Pregnant during the pandemic: words of wisdom for the sisterhood
The other day I found myself pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen, homeschooling my children. It's safe to say that I did not see that coming!
Mama-to-be and co-founder of Franjo’s Kitchen, Francesca Fogarty shares her experience of being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many of you, my life has drastically changed in the past few weeks and it’s a huge adjustment. And, like many, I’m taking comfort from the fact that we’re all in this together. This is a huge opportunity for us individually and collectively to take stock of our ways of life and focus on what really matters.
But I won’t lie, being pregnant adds a certain complexity to the situation. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and facing giving birth during lockdown; that means heightened restrictions in hospitals to ensure that our health care workers and hospitals are best-placed to manage a potential influx of COVID-19 cases.
The logical part of my brain is completely cool with this - I support the bigger effort and I trust in the decisions of those amazing health care workers and know that not only my interests, but the broader community’s interests, are at stake.
This is also my third baby. I’ve done this twice before and whilst it definitely wasn’t easy, I believe in myself and my husband, and know we can get through this together.
But guess what? My logical brain isn’t always in action! The other side of my brain is screaming, “this sucks!” There’s stress and fear amid the uncertainty and change. However, these emotions are real and valid, and it’s totally cool for me to go to my bedroom and have a cry. And it’s cool for you to do that too.
I’d like to share a few things that I’m doing to try to combat the stress and uncertainty of it all. I hope these are helpful for you.
- If you feel yourself getting upset or your brain running away on itself, that’s okay! Feel the emotion. Acknowledge it, and then try to let it go through some deep breathing (maybe after a good cry).
- Try to focus on the moment, and what is under your control. What are your tasks today? What’s for dinner? Stay present and try to bring yourself back to the now. I’ve done a few mindfulness courses and find mindfulness techniques helpful for this, even with children around!
- Limit your exposure to social media, the news, your phone, screens, scrolling. I’m hopeless at this, but I know for sure it contributes to my feelings of anxiety.
- Reach out to friends, family and your lead maternity carer and talk about your concerns.
- Get outside, exercise and get fresh air. Try to incorporate some daily meditation if you can, even if it’s just some focused deep breathing. We’re in lockdown but we can still go for local walks, and goodness, I sure need them! I’m keeping up my yoga and personal training in my living room thanks to the wonders of technology, and getting out for a walk every day. This is critical for my physical and mental health.
- Focus on the elements of your birth and post-partum period that you can control. I’m doing lots of reading on the first few weeks post-partum to remind myself of those hazy newborn days and what to expect.
- Bond with your unborn baby. Spend time each day breathing and connecting with that beautiful life growing inside you. Your baby is the most wonderful blessing and will be such a beautiful source of joy and hope in these crazy times. Connect, focus and show love to your baby and yourself.
You’ve got this mama, and if you would like to reach out you’re welcome to shoot me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re all in this together.