As a new mom to a 6-month-old baby girl, the last two months of being quarantined at home have been nothing shy of difficult. Parenthood itself brings about challenges, we all know. We expect to not get much sleep, to feel a little lost in our new role and to have a lot of new expenses. However, being in quarantine, working full time and being a full-time parent involves a different set of challenges I never expected I'd have to face.
I am thankful to have my husband home with me during this time to help with parenting responsibilities. We take turns playing with and caring for Elly during her awake time. When I have conference calls, he's able to spend time with Elly and vice versa. This often means us waking up early or staying up late, losing sleep, to be sure we're getting enough hours of work in during the day. We always pray for long naps from our daughter during to day so we can be productive.
Overall, one of the hardest things to navigate, for me, is getting to know myself as a mom and a working mom. Sometimes it feels like I have become a completely new person. While there are many attributes and interests that have stayed the same, there are quite a few new ones, along with many new worries and emotions to process. I’ve tried to use this quarantine has a time for me to really focus on what kind of mom I want to be and the example I want to set for my daughter. It's helped make this time feel less negative.
How To Stay Positive
- Start a list of things you're grateful for or what makes you a good parent. Add one thing to the list every evening or morning.
- Make time every day (even just 5 minutes) for something that fills your cup. Examples: Working out, cooking, reading, building something, etc.
- Look through photos of your baby, or babies if you have multiple, and see how much they’ve grown during this time.
Resources For Postpartum Support
All new moms and dads are at risk to develop postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. These are conditions to not take lightly. Being a new parent involves a lot of changes mentally, emotionally and, for mom, physically, but especially during the circumstances of quarantine.
If you're concerned about depression, talk with your doctor. He or she will discuss your symptoms and family history, talk to you about how you're feeling and determine the appropriate treamtent.
Without support groups to attend, it can be extremely difficult to keep the mind clear and healthy. It also can be a challenge find other new parents to talk to that are going through the same emotions and challenges as you. While many support groups are not meeting in person, there are virtual options through Franciscan and other organizations and online communities for new parents in a pandemic.
Stay Connected With Loved Ones
New parents anticipate being able to share in the joy and growth of our sweet blessing with the support family and friends in person, not through FaceTime. My daughter's grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and great-grandparents have not seen her for a few months. And it's hard.
Then I think about close friends of mine who took their new baby home recently. Those early days, right after delivery, were the hardest. Due to social distancing guidelines, my friends don't have the luxury of family and friends coming by with meals and open arms ready to help and give mom and dad a break. I encourage you to check in on your friends and family members who are new parents. Support them from a distance!
Ways To Support New Parents from a Distance
- Send an e-gift card
- Have a meal delivered
- Offer to grocery shop for the family
- Order them a box of diapers and a pack of wipes
To the quarantined new parent, you are not alone. I know some days it seems like bedtime may not come fast enough, the laundry will never get done and you'll never have a moment to yourself again, but we will all get through this. This season won't last forever. Our family and friends will soon be able to visit again. Before we know it, we’ll be able to have someone watch our kids and have a little bit of "me" time. As crazy as it sounds, I think we might miss this time once it's all over.
By Kayla Meyer