Preparing for Parenthood in a Pandemic
All expecting parents get to that chapter in the baby book titled “pregnancy and birth in a pandemic.” They read through and thoughtfully consider what steps they’ll take and then rest at peace, knowing they have a backup plan if things go south.
While pregnancy pandemic preparedness may get a chapter or two in baby books of the future, up until early 2020 the thought of pregnancy and birth during a global quarantine was the last thing on anyone’s minds. Now young adults across the globe are getting ready to give birth and become parents in the midst of one of the greatest health crises in history.
If you’re one of those parents — or you know someone in that situation — here are a few things to consider as you prepare to launch into parenthood in a pandemic.
Covering the Basics
Before getting too lost in the weeds with how to handle things like baby showers and emotions, it’s important to address all of the early parenthood basics.
Health Care Concerns
Right from the get-go, it’s important to state that you should stay in regular contact with your doctor throughout your pregnancy. This can ensure all preventative health measures are being taken and that there aren’t any alarming signs creeping into the picture.
The truth is, it may be difficult to see your doctor right now. Healthcare staff shortages were already a serious issue before the pandemic started, thanks to things like an ageing population and a rise in chronic diseases. Now, with all hands on deck to contain COVID-19, it’s harder than ever, and more dangerous as well, to step foot in a doctor’s office or hospital.
Instead, new parents should do their best to utilize any telehealth options that may be available. Contact your doctor and see if you can meet with them via phone calls or video chats when possible. Also, make sure to order those prenatal vitamins online, drink plenty of water, and go through all of the day-to-day motions that keep you and your baby healthy.
Along with using technology to meet remotely, it’s worth considering how to go about your birth in the safest way possible. Contact your local hospital and make sure you understand the rules about bringing a support person along with you to the birth during the quarantine. You may even want to look around for a high-quality midwife and consider having your birthright at home, away from all of the germs.
You’re also going to want to do your research and prepare for the postpartum experience. Pandemic or not, you’re still likely going to have to deal with swollen feet, stretch marks, and joint pain after you deliver your baby. Fortunately, most of these symptoms can be addressed right in the comfort of your home. Take some time to read up on how to go through the postpartum recovery process smoothly and with grace.
Personal postpartum experiences aside, new parents will also want to make sure they’ve ordered baby basics like a crib, swing, and high chair. Maternity leave should also be addressed with your employer early on, as it may be a bit complicated in the midst of so many people getting ready to return to work.
Make sure to get comfortable installing your car seat before the baby comes as well. If you need to upgrade to a larger vehicle, don’t despair. It’s actually a really good time to go out car shopping. Just make sure to consider things like crash test ratings, reliability, and space as you peruse the overstocked lots.
Coping and Conquering
You can prepare for the logistics all day long, but it’s also important to address the emotional condition that comes with becoming a parent during a quarantine. Many individuals are dealing with depression and anxiety right now, with so much fear and concern swirling on a regular basis. For new parents, these emotions are ramped up even further as they miss out on baby showers, parents meeting their grandchildren, and the overall emotional support that comes from those around us.
Missing out on things is a regular part of the transition to parenthood, but not on this level. As a new parent, it’s important to acknowledge and address these stresses and strains in order to help you stay focused on the positive, no matter what situation you’re in.
When you boil things down, the reality is that you’re about to start a very exciting part of your life. While you may not be able to have things perfectly the way you had imagined when you first found out you were pregnant, it doesn’t change the fact that this is an overwhelmingly positive transitional period of your life. Rather than stew over the negative things and focus on the ways that your situation is restricted, try to cultivate a thankful and grateful mental state. Take the time to count your blessings, utilize technology to stay in touch with your support people, and look for the good in everything.
Preparing for Parenthood in a Pandemic
It may feel odd, strange, and even unfair to have to prepare for parenthood in the midst of a pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of seeing things as “uniquely bad,” simply look at how they’re “unique.” Look for creative ways to embrace your situation.
As a final piece of advice, consider starting a journal as well. Write down your experiences and then keep them tucked away so that you can share them with your child once they’re old enough to appreciate how much of a light in the darkness they were when they were born.