When I was 8-months pregnant with twins, my best friend, Kate, took me for lunch at a café in West Hollywood called The Sycamore Kitchen. When we were finished, she held my arm and helped me waddle down the street and around the corner to pick up my car at the valet. As we approached the valet stand, an SUV pulled up and out jumped David Beckham with his daughter. He immediately noticed my bump, quickly stepped aside to make room for me and said “congratulations!” with a warm smile. “Thank you,” I tried to reply casually while DIGGING MY NAILS into Kate’s arm. He took his daughter’s hand and walked off to the restaurant while I tried not to go into labor at the valet stand.
I’m sharing this story for 3 reasons 1) David Beckham is FLAWLESS in person 2) David Beckham officially blessed my twins 3) David Beckham is not the only stranger who wished me “congratulations” on my first pregnancy. In fact, in 2017, that happened every single day. “Twins! How exciting!” exclaimed the baristas at Starbucks. “Sleep NOW because you’ll never sleep AGAIN!” advised the librarian. “Can I touch your bump?” asked a stranger at the hair salon, rubbing my belly without permission. I used to hate the comments from strangers, the unsolicited advice, the uninhibited touching. But now, I’m ashamed to admit, I miss it.
Being pregnant during a pandemic is a lot of things: it’s scary, it’s challenging, but above all, it’s lonesome. Without the constant acknowledgment of strangers, without seeing friends or family, without moving through the world with a growing baby bump, it feels like I’m keeping a strange secret. Even after announcing my news with the world, and posting pictures and sharing videos- when I shut my camera off, I sit in silence —in my home, looking down at my belly that no one can see, getting up with a grunt that no one can hear.
I wish I was the kind of person who could find peace in this isolation. I wish I could embrace this moment in time as an opportunity to shut out all the noise and form a quiet connection with my unborn child. But I have come to shamefully acknowledge that I am not that person. As it turns out, when I’m growing a human being in my body; I need attention, I need social validation, I need to feel cute in a maternity jean. Without that, I sometimes forget that I’m pregnant, and I never take a moment to celebrate it. Even if it’s with the baristas at Starbucks.
Not only do I miss sharing my pregnancy with strangers, I miss sharing it with my husband. Sure, Evan helps me lumber around the house and listens to me complain about my back and marvels at my ability to take down a pint of ice cream. But because of Covid-19 restrictions, he hasn’t been able to come with me to a single doctor’s appointment.
I go alone. I sit on the exam table masked and alone, I listen to our baby’s heartbeat alone. I look at the ultrasound alone. I get the good news alone. I get the bad news alone. I even document the experience alone. I have started taking pictures in the doctor’s office for no one but me. Almost to prove that this actually happened. To have physical evidence that this baby actually grew in my stomach. That I actually did this, even if no one was there with me.
During my last ultrasound, as my doctor pointed out my baby’s features from behind her mask and face shield, I marveled at its tiny unmasked face, floating in its own little Covid-bubble. That’s when I was struck by the irony. During a year where we’ve all had to isolate and social distance and stay away from our loved ones, I’ve had my most beloved one with me the entire time. This pregnancy has felt deeply lonely and yet, I have never actually been alone.
And so, I’ve started to try and appreciate my little companion, to hold this baby through my belly when I feel alone and think about him or her as I move through the world on my own. I’m trying be ok with it when no one is there to feel the kicks, or take the photos or say “congratulations” at the valet. I’m trying to feel content in the uniqueness of this experience, and above all, to look forward to the magic that has yet to come.
Like all of us, it’s been over a year since I’ve had any physical contact with my loved ones. It’s been over a year since I’ve hugged my mom, rested my head on my dad’s shoulder, or linked arms with my best friend, Kate. But in a matter of months, when I deliver this baby, he or she will be one of the only people on earth that I will get to hug. That I will get to kiss. That I will get to hold in my arms- tightly, fearlessly, never letting go. And surrounded by masked doctors and masked nurses, after a year of moving through the world alone and experiencing pregnancy in isolation… in that moment, I know I won’t feel so lonely anymore.
