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by Andrea Madril March 19, 2020 5 min read

31 Comments

If you are delivering a baby anytime soon, chances are you are experiencing some extra anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.  Healthcare providers are recommending pregnant women take extra precautions and consider themselves an at-risk population for contracting the virus.  As there is limited data on the effects it has on mothers and newborns, many of our worries are left unanswered right now.  What we do know is that our birth and/or postpartum experience will likely be affected in one way or another by the outbreak.  Expecting moms are altering their birth and after care plans as hospitals instate new rules that limit visitors and doulas.  And since we do not know when this will end, there is concern about how this will affect the postpartum period while settling in with a new baby.

After my 36 week checkup with my OBGYN yesterday, I had a complete emotional breakdown.  Understanding the recommendations to best protect our baby and our family for the foreseeable future overwhelmed me with uneasiness.  It is natural for the mind to run wild with worst case scenarios, especially with life growing inside of you that you’d do anything to protect from harm. 

At the same time, we know from research that stress and anxiety are NOT healthy for babies in utero.  Paying attention to our mental health in this unsettling time should be a priority for us expecting mommies and our families.  After some meditation and journaling last night, I realized there is a lot I cannot control right now and there is much to fear.  But I am in control of how I respond and how I go into this process emotionally.  Knowing I could have this baby any day now, I am making it a priority to recalibrate my mindset.  I believe this is a very important shift for me to make for the sake of my baby, my family and myself.

When working with the complicated emotion of fear, I like to identify what I’m afraid of, acknowledge and validate that it’s real for me, then create an affirmation to repeat whenever the worry rears its head (which it will many times, and that’s okay).  Below I am sharing my biggest fears about having a baby during such an uneasy time for society.  With each concern there is an acknowledgement and an affirmation that helps me focus on what I can control:  my mindset.  

 

Fear: My baby is or will be at risk.  Even if my family and I take every recommended precaution, others may not and my baby may suffer. 

Acknowledgement: It is normal and expected for you to feel extremely protective of your unborn baby in general, but especially right now.

Affirmation:  My family and I will do everything in our power to protect our baby’s health.  We will focus on what we can control rather than panic about what we cannot.

 

Fear: The COVID crisis will leave a dark cloud over my birth experience.  The current state of our society will be the main thing I think of when I look back on the time I had my baby.

Acknowledgement: It is okay to wonder if the fear and anxiety is all you will remember.  Both are powerful emotions that are especially heightened right now. 

Affirmation: I am in control of how I view and remember my birth experience.  I can choose which pieces of the picture to focus on when I look back at this time.  I will look for and focus on the positive and beautiful parts of bringing our baby into the world.

 

Fear: The Coronavirus crisis will derail my birth plan and my postpartum plan.

Acknowledgement: My birth and postpartum plan will not be able to go the way I envisioned due to the current pandemic.  It is okay to feel upset, anxious and worried about this.

Affirmation:  I am adaptable, strong and resilient.  As I surrender to the things out of my control, I will put my energy toward what I can control with my birth experience.  

 

Fear: If I contract COVID-19, I may be separated from my baby after birth.

 

Acknowledgment:  Being separated from Baby would be incredibly painful. My fear is real and natural. 

Affirmation:  Both Baby and I will be okay, even if this happens. I will lean on my support system, enlist professional help and do anything it takes to keep Baby and me healthy physically and emotionally.  With the right help I am capable of handling and overcoming anything.  

 

Fear:  My postpartum mental health will suffer greatly from having a baby during this troubling time. 

Acknowledgement: My mental health may be more unstable and require more attention than expected after having this baby, and that is perfectly okay.

Affirmation: I will get the help I need, take advantage of the resources available and come out the other side from this.  It will make me a better mommy to my children and a stronger person overall.

 

Fear: It will break my heart that family and friends won’t be able to come meet our baby for a while.  I will suffer from this lack of in-person connection with others.

