What It’s Really Like To Be Pregnant During COVID
Seeing the word “pregnant” appear on a pee stick while you’re in the middle of a pandemic can be overwhelming. While we feel blessed, my husband and I had expected it to take longer to get pregnant than it actually did. We also thought that, by the time a baby finally came around, we might see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel.
But that’s not how it happened for us, and that’s OK. We’re learning to live with it.
So how’s this experience different from a non-pandemic pregnancy? To be honest, it is my first pregnancy, so I don’t have a direct comparison. However, I’m aware of all of the things I could have done, that I simply don’t have access to (and can’t do) now.
With that said, here’s my personal breakdown of how it’s both more difficult — but at times, easier — to be pregnant during a pandemic.
How it’s harder being pregnant during a pandemic
COVID makes most things more of a challenge, so it’s logical that a pregnancy would be the same. These are the most notable ways that the pandemic makes being pregnant trickier.
You worry more about getting sick
There are a lot of inherent worries when you’re pregnant: Can I eat this? Is that cramping normal? How’s my blood pressure? Potentially contracting a highly contagious virus adds to the pile of concerns. Since COVID is so new, the science is unclear on how it could affect pregnant women differently, so in the meantime, you have to be extra cautious.
You have to cook for yourself more — when cooking makes you gag
Even the smell of onion made me want to throw up for the first eight weeks of my pregnancy. If this had been last year, I could have gone to a restaurant and chosen anything from the menu without having to prepare it. It would have been easier to satisfy my ever-changing appetite. Now, not being able to sit in a restaurant while feeling safe is a real bummer, plus I have to prep my own meals — all scents (and stenches) included.
You can’t pamper yourself as much you’d like
There are so many things I’m avoiding that I would have done to feel better pre-pandemic. I’m missing out on things like getting a prenatal massage, trying acupuncture to soothe nausea, or getting a manicure or a haircut (I haven’t had a haircut in over a year and it’s getting dire.) Not being able to get pampered makes the discomfort of pregnancy that much worse.
Pregnancy is already a pretty lonely experience since you’re the only one in the relationship who actually goes through it. But now it’s harder to get together with family and friends to chat about all the changes you’re going through, so you feel even more alone. Plus, your partner or loved one probably can’t come into your appointments with you. You can use video chat to include them, but it’s not quite the same as having a hand to hold if you’re nervous.
How it’s easier being pregnant during a pandemic
Believe it or not, above aforementioned examples aside, it’s not all bad. There are a few bright spots that make being pregnant during COVID a little bit better. Here are the ways I have noticed that it’s been easier.
You might be spending less money
Not being able to go out has a plus side; we’re not spending nearly as much as we used to on things like restaurants or entertainment. More money in our bank account makes building up our savings in preparation of a new baby less of a challenge. Also, this extra cushion helps with our stress levels, as well.
You have less FOMO
These days, when you’re lying on the couch for weeks in a row, it helps to know that very few people are out having the time of their lives, since their inside as well. Understanding that you’re not missing out on many activities and events, helps ease any ‘fear of missing out’ (aka FOMO). Even when you’re scrolling through people’s curated social media accounts, you’re aware that they’re probably also experiencing cabin fever just as badly as you are.
You have more time to prepare
Having more spare time (for those of us who are lucky enough to work from home), can be a good thing when it comes to baby preparation. There’s a lot of information to take in and a lot of little things to do, like go to countless doctor’s appointments. If you’re planning to do things like paint the baby’s room, you might find it easier to get it done during the pandemic.
You have an easy excuse to create boundaries
If you have family or friends who are problematic or demanding of your time, COVID gives you an automatic excuse to keep them at a distance right now. Currently, no one can visit you in the hospital after you give birth, and I have heard from friends that that’s a perk since you’ll have time to rest rather than entertain people.
Also, I hear it’s important in the first few weeks after birth to only have the most helpful people around. If someone in your family or friend group stresses you out more than they comfort you, COVID is a great excuse to ask them not to come for a while.
Would I do it differently if I had a choice?
I have thought about this question a lot: If I could go back in time, would I choose to wait to have a baby? I’m still not sure I have the answer, but I think I would say “no.” I would probably still go forward with it, but that’s just me.
It’s an extremely personal decision, and if you’re wondering whether right now is the right time to try for a baby, take time to weigh the pros and cons. Figure out what matters most in your life, and do your research. Can you not imagine giving birth without both a doula and a loved one in the room? Keep in mind that most hospitals are only letting in one support person right now, so you would have to choose. Things like that can make a big difference in your birthing experience.
Overall, there will always be pros and cons for the time in your life when you choose to have a baby. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if it makes sense to go for it now, or if it’s better to wait.
Tiffany Verbeck is a freelance writer and storyteller who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs tell their brand story. She runs a professional blog on personal finance at www.tiffanyverbeck.com and a personal blog on growing up in Indiana called Midwestern Transplant. She can be found on Twitter at @tiffanyverbeck.
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