Preparing for Parenthood in the Pandemic

cutest baby photo of mother and infant
Photo By FamVeld/shutterstock

Nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, and a pandemic doesn’t bring that to a halt. Like most people, you’re probably feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe. As of now, there have been over 600,000 cases in the United States. Schools across the country are closed, many states are under complete lockdown, and many people are either working from home or not working at all.

If you’re expecting a baby at any time, or you’re a new mother with your first child, times like these can feel especially overwhelming and scary. Obviously, you want to do everything you can to keep your baby safe and healthy. But it’s important to look after yourself and keep things as normal as possible, too.

This virus has caused parents around the world to take on multiple roles at once; mother, father, teacher, employee, and all of the above. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation recently discovered that 4 in 10 Americans have said this virus has disrupted their lives. So, what can you do to limit that disruption as a new mother, and take on all of your new roles in stride?

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Maintaining Your Physical and Mental Health

There’s an old saying that suggests you “can’t pour from an empty cup.” You can’t give what you don’t have. New babies are an incredible amount of work, and they demand attention around the clock.

But it’s important to take care of your physical and mental health too, especially during times like these. If you’re stuck at home 24/7 with a newborn, it’s easy to feel a bit stir-crazy. New mothers often need some mothering themselves. If you’re unable to get the support you need right now due to social distancing, find ways to take care of yourself. Light exercises like “strolling” can help to boost your mood and give you more energy. Getting enough sleep at night (or as much as possible) can help your mental and physical states. Journaling your thoughts, fears, and struggles can also help you to manage your mental health.

If you find that you’re really struggling, either emotionally or physically, don’t be afraid to contact your doctor. Telehealth is becoming more popular than ever, thanks to its ease of use. During shelter-in-place, it can be an even greater resource for you. Though some people criticize telehealth because it may not seem as “personal,” and there’s an increased chance of misdiagnosis, it’s a great way to get some kind of medical assistance when you need it most without having to go somewhere. You can use telehealth as a resource for both you and your baby.

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A New Way to Work

One of the biggest challenges people are facing right now is how to maintain a balance within their lives. As a new mom, you may have to balance your home life, your baby, and your job. There are still surveys being done on how the coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of people working from home. But even before the virus, about 23.7% of the population worked at home at least part-time.

If you’re making the transition to working at home as a new mother, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier on yourself, including:

  • Setting aside a separate area of your home for work only
  • Have the right equipment, including a high-speed internet connection for video calls
  • Setting specific working hours
  • Eliminating distractions as much as possible
  • Taking frequent breaks
  • Staying in a specific routine
  • Keep your baby on a schedule
  • Ask your partner for help, if possible.

Finding a work-life balance with a newborn is possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and communicate with your employer as often as possible if you need to rework your schedule or if you need extra time away from work to focus on motherhood.

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Some Things Never Change

Keep in mind that even in the midst of a pandemic, there are certain things about having a new baby that are very much the same. You can help to reduce your stress levels by making sure you have all of the essentials for your newborn, including:

  • Clothes
  • Baby furniture
  • Baby-safe toiletries
  • A monitor system
  • Baby-safe gear.

You’ll still have to “worry” about all of the things every new parent deals with, from safe sleeping to making sure your car has the right safety features to protect your family. Though it might seem silly to think about, these normal, everyday worries can actually be comforting in times of such uncertainty.

There are still so many normal, simple things you’ll be able to do with your newborn on a daily basis, despite this current pandemic. Find a routine that works for you, even if you’re still expecting, and you’ll be able to make it through this strange season of life with gratitude for your incredible bundle of joy.

pregnant woman with sore feet
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Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.

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