Acknowledgement: This is hard for me as a social person who leans on her community for support.  It’s okay to feel lonely and/or sad about this.

Affirmation:  I will find the positives in this experience, such as how much time my family will have to bond with our new baby and with each other.

 

Fear: I may not have the same sort of access to amenities that can make the postpartum period easier such as in home lactation support, cleaning services, food delivery, in person support groups, etc.

Acknowledgement: It makes sense to be scared that the current pandemic will make a tender time of my life more complicated and challenging. 

Affirmation: There will be other ways to access the resources I need the most.  This time will give me a new perspective on what matters the most to me: my family.

 

*It almost feels inappropriate to write about how my birth experience will be affected by this pandemic when people are dying and losing loved ones. At the same time, I firmly believe every person’s mental health is important.  Being honest with how mine is impacted from this crisis is something I find necessary for the well being of my entire family. My heart goes out to everyone at this time, and I send my deepest gratitude to all the healthcare providers fighting at the frontline for the safety and wellness of all of us.

 

Resources for Expecting Parents Regarding COVID-19:


31 Responses

Charlie
Charlie

May 05, 2020

Hi, thank you for sharing- I couldn’t agree more! I’m British (37wks) and living in the USA with no extended family. We are seriously considering me giving birth alone so my husband can look after our 2yo- thereby limiting her possible exposure and bringing germs back to the new baby. Has anyone else been through this heart wrenching decision?

Angela Hofstra
Angela Hofstra

April 02, 2020

I cried when I read this. I’m 36 weeks pregnant and have been experiencing anxiety this week as things begin to become a reality of what’s going on in the world with COVID. As I read each one of your passages it was as if I was reading my own fears. I just can’t thank you enough, it’s a great reminder that we will get through this, we do need to focus on what we are in control of, which is our emotions. Bless you.

Kayla
Kayla

March 28, 2020

Thank you for this. I am 37.5 weeks pregnant and still working full time as a nurse in an adult ICU…. I’m extremely anxious and torn that I’m considered an at risk population but also an essential staff member. I’ve experienced stillborn twins and prior to that loss, a miscarriage so this baby girl is already our sweet blessing and COVID is truly an unwanted stressor to my already anxious mind…. I love this exercise of acknowledgements and affirmations for all the overwhelming emotions. Thank you for this!

George
George

March 28, 2020

Thanks for this. Good to hear of other people going through this. Welcomed our third baby on March 14th in New Orleans. The virus is growing faster here than any other place, and my fear is that if we have to go to the doctor, we won’t be able to. We are trying to be grateful for all of our blessings and remember that it is in God’s hands. Praying for an immunization or cure!

Brooke
Brooke

March 28, 2020

Thank you for this post. I’m 31 weeks with my third and have my moments when the fear comes back. Acknowledging the fear then following that with an affirmation is so powerful. You’ve inspired me to write it all down and get it out of my head and onto paper. Thank you!
It’s so comforting to know we’re not alone. We’re strong and resilient.

Meredith
Meredith

March 28, 2020

Thank you for sharing this! I’m 35 weeks pregnant and it just hit me this week how this is impacting my thoughts and pregnancy. It captured so many of the feelings I’ve been struggling with and how to focus on the positive with each. Thank you!

Meg
Meg

March 27, 2020

Thank you for sharing this. It captures what I am sure so many of us are going through. I just had my second child last week at 39 weeks. I was terrified, but despite my fears, everything was ok. The hospital did a tremendous job of caring for us and taking every precaution they could. We were not allowed visitors at the hospital which was hard, but allowed us quiet bonding time with our new baby. We are home now. Settling back in. It is hard to not see family and friends but we have been trying to stay connected with phone calls, face time and pictures. Sending love to you all!

