It’s a strange time to be a new mom. Many women who’ve delivered children in the weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak began have yet to introduce their babies to any of their extended family members or friends, and will be celebrating Mother’s Day on May 10 while hunkering down at home.
In March, when many health experts worried that hospitals around the country would quickly become overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, some suggested that they ought to refuse to allow pregnant women to bring anyone into their delivery rooms with them.
Lauren Prado, an event planner who works throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, says that she was worried her husband, Scott Doebler, wouldn’t be allowed to join her for that reason. “I asked my doctor about it and she said the hospital would never consider implementing that rule,” she says.
Even so, Prado and Doebler – who welcomed their son, Connor, into the world on April 6 – had to make changes to their birth plan. “Only one support person was allowed in the delivery room with me,” she says, “so unfortunately my mom wasn’t able to be there.” She and Doebler were also handed surgical masks, and told that they had to wear them whenever they weren’t in their delivery room. On top of that, they both had their temperatures taken when they got to the hospital, and were told that they wouldn’t be able to have any visitors. Prado had to cancel the plans she’d made to have photographs taken of her son shortly after his birth too.
But some of her family members and friends have come up with creative ways to say hi to Connor while keeping their distance, physically. “My best friend, Audrey, called me the day after Connor was born and asked me which street my hospital room window faced. She surprised me by saying she was outside to see Connor through the window,” Prado says. “We chatted on the phone as she waved and danced on the sidewalk, and I held Connor up to the window. We caught it on video and it’s really cute and funny!”
Karisa Langlo, a former MilMag staffer who delivered her son, Oliver, on February 11, says that the coronavirus still seemed like a distant threat when she went into labor. And all of Connor’s grandparents were fortunately able to fly out to meet him soon after his birth. But the situation changed quickly after that.
“The story started ramping up while my dad and my grandma were here. Then they went home and my mom visited, and that’s when things really got bad. She was here on March 11, around the time the NBA canceled its season.” Langlo’s mom was able to make it home before health officials started advising against travel. But her husband Chris’ parents had to cancel a second visit planned around Easter.
She also had to cancel her daycare plans. Now she and her husband are both working again (from home, in her case) while trading off childcare duties. “We finally got him on a routine of feeding, playing and then sleeping. I can check emails and stuff like that while I’m feeding him, and then I do the rest of my work when he’s sleeping.” They’re also carving out time for regular video chats with friends and family members.
And both Langlo and Prado say that, although their first weeks and months of motherhood have been different than they initially imagined they’d be, they’re grateful for the extra time at home they’ve gotten with their sons. “Having our first baby during a global pandemic was not ideal and caused a lot of worry and stress,” Prado says. “But now that he’s here we are seeing the bright side of being able to spend this time together and adjust to life as a family of three.”