I wanted to share this very personal journal entry I wrote in July of 2020. I was very pregnant and full of anxiety, uncertainty, and depression due to the pandemic. There was so much going on in my life during this moment. Both my husband and I were experiencing panic attacks. We were going through a major transition, including selling our old house and buying a new one along with my job loss. If I could go back in time, I would give myself a hug and tell myself that everything will be alright and to hold on to Hope. I would slow down and let go of some of those troubles and enjoy my pregnancy a little bit more. I would also tell myself to not even try to keep my job and safe myself from having multiple panic attacks in my office. That it is not worth it and to quit sooner; the injustice I endured from the administration there is so full of misogyny, sexism, and discrimination and that they were not worthy of me and my time and that I am better and deserve better. I would also tell myself that I would get beautiful maternity pictures taken by a dear friend and that my sister would organize the sweetest and most thoughtful online baby shower. Lastly, I would tell myself that the hospital was safe, with great nurses and a wonderful midwife; and that I was strong and brave and I endured and persevered through the pain and that I had my amazing husband by my side pushing me through the finish line where I gave birth to our big, beautiful, perfect daughter.
I am so thankful for the life we have. For our health, our happiness and our love. Although we’re still in this pandemic, we have each other.We are managing and taking it day by day. I love my new job, staying at home with the two beautiful bright lights in my life, my babies. I love that I have time to do my blog again. For those of you that take the time to read this, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. This has always been a safe space and I feel safe enough to share this personal journal entry with you all and for that I am thankful. If this post resonates with you, feel free to reach out. I am here; I see you and I hear you. Love and light to you all <3
Journal Entry: July 20th 2020
Pregnancy is beautiful, tough, incredible, miraculous, inspiring, exhausting and many other things. Add to the mix a job, a toddler, house duties and everything else in between. The last thing you want to deal with is the exhaustion, turmoil, and stress that a pandemic brings. Unfortunately that is the case for many women at this time, I am not alone in this. Being pregnant DURING a pandemic was NEVER on my list of goals for 2020. I just want to be pregnant and enjoy my pregnancy like normal.
I found out I was one month into my pregnancy when the pandemic hit the US. Grandma is the person who keeps Jude when I go to work. She was the first person to come across my mind when COVID numbers began to spike. Between going through my first trimester and grandma’s health, I decided to take E-FMLA from my job (back in mid March). E-FMLA allowed me to be able to stay home with Jude and stop all contact and exposure with grandma. It was not easy to make that decision but grandma’s health was a top priority for me and so was my pregnancy. I did not want to put either of us in danger by exposing myself at work. I am a social worker, dealing with the public is my literal job.
Unfortunately my E-FMLA coverage came to an end and I had to return to work at the beginning of this month. It is incredibly stressful constantly making sure I take every step to keep myself safe and to limit the exposure I bring to grandma when I pick up Jude. It is not easy and very overwhelming. All of the stress has led me to have several panic attacks. This pandemic has brought up so many issues that our country has in regards to jobs, healthcare, public health, and so many other things. Due to my unplanned leave of absence it has brought me to a situation that is making me choose between my job, my family, and my time with my new baby. Something that is pretty much an impossible decision. When “E-FMLA” was explained to me back in March, they made it seem like it was a separate pandemic coverage from the regular FMLA and that I could take it so that I could have some protection from the virus since I was so early into my pregnancy. Turns out, they are inept at explaining things thoroughly and this E-FMLA was a replacement for regular FMLA. I was not the only one who had the same mislead explanation and issues with them. Someone else was forced to quit at work because of this. So now I have to figure out if I will have any form of maternity leave for when I have my baby. I’m not sure what all this means or if it will affect my job. Will I have to quit? I wouldn’t have taken this E-FMLA if I knew that it would affect my maternity leave.
It feels like being a parent during the pandemic is nearly impossible. I have to juggle a job, a toddler, all of our house duties, taking care of myself and the baby, making sure I take all the proper steps to ensure that I minimize any exposure to grandma, and at the same time continue to isolate ourselves and try to maintain social distancing. When all of this began, we stayed in quarantine for three months. Matthew was the first to go back to work in person. He was fortunate to be able to work from home for a while. It is so frustrating seeing ourselves taking every measure possible to stay safe and missing out on precious family time with our extended families while it seems like everyone else is not caring at all and they have not stopped and continue to spread the virus. It is so draining and exhausting; emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Stepping out into public places as a pregnant woman has been so stressful. The only places I have had to go into have been work and my doctor’s office. Both of which require masks, for which I am thankful. I am constantly aware of my surroundings, what I touch, who comes near me, how often I wash my hands, ect. It’s an endless cycle of mindful reminders in my head all day long. It is very draining.
When it comes to “enjoying”my pregnancy, that has been a challenge in itself. I can’t enjoy it with my extended family. I feel super cooped up and alone. Of course I have Matthew and Jude but I am a family person. I miss them all and just want to spend time with them like I used to and share the joys of my pregnancy. Matthew has yet to be allowed to attend any medical appointments with me. He wasn’t able to enjoy my ultrasound and see our baby for the first time. I haven’t been able to take my weekend trips to Target as a way to decompress. I don’t know if and when I will be able to have maternity pictures; same thing for a baby shower. We still need tons of baby girl clothing and other items that are so expensive. A baby shower would be so useful, but we don’t think we’d be able to host one due to increasing numbers of COVID. All of these things bring me down and I have to constantly tell myself that none of that matters as long as our baby is safe and healthy when she arrives. But I am only human and there are times that I have experienced waves of depression along with my constant anxiety.
My ongoing worry along with the pandemic is when my daughter makes her arrival. I have no clue what the logistics will look like for us when that time comes. Will Matthew be able to go in with me to deliver? When will our family get to see and hold our new baby? Where will Jude stay while we’re in the hospital? I won’t be able to have any family members at the birth or visit us at the hospital. Who will capture the birth of our daughter on a camera? With my situation at work, will I even be able to have maternity leave after giving birth? How is it that I will have
My only escape to all of these concerns are my meditation and prayers. I also just try to fill myself with positivity as much as possible. But as mentioned before, I am only human and there are times that I come to a breaking point. I cannot wait for this pandemic to be over or atleast become drastically better than what it’s been. I yearn for our lives to be back to normal. May we all be filled with the knowledge we need to move on from this quickly. May we be filled with love for one another, light, spirituality, kindness, respect for others, and peace.