Finding out you are pregnant can come with a full spectrum of emotions ranging from exhilarating to exhausting. But, finding out you are pregnant during a pandemic adds a whole new intensity that I’m not quite sure can be articulated just yet. While I am not currently pregnant myself, my heart has been heavy for expecting mothers with fear levels going through the roof. Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most blissful times of a woman’s life.
We’re over five months into this Coronavirus thing and it doesn’t feel like it’s going away any time soon. I can’t get down with the “new normal” because nothing that’s going on is normal. On top of all of the stress and anxiety that tends to accompany preparing for a baby’s arrival, here we are in the middle of a pandemic caused by a virus.
It seems like all that’s in the air is fear of sickness and death. Meanwhile, there are so many mamas who have found out they have new life forming in their wombs. This time is supposed to be filled with excitement and expectation, not panic and dread.
If you have found yourself here, pregnant and worried beyond belief—whether it’s your first or your fifth, please don’t allow this virus to rob you of experiencing the joy of growing your babe. I know this time may seem even scarier than normal but I want to offer you some HOPE and refresh your perspective.
The Lord knew before the foundations of the earth were even formed that you would be bringing a child into the world during a time when the world seems in total disarray. Can you just take a minute and think about what that really means? In the midst of all of the chaos and craziness, the Lord considers you and your baby important to Him.. He has you always on His mind. That just always blows me away.
He knew that you would be pregnant during this chaos. But rest in this: His timing is always, always perfect. He’s never a day, a minute or even a second late. He has prepared you for this even if you don’t feel like it. His provision goes before you, beside and behind you IF you trust in Him.
There is a reason why you are bringing a child into the world during this time.
Maybe it’s to strengthen your faith.
Maybe it’s to overcome some fears you have.
Maybe it’s to inspire someone else in your life.
The details may not be revealed to you during your pregnancy or even right after your baby is born, but He will make it known to you. Again, in His time.
Can I be totally honest with you? I thought that I would be pregnant with my second child by now. But for whatever reason, the timing isn’t right for me. And I’m having to learn to trust that God’s timing for me to have another baby will come when He’s ready, not just when I think I am.
It takes great strength to be pregnant or deliver a newborn baby in the midst of these chaotic times. But you don’t have to rely on your own strength to get you through this. And you do not have to fear. Tap into the Father’s strength and fall back in His arms and rest. After all, you’re about to face some sleepless nights once that sweet baby arrives!
Our God is not the author of fear. Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” I want to challenge you to set aside any fear, anxiety or worries you may have and ask God to help you take seek joy in each day to enjoy the season you’re in.
With all of the unknowns, it may bring you some comfort to prepare as much as possible before your little one arrives. Here are a few things you can do to bring comfort and prepare yourself as best as possible. As always, seek wisdom from the Lord to do what is best for your body and your baby.
Read scripture daily.
Even if it’s just ONE verse. I guarantee that this will greatly reduce any anxiety or fears you may be experiencing. Keep your bible by your bed so you can open it up as soon as you wake up. For those hectic mornings—especially if you have other kids or you’re a working mama—use the bible app on your phone. Check in with the Lord frequently with any worries you may be carrying.
Sign up for a birth class.
My midwife required my husband and me to take a birth class, especially with it being my first pregnancy. Even if your doctor or midwife doesn’t require it, taking a birth class can be SO informative and helpful in preparing. Many classes have canceled or gone virtual. While this may take away from the in-person learning element, look at it as a way to spend some extra time with your husband before the baby arrives. Set days/times that you all will go through the coursework and make a date out of it.
If you’re looking for an online course, one that comes highly recommended is Mama Natural’s Birth Course. I haven’t personally taken this one, but I know that I’ll be signing up for this one with my next pregnancy. Evidence Based Birth also has a free Birthing in the Time of COVID-19 series on Youtube.
Inform yourself and stay up to date on your hospital’s rules and regulations.
Regulations all vary by institution and are constantly changing so staying knowledgeable is key.
Find out who can be in the room with you. Many hospitals are limiting this to one person—your spouse or main support person. If you are planning to have your mom or someone else in the room for support, find out if there are ways to virtually bring them in. Also, if you were planning to have a doula or a birth photographer present, look into any adjustments that need to be made. Many doulas have begun offering their services virtually.
If you test positive for covid, the hospital will take certain precautions. Please check whether your hospital is implementing separation procedures and consider decisions you may need to make.
The rules are always evolving as new information emerges so depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, these may change as you get closer to delivering. Routinely check your hospital’s website and check-in with your provider.
Consider having a home birth.
Okay, I know this may be stretch for some, but hear me out. Studies have proven that home births are just as safe as hospital births. A large international study led by McMaster University shows that low risk pregnant women who intend to give birth at home have no increased chance of the baby’s perinatal or neonatal death compared to other low risk women who intend to give birth in a hospital.
I’m passionate about suggesting home births for low risk women—pandemic or not. With anxieties high surrounding the what if’s of pregnant women and covid as well as the ever-changing hospital policies, home birth might be an option for you to consider. Read about my personal home birth story here.
Keep your immune system strong.
If you are fearful that you or your baby are going to contract the virus, can I challenge you to shift your mind and focus on ways that you can keep you and your baby healthy?
Eat whole nutritious foods. Get creative with any pregnancy cravings you may have. Check your local farmers markets to purchase produce that’s in season.
Try to exercise 3-5x per week even if that just means a light walk. Get outside and get some sunshine!
Any anxieties and fears that try to entertain or take over your mind, take these captive and give them to God. Stress can weaken your immune system leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections and frequent illnesses.
Keep your mind fixed on things above and your worries will quickly fade away.
Avoid the news and limit social media.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ll keep it simple. There’s nothing good on the news and social media just echoes that. These times can be isolating, but try keep boundaries on social media.
News stations are all about reporting case numbers and death numbers. There’s a ton of controversy surrounding the accuracy of these so it’s best to just keep your mind off of them. It can cause fear to creep in so quickly and that’s the last thing you need right now, mama.
Have a good support system.
Share with your husband any fears or concerns you might be having and let him know what he can do (or not do!) to keep you at ease.
Let some of your close family members and friends know you’d appreciate it if they check in on you every once in a while.
Find out if your city or town has any support groups. While in person meetings might not be an option at the moment, many areas have facebook groups that host virtual events and provide a space for other like minded mamas.
If you’re choosing to breastfeed, cloth diaper or anything more specific like this, there are tons of support groups out there too. A really great breastfeeding support group I highly recommend is the Kellymom Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook.
Stock up on your supplies.
No, I’m not saying to go hoard toilet paper. Just take this time to ensure you have all the essentials you need and maybe a little extra to eliminate having to send your husband out on a last minute run to the store.
Make sure you have all you need for your hospital bag (or home birth supplies) and a really good diaper stash. A few weeks before your due date, consider prepping some food in bulk to keep in your freezer stocked with quick and easy meals.
As I am no medical expert I don’t want to speak of anything formally here. If you have any concerns at all about handling pregnancy during a pandemic the best thing you can do is speak to a medical professional. Whether that is your doctor, antenatal unit, midwife or another trusted person. They will know how to help and have all the best advice for your individual needs.