Kelsey
Kelsey

March 27, 2020

Thank you so much for capturing the thoughts that have swirled in my head for weeks. I’m almost 36 weeks pregnant with our third (and last) and have been struggling with sleep, finding my center, calming my thoughts and you addressed so much of that in this post. All the luck and love to you and your family and the rest of those who commented here who are in the same boat:)

Michelle
Michelle

March 27, 2020

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am 26 weeks pregnant with our first child and have had an overwhelming sense of fear the past few days. I feel so protective over our baby but also so helpless given this current crisis. Your list of fears, acknowledgements, and affirmations have really helped me focus on what I do have control over and I plan to recite these affirmations and create my own daily now! Thank you 🙏🏼

Kayla
Kayla

March 26, 2020

Hello! Loved this reading as I’m only 20 weeks pregnant but I’m still fearful because I work in a pharmacy and we won’t be closing at all. Also my last appointment got canceled and we was suppose to find out what we are having!! My emotions are high as I don’t know what the future hold neither do I know the gender of my child. All my fears are in this blog and so much more. Praying this is all over before August 🙌🏽

Morgan
Morgan

March 26, 2020

THANK YOU!! I really needed this!

Elyse
Elyse

March 25, 2020

I’m 39 weeks and with the rapidly changing situation I was really struggling with my emotions. This article pulled out and expressed all my fears, and gave me exactly what I needed to work on shifting all those unhelpful thoughts. I am in such a better place after reading this, and can finally go back to focusing on my excitement and joy! Thank you!

Julianne
Julianne

March 25, 2020

Thank you for sharing this. I’m 34 weeks and totally unsure how this will play out. Even though I’m choosing to remain positive, your affirmations are very helpful and I’m going to write some of them Down.

Maryl
Maryl

March 25, 2020

Thank you; just thanks for writing about these fears. I needed this. ❤️❤️❤️Love to all you mamas 🌈

Jennifer
Jennifer

March 25, 2020

Thank you so much for this. I am 35 weeks with twins (my first pregnancy) and have been struggling since reading about some of the changes hospitals are making. It helps to know I am not alone in my worry and experience. Limiting my time on social media and news has also helped me to refocus on the excitement I was feeling before all of this started. Though still scared and worried, it does not take over my whole day and mindset.

Lauren
Lauren

March 24, 2020

Thank you for writing this. You shared many similar thoughts and feelings I have right now. I am 34 weeks with my first and have tried to slowly accept changes along the way. This past weekend I lost it and finally broke down. Thank you for sharing a way to manage our fears during this challenging time.

Kjerstin
Kjerstin

March 24, 2020

Thank you for writing this! I appreciate your honesty and reading through through this and all the comments has reminded me that there are a lot of other moms to be in a similar situation. I’m a nurse at a hospital and 31 weeks pregnant. My work is by far my biggest risk for exposure so I have been struggling with how I can protect myself and baby but still give back to my community as I take care of patients. I’m telling myself that maybe this situation is just preparing me for motherhood since it seems to be a lot about making difficult decisions to keep your family happy and healthy, embracing the unknown, and being adaptable. Hugs to you and your family and I hope you have a safe and healthy delivery. :)

Melissa
Melissa

March 23, 2020

I just had my baby at 32 weeks and 6 days due to a placental abruption and my baby is in the NICU for the foreseeable next week or two. Visitation guidelines are difficult and only my husband or I can visit her one at a time while the other parent has left the facility. Since my baby has very little immunity, I’m relying on the self reporting of others (other NICU parents who don’t want to be separated from their baby when they are critical) symptoms to keep her well. My husband and I are also scared ourselves that if we begin to feel sick that we wouldn’t be able to see her and this breaks my mama heart. We are left balancing the parental desire to be there for a little one and keeping her safe from illness (especially if we were an asymptomatic carrier).

Sheri
Sheri

March 22, 2020

My daughter is expecting her first any day now and is going to adopt a no visitor rule. It’s the right thing to do.New borns have no immunity at all. So I will not hold this little one till this virus is over. But she knows this child is loved already, as is she and her husband. She will have a story to tell her baby when the child is older. The child will not remember we couldn’t hold him at birth. He will know he is loved so much.

