Young moms like Katie, Emma and Morgan have all had their plans changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. All three moms had different experiences but found that the pandemic actually was a blessing while delivering and raising children.
When Emma was pregnant with her new son Peter, COVID interrupted her plans. The COVID guidelines discouraged her from doing simple errands such as grocery trips. Emma had to rely on family and friends to get groceries for her.
Fear of getting Emma sick resulted in close family and friends choosing not to attend Emma’s baby shower, leaving Emma with only one or two new outfits for baby Peter.
Emma had arranged to have her mom travel to Utah and help take care of the baby. In fact, Emma has looked forward to her mom being present for the birth of her first child since she was a little girl.
Rather than delivering at a hospital, Emma and her husband chose to deliver her son at a midwifery. Peter was born on Easter day. “We had such a good experience,” Emma explained. “And I’m not even kidding — I could not have given birth if Stephen wasn’t in the room with me.” With hardly any visitors, Emma and her husband had more time that they could spend with their baby and catch up on much-needed sleep.
At five weeks old, baby Peter had a condition called Pyloric Stenosis, making it difficult for him to digest food. This required Peter to have immediate surgery. Luckily for the Byrd family, a highly requested surgeon was now extremely available due to the high volume of canceled appointments.
Katie Stubbs is a mom of two who recently gave birth to her new daughter Lexi. Her oldest child, Rhett, just turned two, and her daughter Lexi is barely two months old. Delivering Lexi was a much different experience from when she delivered her son two years earlier. At the time when Rhett was born, the hospital room was full of family and even a handful of nursing students.
When Lexi was born, the hospital room was not as crowded. Only Katie’s husband and two nurses were present at the time. Even though both Katie and her nurse tested negative for COVID-19, the nurse still wore extensive protective gear. “My poor nurse had to wear goggles,” Katie describes. “I told her to take the goggles off because I was pretty positive that the virus wasn’t going to get me through her eyes!” The nurse’s goggles would fog up from her breathing while she tried to insert an IV for Katie.
What Katie found the most difficult was entertaining her two-year-old son and not having family around to meet Lexi. Her two-year-old son, Rhett, struggled to adjust to the new social distancing guidelines. Rhett looked forward to spending time with his friends and playing at the park. Instead, Rhett spends most of his time indoors with his mom or grandma.
Some of Katie’s extended family hasn’t met Lexi yet for fear of getting her sick. To help the extended family feel included, Katie has been posting updates on social media frequently. “That’s been the hard part,” Katie explains. “Sending more pictures and videos out to family so that they can be a part of her life.”
Morgan Farnsworth is a mom of one with another on the way. Baby James was born in January, two months before the pandemic broke out in the states. Shortly after James was born, they discovered he had some breathing problems and needed to be treated at the NICU. Due to James’ medical condition, Morgan only allowed her mother, mother-in-law and husband to hold the baby. “We went through bottles and bottles of hand sanitizer,” Morgan remembers. “So we stocked up before all of America did.”
Shortly after, the pandemic was introduced to the United States. As COVID regulations were being enforced, Morgan found that people were being more respectful of her personal space and more cautious around her baby. Sanitizing and frequent hand washing was now expected. These additional safety measures were already a part of Morgan’s routine to create a healthier environment for her son.
Though these additional measures were a response to the COVID pandemic, Morgan was grateful for the changes. Morgan is hoping that this pandemic will help people take the same consideration for COVID measures as they would with sick newborn infants. “I’m not going to hope for a pandemic every time I have a kid,” Morgan said. “But if there have to be pandemics in my lifetime, if it can align with when I have babies, that would be ideal.”
By January of 2021, Morgan is expected to have another son. If COVID conditions continue, it will have a direct impact on her delivery. Doctors have told Morgan that she is only allowed one other individual in the room while she is delivering. After the delivery, Morgan will need someone at home to watch James while she recovers at the hospital. Morgan’s husband plans on watching James during those days, meaning Morgan will be left at the hospital alone.
For most young moms, COVID has created a safer environment and allowed more time for parents to spend with their baby. However, the physical distance for extended family and close friends has been a difficult transition. As COVID restrictions change, young moms will need to decide how they will choose to raise their children differently.