The minute I found out I was pregnant, I literally jumped up and down in my bathroom, embraced my stomach, and quietly squealed, “BABY!” I immediately put in some data on a website to find the due date : August 20, 2020. I took a screen shot and sent it to my husband who was still asleep. He woke up to the text and we shared our excitement together before we went to work.
On my way to work, I thought about how I would share the news and who I needed to share it with first. I went right into my next door teacher neighbor’s room. “I am pregnant!” Then she gave me a hug. And I was so eager to share the joy with others that I didn’t wait until 12 weeks to tell most of my friends and family. I’m sure most moms can relate to this giddy joy and excitement. But what most moms will not relate to is experiencing their first pregnancy isolated during a pandemic.
I spent that time describing those precious and shared moments because those memories are some of the only ones I have without navigating a world with social distancing limits, safety precautions, and the regulations involved with COVID19. Now at the end of the day, I am so grateful to the LORD for blessing us with a healthy baby girl and a truly easy pregnancy. And I come to that thankful place daily, especially as I’ve been reminded of our baby girl with her kicks and my growing belly! But there is so much to grieve and just be sad about with being pregnant with our first during a pandemic…
Because my sister lives out of state, we are not sure if it’s a good idea for her to fly here, risk exposure on the airplane, and then meet our new baby. The baby’s first six months or even year of life will probably be spent in isolation at home. This also means that, as new parents, we will also be pretty isolated, lonely, and sad that we won’t be able to pass around our baby girl to our community group gatherings. We won’t share those early moments of rapid growth and discovery with our community or our church family.
These are all anxieties looking to the future but, even in the present, there are moments missed. It is silly to admit how sad it is to me, but having a virtual baby shower instead of an in-person gathering is crushing my joy in this season. We’ve been married over 5 years, we’ve celebrated college graduation, all our siblings are married..so a baby was the next big celebration and reason to bring together family and friends in one place! I’m grateful for Zoom, but it is not the same. I grieve that I can’t see my mom friends at church each week and give them minor baby updates, asking them about their experiences, and sharing joy in the blessing and miracle of pregnancy! And I’m sad that our family gatherings have all been canceled (Easter, Mother’s Day, birthdays) and that there will be no family group photos of me pregnant with our first baby. We cancelled our trip to Oregon this month, meaning my in-laws don’t have the chance to spend time with us in this season of pregnancy at all. That breaks my heart! I am a teacher and it was so much fun to do a puzzle with my students to tell them that I was pregnant a few months ago, but I don’t get to see their faces light up when they give me name ideas (of course we did it virtually, but it wasn’t the same). We don’t get to share the joy of my growing belly together. As silly as that sounds, it is something that I miss. There are so many missed moments in this life-changing event to grieve…and I’m not even thinking about the effects of giving birth in a pandemic; that can wait until August!
I have gone back and forth with reminding myself of the Gospel and the hope we have, but dear friends have reminded me that it is okay to grieve and feel sad. Think about all the lamenting in the Psalms, sometimes without resolve or hope! I will end here, though, because it is hard not to..BUT GOD…God is a Heavenly Father who comforts us, who listens to His children, and who cares. He does not leave us to experience these griefs alone. I’m encouraged by our women’s Bible study on Tuesdays where we have been studying Mark. Jesus reminds us in Mark “Do not fear, only believe.” I believe that God has such a well-planned out reason for all this life-altering, global suffering. I pray that I would not fear the future and the potential anxieties listed here..that I would grow in my trust in my Savior and Heavenly Father. And in August, Lord willing, we will welcome a beautiful baby girl into this world!