*Written by Kiaira Thomas – Jenny Wetzel’s assistant
As a first time soon-to-be mom, I thought of pregnancy to be this smooth journey filled with happiness, positivity, and excitement. I’m not saying that those things aren’t a part of the journey but they forsure are not the only thing you will experience. During my 7-months of pregnancy, I have experienced: happiness, sadness, positivity, negativity, excitement, anxiety, and other emotions I’m not sure there are words for. But I was prepared to feel those ways because as my doctor (and Google) has said, all of those emotions are normal during pregnancy. What I was not prepared for was a worldwide pandemic!
No book, doctor or Google search could prepare me for what has been happening the last few weeks in our world. I feel as if the Coronavirus pandemic has hit me harder than pregnancy. While feeling all of these emotions, I am put into a deeper position of self-awareness. Am I feeling sick because I have a virus that they’ve yet to find a cure for? Or am I just experiencing pregnancy symptoms? Can I go to the grocery store without putting my child in harm’s way? Is it safe to be around my family? What if I have it and I catch the symptoms too late? Is it safe to go to my doctor appointments? The list of worrying questions can go on for pages. And the harsh reality is that there really is no definite answer to any questions I may ask – it is all unknown.
Preparing to bring a child into the world is stressful. At this moment I am stuck between I cannot wait to hold you in my arms and I don’t want you out here in this mess! With only two months left I prepare myself to become their protector, I am responsible for this human being and keeping them alive – but so much is out of our control right now. Feeling like you cannot control the health or wellbeing of your child is a scary place to be. Putting all of your faith into our healthcare system, scientists, and the pharmaceutical industry is a scary place to be. Then I start to think selfishly. As stated, I am a first time mother, and yes I plan on having more children but this is my FIRST TIME. When I think back on my first time being pregnant, I will remember being quarantined in my house, not being able to have a baby shower, and having to eat frozen pizzas because I was forced to stock up on nonperishable food. But then I think, I am stuck in a house with the people I love and love me, I could have a baby shower after they’re born and I survived off of frozen pizzas for a while so I shouldn’t forget where I came from 😂.
I have been put into the fortunate situation to still have a full-time paying job during the pandemic which keeps me pretty well occupied during the week as I am used to. However, when home becomes your office and solitary confinement for an unpredictable period of time, things start to get a little blurry. A week ago, when my shift was over I went to the store, got my eyebrows done, went to visit my mom and really anything else I wanted to do. Now, when my shift is over I walk downstairs to the kitchen, let my dog outside, and sit back on my couch. I thought just being pregnant was going to make my life unproductive but Coronavirus came and said “wait there’s more!” To keep myself from falling into a rut of Coronavirus depression I do things like:
- Watch Hulu & Netflix
- Search for houses
- Go through baby stuff
Like every other average American, my TV time is important to me. It gives me a chance to slip away from the real world and engage into fictional realities. And as a true millennial, I don’t have cable (only wifi) meaning my main sources of TV entertainment come from Hulu and Netflix. Right now my top shows for Hulu are:
- Grey’s Anatomy
- The Voice
- Your Attention Please
- Shark Tank
And on Netflix:
- Love is Blind
- I am a Killer
- Sex Education
Your parents may have told you that watching too much TV will destroy your brain cells, and as I am writing this, I have just realized I am now one of those parents 😳! Sticking to parental code, I limit the amount of TV I watch – which means turning the TV off completely and not letting the shows play in the background which unconsciously makes me listen to or watch them. I spend a lot of time on my phone because well, I’m 22. However, not all the time I spend on my phone is strictly social media based (yes I track my screen time). I spend a good amount of time looking at houses on Redfin or Zillow either for fun or because I am planning on purchasing a house sooner than later. But like TV, I feel that being on your phone for too long is damaging so I make it a point to put my phone down and engage in things outside of electronics.
Being pregnant comes with a lot of added stress, mentally and physically. This is a time where taking care of yourself is more important than it has ever been. Self-care will ultimately impact how well you are able to take care of your child and my biggest form of self-care right now is SLEEP. I suffer from what people like to call “pregnancy brain,” I have to think three times as hard about things that really should be simple and it leaves me feeling EXHAUSTED. To try and give my brain a break, I like to nap or sleep periodically to help maintain focus (I almost burnt the house down twice last week from the lack of sleep and extreme exhaustion!). Cooking is another way I like to relieve stress – minus the burning down the house part. Playing music and cooking some of my favorite foods or pregnancy cravings puts me in a happy and undisturbed place (another “mom rule” ‘no one in the kitchen while I’m cooking!’). Cooking isn’t for everyone and even sometimes too much work for me so I like to take out all of the new baby clothes, toys, and gadgets and just look through them. This gives me time to think about the future with my baby, what they will look like, how they will act and a lot more. Playing peaceful music while doing this helps relieve some of my anxiety about becoming a mom.
This is the life of a pregnant woman during a pandemic, very up and very down. Appreciating things like having good health and a supportive family, but also being bummed about the small significant things like a baby shower and food cravings. It is rough but it will also get better. Expressing your feelings and having that support system goes a long way. Ultimately the pandemic will be over, a cure will be found, and my baby will be alright. Staying in a positive headspace is important during these last few months (and even in the beginning if you are just starting your journey) – we will get through it! 💜