Thank you for being here and sharing in this journey with me- I’ll be keeping you updated, right here at newmomwhodis.com, and in my newsletter (sign up HERE) on ALL THE THINGS, ALL ALONG THE WAY. I am so grateful for the love and support of this New Mom, Who Dis? Community and I can’t wait to do this whole New Mom thing all over again, with you by my side. xo jessi
GIRL SAME. Not only is this pandemic killing my pregnancy vibes, but being the second pregnancy everyone is kid of just like “oh yea, cool”. Not the same experience – at all. I was even talking to my HR manager today and she mentioned that the second pregnancy is not the same, people aren’t as excited and no one really cares all that much.
But baby oh baby, I care! I cannot wait to meet this little squish and like you said, they’ll be one of the only people we get to hug and kiss and squish.
We all feel the same way! Thank you for vocalizing my feelings.
This really spoke to me as a mom who announced her pregnancy last March just as our province in Canada was going into lockdown, luckily our alert levels were lifted enough for my husband to present when I gave birth in August. I did wish my experience was more like I had with my first child, but once my little girl arrived it was wonderful. This pandemic has been hard, but it has created many strong and fearless mother’s.
YES. This is exactly how I feel. Everything is so much harder and lonelier, particularly for a first time preggo. It sucks that my husband has only seen the bebe on FaceTime and has no opportunity to ask his own questions. And buying a bra seems akin to getting CSIS clearance and I’m sorry, when you start out with a set of canteloupes that progress to watermelons, online shopping just won’t do. Also, why are maternity clothes so ick or so pricey? Come on designers, we are not all 90 year old nans!
My babies are now 9 and 7, but I can still remember how much I LOVED being pregnant. I’ll be honest, I never felt better, I was glowing, I was happy, I was confident. People noticed me, they talked to me and worried about me .. “let me get that for you…” no one does that now! lol I get it, and I think it’s great that you wrote about it. It’s okay to mourn it…And here, I’ll give you a little taste of what you’re missing … You look beautiful, I can’t believe how great you look with twins to chase around too! I think it’s a girl, based on nothing other than that’s what I think.
Getting very teary eyed reading this post. I got pregnant unexpectedly 1 month after my daughter turned 1. After I had spent 2.5 months not bringing her grocery shopping, or out to breakfast dates, or to the mall. After she had a drive by birthday from my extended family and a zoom birthday with her grandparents and aunts. After I wasn’t called back to work as they were shut down due to the pandemic.
That positive test was scary and exciting as i thought, at least when this one comes all of this would be over.
Fast forward to today and we have a 6 week old son and a toddler who has never met some of the most important people in my life.
I feel every word of this post. I felt every word every minute of my pregnancy.
But most of all I struggled with feeling any negative emotions. For not enjoying my pregnancy, for wanting to cry to my friends as they congratulated me, for being upset in any capacity because I knew every single person was going through something else too.
So I kept it hidden and buried, and cried alone. I cried when I had to take a job at minimum wage at 35 years old, the lowest I’ve been paid for in 10 years, to get my mat leave in. Cried when lockdown barred me from getting fascial stretch therapy and massage, the only things allowing me to work pain free as I got very big very fast (he was 1.5lbs heavier than my daughter). Cried alone after returning to the hospital by myself after he was born to have tests to make sure my heart was ok as I had breathing problems. There was a lot of tears this past year and as much as it sucked for me I hate to hear it’s been equally suckie for other mom’s to be, like yourself.
I know nothing anyone says can take away the loneliness or isolation, but I hope just knowing you’re not alone alleviates even an ounce of stress/ frustration/ sadness. Xo
Currently 6 months pregnant, and I know exactly how you are feeling! I feel like so many women right now are pregnant and are experiencing the exact same things, which, in a strange way, I find solace in it. Every time my body aches when I move (currently experiencing major ligament issues because why not?), or I throw up, or experience another lovely pregnancy symptom, I remind myself that out there, right now, someone is going through the same thing. I miss connecting with friends, and other mom groups. It is one thing to keep in mind that other women are in the same boat, but a completely different feeling to physically be around people that understand and sympathize! Hang in there momma! We will get through this!
I went alone to all appointments and even for the baby gender they wouldn’t let my husband in! It was horrible even still violet is almost 10 months and many people haven’t seen her other than in pics. Her first birthday will not be celebrated it’s not how I expected this after 3 years of Ivf appointments etc
Going to appointments is the worse! We are going through the same thing. Sending you hugs and all the best birthday wishes to the little one for almost one amazing year!!! Maybe you can Kick off the “terrible twos” with a bang instead! 🙂
LOVE that you shared this. It really resonated with me. Currently in my first trimester with my first baby & the struggle of going to every appointment alone on top of everything else Covid related is extremely challenging.
