Being a New Mom During COVID-19; Guest Post by Jessica Mihalchick
Becoming a new mom in general is a time of uncertainty, nevertheless during a worldwide pandemic. That was me. I was a new mom during COVID-19. Like many other new moms, I’m still finding ways to fight my way through this time.
My Birth Experience – Becoming a Mom again During COVID-19
JJ is my second baby so this is not a story of me being a first time mom. This is a story of me working my way through a new stage of motherhood with two small babies while the world felt like it was falling apart. This is a story of being a new mom during COVID-19.
Lily was my first and my daughter’s birth story is not too drastically different from what happened in my son’s birth story. Other than the fact that my epidural failed with my son’s birth.
I had my son March 4, 2020. This was about a week or two before my state shut down due to Coronavirus. During my labor, my husband got to be with me, I did not have to wear a mask, and I could have visitors. For all of that, I am grateful. They did ask me a set of questions that at the time I thought were a little strange. Now they are known as the Coronavirus questions you get asked pretty much everywhere you go.
I had my son at 39 weeks. If I would have even gone to my due date, my birth story would have been completely different. Shortly after the state shut down, the hospital had a few rumors roaming around. There was talk of expecting women needing to get tested, labor in masks, and not have a birth partner with them.
I panicked even thinking if that were my situation. To my knowledge, I do not believe my hospital ever went through with it. I believe they just did not allow any visitors and only allowed one support person in the room.
My Six Week Postpartum Checkup
My six week postpartum checkup was over a video call, similar to Zoom. It was strange to me that an appointment as important as the six week postpartum checkup would not be in office. At the time, COVID-19 cases were steadily rising so I tried to understand.
She asked if I needed to show her anything, and luckily I did not need to. How challenging would that have been to show my OB something I was worried about over a video chat?
Early Motherhood During COVID-19
Early motherhood with my son was vastly different from early motherhood with my daughter. With Lily, we had a big Easter lunch the day she came home. The whole family came so everyone could see her and hold her and love on her. With JJ, we came home to my daughter and stayed home. My family only saw him through pictures and FaceTime.
In a time that can feel so isolating for a mom, it felt even more isolated. I was recovering from delivery still and, even if I wanted the help, it was not worth risking my fresh, newborn baby’s immune system just so I can take a shower in peace.
When people are not making plans to see you, it is human nature to put someone to the back burner. Especially while you deal with other bigger things on your plate. For some moms, this is what happens. You have your baby, you come home, and usually, your family wants to come support you. This way you do not feel isolated.
With Coronavirus being as dangerous and widespread as it is, people were not invited over for big events. No one was coming over to make the “new mom during COVID-19” feeling go away. In that sense, we were placed to the back of most people’s minds after that first week. They got their first picture or FaceTime and went on with life. It was no one’s fault. It is just simply human nature. It is admittedly hard to remember that there is a new mom on the other side of town navigating newborn life when you are not talking to them every day.
My husband was labeled as an essential worker. After his two week vacation at home, he went back to work. Of course, this worried us seeing that the whole world was facing COVID-19 head-on and we were so isolated in our little newborn bubble.
We socially distanced ourselves from everyone. It is a scary thought to think of your fresh, sweet, perfect newborn getting sick in general. It is even more frightening to think of your new baby catching something as nasty as Coronavirus. It is crazy what you think and worry about when you are a new mom during COVID-19.
Social distancing is hard with a newborn and a toddler but, we got creative and used our time wisely. We started K2 homeschooling with my daughter, started a toddler book club, and made her a potty training treasure chest to pass some of the time.
My Biggest Differences in Parenting
With all of the social distancing happening, this really changed the way I was parenting my children. With my daughter, I was taking her to stroll the isles of Marshalls and Target. I took her to visit her grandparents often and many times my mother would come over and sit with the both of us or take us out to lunch.
This obviously, was not the case with my son. There were definitely no shopping trips and grandparents did not come see us or take us out to lunch. These things just simply, did not exist. My son just recently went in a story for the first time and he is eight months old.
A Better Mom
Though my parenting styles have been different, I think it has made me a better mom. I have been focused on my kids, my marriage, my blog and really enjoying and embracing all of the moments I can. Has being stuck in the house with two children under the age of three been a challenge? – Absolutely.
It is hard to work, find quiet moments alone, or make stay-in date nights without feeling like you are losing your mind a little bit. To get through the harder days (because, let’s be honest, we all have them) you really just have to focus on the positive. I know, I know, that is easier said than done. In the moments where your kids are screaming and you are already getting close to your breaking point for the day at 11 A.M., you really just have to close your eyes and breathe. I try to always tell myself “these will be the days you will miss thirty years from now,” and somehow that centers me.
During the moments that do not seem big or important, it is always good to try to remember that this is only a phase in your life and even the small things will be things you will want to relive when they are flying from the nest you kept them in for so long.
I’m Lonely and I Need Help
If I wrote a letter to new moms to give them all the comfort and advice I could ever share, I would always say to not shy away from asking for help. I know right now, this world makes it so hard to seek help, even when we are not a new mom during COVID-19. There are tons of Judgy Judy’s out there that have opinions about everything. Breastfeeding or formula feeding, disposable diapers or cloth diapers, bedsharing or crib from day one, screen time or not.
There are SO MANY different things that parents have to decide what is best for their family and we all know the people who can make it hard to talk to because of their strong opinions on one way or another. I think this fear of judgment makes moms scared or ashamed to reach out when they need help.
What is “Help?”
Help can be needing 30 minutes for a shower, someone to do the dishes, bring over dinner, or it can mean something a little deeper. I had postpartum anxiety with my daughter and it was HARD and I was surrounded by people all of the time. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are no joke and need to be dealt with immediately.
If you feel like you may have any sort of postpartum disorder, please reach out to your OB, your partner, your best friend, your mom. Do not suffer alone. Get the help you need to feel like yourself again. I promise I know how isolating postpartum mood disorders can be and social distancing can really trigger this for some women.
If you ever feel like you need to speak to the suicide hotline, call (800)-273-8255 immediatley. Help is available 24 hours a day and in multiple languages. Speak with a counselor now.
You Are Not Alone
There have been so many women going through pregnancy and birth through this pandemic, including myself. There are so many new moms during COVID-19. Search social media, ask your friends and family, find a group of people or even one person who can relate to what you are going through and the challenges you have had to face. No one can completely understand the fear you feel taking your sweet babe to wellness checks other than a new mom during COVID-19 in your same shoes.
Babies and children are so strong and resilient but, so are us mamas. Find your people and find ways to stay mentally healthy during this time of isolation. You are doing amazing and just know that there are other moms thinking and feeling the same way you are right in this very moment.
You are not alone.
Jessica Mihalchick is a work-from-home-mom to three babies under the age of four! Growing up, she never knew what her true passion was or what she wanted to be. Then, she had her babies and realized her passion is all things motherhood. She got to work and set up a business called Made 4 Mama Fitness. Jessica is a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist and is building a great online community to make mamas feel confident in staying healthy and active during some of the craziest body changes a woman can go through! She’s finally found her true passion and is excited to share it with the world. Follow her on social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to follow along with her motherhood journey, catch new health and fitness tips during pregnancy and postpartum, and watch for her continuous business ventures!
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