Last year, I heard a lot of people say to me how hard it must be being a new mom during these times. I really had no frame of reference as I didn't know what it was like being a new mom during "normal" times. I imagine, no matter the time, particularly those first couple of months is hard for any new mom. Pandemic or no pandemic, I had to learn to correct a bad latch so that I could nurse my son without excruciating pain. Pandemic or no pandemic, it was still lonely going through my unique situation. And by unique, I don't mean I was in any exceptional circumstance, but just that even though many of us experience generally the similar things, we each have varying factors that affect each of our situations differently. So at first, yes it was hard, but I was also lucky. If not for moving in with my parents, I'm not sure what my husband and I would've eaten at times.
Ask me now how things are being a mom in a pandemic, and it's a different story...
Now with my son turning 18 months, I'm feeling the stresses of the pandemic, especially with delta spreading like wildfire (although, I've heard it may be coming down now). This spring and up until recently, I started being able to take my son to the grocery store with me and out more in public places. Once we got vaccinated, we were able to see other friends and family who are vaccinated. We were able to join a small Parent and Me class, and we even had a small private baptism!
Once delta was on the rise here though, we began retreating and it's hard. For the time being, we've put a pause on our parent and me classes, and I no longer bring him to places like the grocery store with me, which really bums me out. The grocery store is one of those things that I feel like was entertaining and exciting for him, while also allowing me to be productive and a place for him to learn things. I was also excited to sign him up for tumbling class, but we've held off on that until things are safer for our unvaccinated kids.
Working is also more challenging, because up until he started walking at around 10 months old, even when I had a meeting I could just strap him to me and he was pretty content. The best was when he used to nap multiple times a day, and would fall asleep in the carrier. I just was able to do more when he slept more. One good thing these days, is that at least when he naps, he usually naps between 1.5 to 2 hours, and I can get some solid work done during his nap. Thankfully, my mom can help watch him when I have a call or need some time to power through some work, but she can't watch him all day every day for me.
The hardest part of all this for me though, is knowing how much he loves playing with other kids, and really needs it. My heart breaks a little for him. Even though, his main companion is our dog, and he imitates the dog quite a lot, which is hilarious. And how I'd love to take him to places like the aquarium...and Disneyland!
Up until recently, I didn't mind the pandemic. And since we've been able to get vaccinated, it's been great being able to see vaccinated family and friends. The good thing is that this is all our son knows. He's happy walking in our neighborhood and waving at all the neighbors from a distance, even though he's terrified or weirded out when any try to get closer to us. Still, I think this pandemic must be much harder on parents of older kids.
If we weren't living with my parents or at least close by, I think being a new mom certainly would have been more isolating and difficult in the beginning. Now things are difficult in a different way, and not because I'm a new or first-time mom. Now they're just difficult because I'm a working mom without childcare...aside from grandma.
Let's not even get into how this pandemic has affected my trust in humanity's goodness and how I'm supposed to raise my child in a world when people can be so concerned about their individual freedom when it comes to wearing a mask and not see how selfish and delusional they're being. If resisting wearing a mask is their idea of freedom, then they really do not know or understand what freedom is.
All in all, there have been some great pluses to being a new mom during the pandemic, but there are certainly challenges, especially as baby gets bigger. It'll certainly be interesting to see how this generation grows up to be.