This is an amazing article. It is authentic, it is brave, and it is beautiful- just as you are. I am glad to know that you are bringing another person into this world who will share the qualities that you demonstrate. Whenever you feel lonely, know that there is a community who supports you.
Wow! Thank u for being honest and vulnerable. Human beings r social creatures. Believe it or not we all need validation. U do look awesome. I loved being pregnant. I have a 27 and 25 year old. I am living with cancer and go to my treatments and scans alone during these. It sucks. Your boys and husband love u dearly. Embrace the good things. Sending u prayers and strength.
Hi Jessi, thanks for sharing your experiences with all the moms in the world. It’s a breath of fresh air to have someone being open and honest about the mix of messy struggles and joy of parenthood. You are loved. Congratulations on your pregnancy! ❤️
In Toronto, we are on complete lockdown. No library, no indoor pools or open places to visit. So mat leave with a toddler on top of now being pregnant is absolutely brutal. Waiting for warmer weather to see more people at the park or wear nicer clothes to feel less winter blah too.
A week or two behind you in the pregnancy during a pandemic journey. Definitely hit me in the feels. I have only met my Dr once in 25 w. My appointments have been on the phone with one virtual appointment at the beginning. My partner hasn’t been able to come to anything other than an ultrasound which was done through a private facility solely for the purpose of him being able to come. The group texts with family to share updates certainly isn’t the same as being able to see family in person. Sending all the positive vibes your way. Although I 100% want things to be different, we’ve got this!
I’m feeling the same and it’s our first (and likely only). Going to appointments alone when you have no clue what’s happening REALLY SUCKS. I also want to show off my bump to the world because I’m so excited about this and the reality that I’ll birth a human without most people in my life seeing my bump really makes me sad. Also, for the first time, I’m loving body con dresses and form fitting clothes but instead, I’m just over here in my adult onesies and “lounge wear”. I’m over here cheering on your belly and if I could, I’d randomly rub it! Fingers crossed you run into a Moffat or BSB soon!
I gave birth during the pandemic it’s been very hard for me to not let my family meet or see my daughter I know it’s not the same but it’s very isolating and hard! I feel for you!
I hear you!
I’m 9 months pregnant and it’s been a strange and weird journey.
The only thing I get asked is “ your still pregnant?” Because I don’t see a lot of the same people anymore so when they haven’t seen me in awhile or I post a pic, they are shocked I’m still cooking one.
Yes it feels like forever for me too!
Having babies during Covid has been a real eye opener at the same time.
My germaphobic attitude has kicked in high gear and anxiety about being in a hospital is real.
Never before did I have these emotions.
But I’m learning to deal with what I’m dealt.
High fives to all the mamas out there going through these weird times! We can do this!
My coworkers don’t even know I am pregnant and I’m off next month! It has been very lonely. It’s also been a lonely year to have a baby grow up. They are isolated with little other kid interaction 🙁 my two year olds first birthday was a week before shutdown but I threw a small family lunch because “a birthday for a one year old is excessive”. Now I wish I threw him the biggest baddest party around, because his second birthday is going to be just us.
I’m 32 weeks pregnant and this is super relatable. I work at an essential job and have WELCOMED coworkers touching my bump and making small talk because this pregnancy (my 2nd) during a pandemic hasn’t felt real and nobody has seen me pregnant. Some friends don’t even know yet! Somehow husband was allowed to come to 2 ultrasounds but nothing else. Oh covid.
I had just started my third trimester when the pandemic hit. I had to go in for bloodwork a few days later. The staff were all in full PPE and face shields (this was before the general public was wearing them) and upon entry they grilled me with questions which made me feel like I had done something wrong just by being there. Don’t get me wrong, the staff at the clinic were all so lovely, but it was so scary that I went into the washroom and had a little cry. Everything seemed so uncertain, and here I was about to have a BABY in the middle of this! I felt so alone in that moment.
