Clippings: Pregnant during a global pandemic

TWO-YEAR-OLD IDA AND mother Elsie are excited to meet that new addition to their family. Photo by Oliver Parini

I’ve never felt much like one of those beautiful, glowing pregnant people. I hear they exist, but as far as I’m concerned those folks are unicorns. It’s hard work growing a human, and if some days I’m a little dull — oh well. 

At 38 weeks pregnant in the middle of April, what I’m thinking about is less if I’m glowing or dull and more about the swirling vortex of virus germs spreading violently around the globe. As if there’s not enough to worry about — thanks raging hormones — add in COVID-19 and pregnancy gets pretty interesting.

Gone are the beautiful birth plans we made with our doula. The visions of welcoming our two-year-old daughter into the hospital to meet her little brother — dashed. Yoga classes and mom-meet ups have gone virtual. Sanitization supplies vanished, and our once trusty Amazon Prime has become almost a joke with some obscure off-brands popping up. Simple walks are now zigzags as fellow re-creationists navigate the narrow sidewalks. And the loving support of friends and family… well, we can wave.

In spite of it all, this little baby is coming into the world, one way or another.

Sure it’d be nice to have all our dreams come true and for our new baby to be greeted by a dazzling, healthy world. But that’s not our reality.

Or is it?

One of the things that’s surprised me as we inch closer to due day is the recognition that all our dreams actually are coming true. 

Our doula has empowered us; our daughter is going to get to spend a few days with a favorite cousin stomping in puddles; video chats and classes are now normal; I dusted off the sewing machine and found some scraps to make masks and reusable bleach wipes; zigzag walks are more fun anyway; and, oh boy, this absence is going to make hugging family and friends (when we can) feel so good. 

As for Amazon… good riddance. We now have a local CSA delivering fresh veggies, eggs, milk, meat and bread. Our local bookstore does personalized orders and pick-ups. And, ahem, I haven’t made a single impulse online purchase in over a month.

But the biggest dream, the one that keeps everything in perspective, is that in a matter of days maybe weeks, we’re going to welcome a new human to love into this world. And even though, let’s be honest, babies come out wrinkly, goopy and not that cute — they have a special way of being perfect just the way they are.

Things may not be all glowing and perfect in our world right now — in fact they might be downright awful — but that’s maybe just the perfect time to reconsider your dreams. 

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