GUEST COLUMN: Pregnancy and the pandemic
By Sarah Clavin, Miller Swim School Jenks Manager
The past 9 months have been nothing short of eventful. I found out I was expecting in the midst of the devastating Australian wildfires. I found out the gender during a global shut down. And I will deliver at the start of an unprecedented distance learning in our public-school systems. In utero, this child has been privy to a host of unusual external emotions as a result of the pandemic and all that comes along with it.
I would be remiss if I did not preface this with the fact that this is my fourth baby. I truly believe I would have felt many of these changes due to COVID in a much more drastic way had it been my first, and possibly even my second.
So, to my first-time moms reading along, I am sending you a great big hug. Not one of those fake-coronavirus-elbow-touching-socially distant replacements, but I want to wrap my arms around you and squeeze you tight. Bump to bump. And I want to tell you to your face that I see you. I feel how you feel.
And I. Am. So. Sorry.
I am so sorry for all of the things COVID has stolen from you; every solo doctor’s appointment, the lonely delivery, and the socially distant recovery. Loved ones not being able to meet your precious babe. Your new infant immersed into a confusing world lacking facial expression and recognition, reeking of sanitizer. But more so than the tangible items we’ve lost, I weep over the emotional wreckage as we bear the trademark “expectant mothers”.
The insurmountable anxiety. Fear of the unknown now multiplied and extended far beyond our tiny precious babe. The loneliness and inability to share all our joy with others. The guilt and all of the hard choices we never would have had to make otherwise.
There are days I perceive I am drowning in guilt and anxiety, and just when I feel like all is lost and no one is coming to rescue me, I remember that I have all the tools I need to save myself.
I. Can. Swim.
I have hope; because my hope is not in or of this world, it is not tied to a number or a percentage or a science. I have faith in something bigger than the here and now. I am strong, and resilient and I can do hard things. I can make choices though they are not easy or obvious. I can suffer short term for long-term gain. I can bring hope and life into my world and I can choose to be grateful that I have the opportunity to experience this at all.
Above all these virtues, I have peace. Though chaos stirs in the wind and though what was once incomprehensible is now conceivable the truth in my heart is relentless. The chaos created clarity and with that clarity came confidence.
So, you ask, what has your experience been like being pregnant during a pandemic? Centered on hope. And in the midst of our COVID free embrace, my dear fellow mamas, I pray to impart on you some peace, and joy and love, and a brief reminder, that perhaps, you were made for such a time as this.