A week later I had to do the gestational diabetes test where you have to fast overnight. I fasted and then when I showed up to the clinic the next morning, it had closed unexpectedly the night before because of COVID. So I had to fast AGAIN a few days later to get the test done – not fun for 6+ months pregnant, cause, well, I was usually ravenous for food!! Once I was there, I wasn’t allowed to leave after I drank the gross drink (for safety reasons), so I sat socially distanced from the other patients with a mask on, trying to work. After about 10 minutes I got so lightheaded from the lack of food and the mask that I asked them if I could lie down for a few minutes. They were so kind and brought me to a room where I could lie down with the lights off. Well, I fell asleep. It was one of the best naps I’ve had in a long time! Oh and did I mention this all happened on my 40th birthday, which the staff knew from seeing my health card and I think is why they were particularly nice to me and let me lie down in the first place.
Pregnancy and having a newborn baby during COVID is NO joke. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel – and I don’t just mean the vaccine… there’s a baby that will just light up your world and make you forget all this craziness!!
I completely know how you feel. I got pregnant in dec with my twins so I had a bit of exposure to ppl for the first trimester, but very few even knew I was pregnant at the time! Although it was my second pregnancy, it was scary bc it was twins and bc I felt like I was going through it alone, much like how you feel. My twin boys were born 2 months premature in July. Scary having preemie babies born at 31 weeks, even scarier during a pandemic with no in person help or support from family or friends. The boys are now 7 months old and have hardly seen the world. They know my home very well but we really do limit their exposure to places since it’s still quite bad out there. Sadly they have yet to really meet any of our friends or family. It’s sad to know that the most important ppl in my life will probably miss their entire first year of their lives if not longer.
Thank you for sharing. I was newly pregnant with my second when the pandemic started and shut everything down. My husband didn’t get to go to anything baby related until the birth. Unfortunately, two weeks after my baby was born BC went into a lockdown and is still in it for more than three and a half months. Very few people have met and held the baby. The last year has been challenging but my baby has been my light through a dark time and yours will be too.
We love you and thank you for allowing us to share in this spectacularly momentous experience, Jessie!! 😍😍😍 All the weirdness of this last year has contributed to your pregnancy being even more cherished. We feel your isolation but validate your experiences from afar. We happily celebrate you and your family!! We’ll all be here as you bring on your beautiful new love baby 💐
Ugh! I feel for ya sister. I had baby #2 in August 2020 and so many of my friends have never seen her in person. And I don’t even care about that as much as I care that I didn’t get all the pregnancy sympathy from friends and family.
I now have two under two and I rarely get the empathy I feel I need and deserve. I don’t get the hugs and reassurance from friends and support groups who understand the struggles.
Feeling pretty extra lonely during isolation ☹️
I feel this every day! I was so bummed when I found out we’d be locked down over the holidays and my family wouldn’t get to see me in my newly-pregnant state (however small the bump was at the time). I went through IVF in May of last year so the entire journey has been solitary… I remember wanting so badly to have my husband with me or even just to talk to one of the other women in the waiting room. I’m fortunate to have video chats with friends and family but I really want to celebrate this exciting and temporary state of being pregbant. You described the isolation of a pandemic pregnancy perfectly!
Ugh, I feel this so much- thank you for writing. I miscarried my first (very much wanted) pregnancy in January and had to do every appointment- every blood test for falling Hcg levels, transvag ultrasound (fun!) to show me my empty womb, every consult- alone. I still haven’t told many friends because everyone is dealing with their own Covid challenges and I don’t want to add to their burden. Your writing is helping many new moms (or would be/want to be moms) feel less alone. Thank you!
I found out I was pregnant about 2 weeks into the pandemic in March 2020. If it wasn’t for the almost 4 month old baby in my arms right now, I could have swore I imagined that entire pregnancy! This was baby #3 for us, so going to appointments alone was crappy, but I felt like I had a good idea of what to expect at least. We booked a private ultrasound at 18 weeks to find out baby’s sex so that we could experience that together with our 2 young daughters and it was 100% worth it. Otherwise the only time my husband was with me was at his birth. Then came 9 days in the NICU, which during a pandemic means only 1 parent can go in at a time. Thankfully our stay wasn’t too long and now we are all home together adjusting to life as a family of 5 and hoping that by his first birthday in November we will get to have an actual party for him!
I was pregnant mostly pre-pandemic but had my (third) baby in April, in those early home school/extended March Break days, and it has been equally lonely having a small baby in the pandemic. She has never met any member of my family and most of my friends and it feels so isolating. Check in with your friends who are pregnant and with new babies! This is real hard on us. ❤️
You put perfectly into words what I have been feeling. It brought tears to my eyes because I feel so alone in this pregnancy. Thank you for helping validate mine and other woman’s feelings.