Maybe you can relate… end of February 2020 I hear rumblings that this virus, COVID-19, is starting to spread like wildfire around the world. I’m 9 months pregnant, with my 22 month old son at home thinking “that’s crazy, but it won’t impact me”. Fast forward, March 17, 2020: I go into labor and arrive at the hospital. My husband and I are questioned at the door regarding symptoms (remember I’m in labor!), escorted through the [empty] ER by security where we are met by another security guard that will escort us to the Labor and Delivery department.
It is a beautiful moment in our lives to welcome our 2nd child, a girl, into the world; and none of our family or friends are able to be at the hospital due to the quarantine restrictions. When we return home from the hospital the following day (they were encouraging shorter stays if everyone was healthy), there are no meal trains, or friends to help hold the baby while we engage with our son or take a shower, or nap. We don’t have daycare as those have been closed too.
We make the decision to include our mothers and my father in law into our “quarantine circle” for survival, as we cannot manage my husband working, me taking care of a newborn, and a highly energetic almost 2 year old alone [which is extremely difficult to admit].
When we go on walks outside, what would normally be a nice interaction about our new baby becomes a socially distanced skepticism about whether or not this person takes it seriously or wants to wear a mask. Going to the grocery store to buy formula or apple sauce is like deciding if you want to risk your life.
I return to work 6 weeks later to be a support to those that are also struggling with this quarantine on top of their every day lives. The one consistent thread amongst them all is, how long will this be our new normal, and I am unable to provide a comforting answer.
Juggling 2 children under 2 during a quarantine and working full time has been an art I never knew I needed to establish. We’ve been lucky enough to extend our “quarantine circle” to include a babysitter to come to our home. In addition to our emergency babysitter, the television (more specifically, Boss Baby). However, that doesn’t prevent my sessions from having the background noise of a toddler that doesn’t want me to leave or a baby that wants to be fed.
My purpose of writing this blog entry, specifically as my first, is to identify that we are all struggling together. You are not alone.
When I became a mom I realized there is this unspoken rule to suffer in silence regarding any failure you may feel as a parent. It is a terrible rule that I am happy, as a community, mothers are working to eliminate. However, many still do suffer in silence.
So if you can relate to my chaos during this quarantine, go for a walk, take a bath, drink your glass of wine, watch your trashy reality tv, read a book and be kind to yourself. We weren’t made to do it all.