By TMoM Team Member Kodia Byers
Isolated. Alone. Overwhelmed. Emotional. In love. Helpless. Hopeful. Changed.
All of these words describe postpartum, but being postpartum during a global pandemic? That takes these feelings to an entirely different level.
Our second daughter was born at the end of April via repeat c-section, shortly after the hospital declared no visitors except one support person due to Covid restrictions. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t mad about that. No visitors meant a tad extra time to “rest” (save for the 5am wake up calls from nurses ready to stick a vein or take vitals) before going home to an energetic two year old. I enjoyed the idea of not having to feel like I needed to entertain others from my hospital bed while pantsless and trying to get a newborn to latch.
Things with this recovery were, as expected, much different. With our oldest daughter, my mother-in-law and mom traded days and were with us around the clock for the first two weeks so my husband pretty much went back to work straight away. This time, my husband had four weeks of paternity leave and my mother-in-law, who had quarantined 2 weeks before my due date per my doc’s request, was able to come stay for a few days here and there to help out. My mom on the other hand, is a nurse and is on the front lines. She wasn’t able to quarantine so she didn’t meet her second grandchild until the baby was 7 weeks old. Thank goodness for Facetime.
Postpartum in the middle of a pandemic is surreal and I think that’s mostly because I know what postpartum is like pre-pandemic. In my mind, I envisioned trips to the park with my two year old while baby-wearing the little one, introducing the newest little bundle over brunch passing her around the table to friends while I sipped my mimosa. I hoped of downtown adventures to Kaleidium and Lill Dipper afterwards…and while a few of those things are slowly beginning to happen, she’s still not used to seeing a mask covering half of my face so terrified looks and screams ensue.
Throughout the entirety of my little one’s life, I’ve found it imperative to look on the sunny side. Friends and family Facetiming to check in, sending us packages with our favorite local provisions or leaving a meal on the front porch while the four of us look through the window to mouth “thank you” and blow kisses. My husband continues his work from home, able to eat every meal with us, making my heart explode while watching his bond grow deeper with both the girls everyday. My two year old asks every night at bedtime, “What was the best part of your day?” which forces me to find some glimmer of sunshine even if I thought the day had been a complete shit show and I was a total mess of a mom. Especially on those days. She’s the real MVP.
My kids won’t remember any of this. But I will. I’ll remember how hard I thought my first postpartum experience was and realizing that although I had been through the newborn stage once before, nothing can prepare you for postpartum during a pandemic. I’ll remember Facetiming my oldest from our hospital room to introduce her to her baby sister over video and missing her so much my heart ached and feeling like a piece of me was missing. I’ll remember her begging me to pick her up when we got home but because of my recovery I couldn’t so we sat on the couch and cried together. I’ll also remember watching her gracefully step into the older sibling role and protect her little sis from the get go. I’ll remember how thankful I am to our family and friends for doing what’s right by our kids and for everyone’s safety and health, whether it meant coming to stay a while or keeping a distance (no matter how heartbreaking). I’ll remember the extra effort people put in to connect and let us know we are loved.
And maybe most importantly of all, I’ll remember that we really don’t need much more than each other.
For other blogs about postpartum, click here.
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