Chelsea
Chelsea

March 22, 2020

Thank you for this. I’m 39+ wks today with my first. I feel it can get very difficult not only stressing about the pandemic but also thinking about the life you will be bringing into this world and that entire process which you’ve possibly not gone through before. It becomes easy to think of all the bad things and they can start to out way the good. I’ve tried to come to terms with what I can and cannot control which has been very helpful. Try to stay positive. This is still a happy time for all of us – and still can be – we just need to keep doing our best.

Lauren
Lauren

March 21, 2020

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I’m so scared, I need to remember I’m not in this alone. Praying for all of you! This was definitely helpful. Thank you so much.

Rachel
Rachel

March 21, 2020

Thank you so very much for sharing this ♥️. I’m 24-weeks pregnant with my first and feel all the fears you shared. I was informed this week that half my remaining prenatal appointments will be cancelled to help limit my risk of exposure to Covid-19. I am doing my best to figure out alternative resources to help me remain calm and still savor this amazing gift growing inside me. Wishing you and all mamas deep peace and health ❤️.

Lauren
Lauren

March 21, 2020

This was extremely helpful and validating during this time in my pregnancy. You are not alone, and you’re helping us pregnant mamas-to-be feel less alone during this scary time. Thank you.

Kelly Crawford
Kelly Crawford

March 21, 2020

Hey I am not pregnant but I’m nurse working on a postpartum unit and I really truly care about all the mamas going through this difficult time. It’s so important to acknowledge your feelings. This post was vulnerable and real and I’m sure will help many mothers feel validated. I hope to be of service to as many moms as I can 🙏🏻

Morgan
Morgan

March 21, 2020

I just gave birth on March 16. And I have a 2 year old. It’s all pretty surreal and really difficult to stay positive. But we have each other and our health. My only advice is to stay in the present and try not to watch the news right now.

Bethany
Bethany

March 21, 2020

Thank you for this- I’m 33 weeks, with my 3rd babe, overwhelmed already. I’m also a nurse, but luckily taking this time because of the potential risk…. I wasn’t scared but in the past few days my anxiety has heightened. I finally admitted to my husband regarding my worries…. God is in control and we will come out on the other side!

Sheena
Sheena

March 21, 2020

I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first and all the fears you’re having are the same I’m having. It was such perfect timing to find this with some wonderful advice on how to get through this horrible uncertain and scary time. Thank you so much and I hope we all have a safe delivery and healthy little ones.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

March 21, 2020

Thank you for sharing! I am 37 weeks and work in healthcare; luckily an out patient provider and able to do telephone follow ups right now! We should never feel guilty for our thoughts. I love your affirmations! We all need to pray for everyone on earth and that has included our babies this whole time!! Living and growing for the past 9 months! Many blessings to you!

Libby
Libby

March 21, 2020

Thank you so much for sharing- especially the affirmations. I’m 38weeks+ and really struggling with all of this- including figuring out how to sleep at night- I do my meditations but wake up every 15-20 minutes, either because I’m incredibly uncomfortable at this point or because I have to pee- and then my head starts going down these rabbit holes of negative thoughts. Thank you 🙏🏼 good luck

Kate
Kate

March 20, 2020

Thanks for sharing this. I’m 34 weeks and tend to just ignore things I don’t know have control over but this helped me acknowledge that clearly I’m scared and overwhelmed by what’s going on and the unknowns ahead. Being honest that I’m panicking a little is helpful makes it more likely I’ll ask for help and put better systems in place. Good luck with everything. Stay safe and healthy! Soon enough our babies will be here and we will be so overwhelmed with them we won’t have time to worry :)

Celeste
Celeste

March 19, 2020

This is so helpful. I have my 36 week appt today (will be 37 weeks Saturday) and all of your fears with affirmations are so so helpful. I am a nurse and work in a huge hospital so I have a few more but hearing yours helps me very much. Thank you.

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