally.
If you are struggling with breastfeeding, safe sleeping, managing other kids at home that were supposed to be at school, juggling all that comes with new motherhood - reach out.
Don't know where to turn? Message us. We are here for you.
Maybe you or your partner are frontline essential workers - a doctor in the ER, a nurse in the ICU, a cashier at Kroger, an Amazon delivery person. Your sacrifice is saving lives and your bravery is keeping us fed and stocked. It's ok to feel that weight. Cry, scream, laugh, love.
For those being asked to stay home, to teach your kids, to keep away from your friends, to give up precious time with aging parents, to bring your baby home from the hospital alone - sacrifice comes in all forms. Cry, scream, laugh, love.
As long as you are taking care of yourself (and your baby), staying home and keeping your distance - there is no one right way to pandemic. Just do the next right thing.