Pregnancy During a Pandemic
I haven't written a blogpost since June 26th, 2020. To be honest, I think I have been afraid of truly sitting down and processing all the feelings that I have been experiencing this past year and through COVID. It has been such a rollercoaster. Getting pregnant was such a blessing and the greatest gift that Paul and I could ever receive. But, I have also grieved a lot this past year for my business and honestly have felt so much just... exhaustion from the world that we are living in. The civil unrest, innocent black lives being killed, racism, a terrorist attack on our government and our country's democracy, people all around me having a lack of care/respect/empathy for others by continuing to live their normal every day lives during a pandemic without masks on, sharing dangerous rhetoric about science and a vaccine, and putting others at risk with their reckless behavior.
I am tired, friends. As a photographer, I think people expect you to share the "pretty" moments of life. To continue shooting the weddings. To blog about the family sessions. To book the senior portraits. To keep the studio up and running despite masks being removed and lives being at risk. To act like nothing is going on. To operate as if we aren't living in a global pandemic and civil unrest.
But... that simply is not me. I have always preached the importance of living by your values. And to continue to operate in silence and contribute to the problems at hand, it's just not who I am. So after getting pregnant and when our numbers started to really get up there, I decided to take a break from this business. I was just tired. Exhausted. Feeling incredibly out of place in this profession and entrepreneurial world. And needed space to focus on the good in our life - our son and keeping this family safe.
My last personal blogpost was about my journey with infertility. And so much has changed since then. On June 19th, we were able to resume our infertility treatment (despite COVID times). It was our second IUI and I truly felt hopeful this round. I focused on my mental and physical health prior to the appointment. I meditated. I prayed. I shared my story with others, in hopes to not only feel less alone myself but also to be a healing space for others. On July 5th, I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I honestly thought there had to have been a mistake at first. Like I had leftover hormones still in my system causing a false positive. But with each passing day, the line got darker and darker. And we knew we were finally pregnant.
Being pregnant during a pandemic is truly unlike any sort of experience or emotions that I have had before. After two years of infertility and wanting this SO badly, I knew how vital it is to do everything in our power to protect this baby. I made a joke recently about how I was having a Kylie Jenner pregnancy (because I have been in isolation for so long and not seeing anyone). While it was a joke, it was also the truth. Paul and I have spent almost an entire year now in quarantine. We see my parents from time to time (who are also in quarantine and just see us). Paul works from home and I teach my Parkland classes from home. We do grocery pickup and curbside everywhere. During the warmer months, we would sometimes see friends outside from a distance safely. But now that winter has hit, we are home every day. Just Paul and I. We know that seeing others isn't worth the risk of this virus for ourselves or our baby.
I often laugh when people make comments like... "when I was in quarantine, it was so hard!" Because... we never left quarantine. I also recognize too that we are in a place of true privilege to be able to be at home every day and work from our home offices. So I don't want this to come off as if I'm shaming or making anyone feel bad for the choices they have to make. Especially with the lack of governmental support we have been given. I recognize that we are in a unique position to do this and I am thankful each day to be able to do so.
Initially, I carried a lot of resentment and anger towards others that acted recklessly. It was hard feeling like this was a giant group project and we were doing our part to get the good grade, while others acted carelessly. But over time, I have had to make peace with only being able to control what I can control. And what I can control is being home and being safe for my son. Luckily, Paul and I have both been able to go to all of our doctor's appointments. My heart aches for all the partners out there who have not been able to attend ultrasound appointments or checkups.
After experiencing infertility for two years and going through this now, Paul and I truly feel like a united front. A team. Working together and willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to bring our baby boy into this world healthy. To keep him safe. To create a life for him. Some days are hard. I won't lie. It will feel like time is dragging on and I can only take so many more hours of Netflix or car rides to get out of the house. But most days, we focus on one another, our pups, and Liam. I think being pregnant during a pandemic takes your nesting up to a level 10 because you're just searching for activities to do.
The downtime has been the hardest, but also the most meaningful. Sitting in silence. Having nowhere to go. No more distractions. No more parties. No more trips. No more commutes. Evenings with friends. Dinners out. Your brain is forced to sit with itself. And that's when you have to confront those fearful thoughts and anxieties. To truly ask yourself, "What am I really afraid of?" "What is the meaning of all this?" "What is the purpose of this experience?" I have grown more in this last year than I have ever grown before. I have been challenged to sit in the silence and reflect on who I am, what I feel, what my values are, who I surround myself with, what my business stands for, where I am going in this world, what kind of life do I want to create for my child, what kind of marriage do I want to have. And made me appreciate the importance of family, health, and community. It's been hard to see others be silent about the injustices in our country or acting like the pandemic doesn't impact them personally. Because to not say anything or to change your behavior, is so damaging and dismissive to the issues at hand. To not acknowledge that innocent lives are being lost, that racism exists, that Black Lives Matter, that we should listen to scientists. The silence is deafening.
There have been moments where I have felt alone during this pregnancy. It's hard to go online and see other's living their lives as normal. When we have been home for this long. But... I wouldn't change any of this. I would do it again, and again, and again, if it meant bringing a child into this world for my family. And to be honest... pregnant or not... we would be living this way regardless. Because I want our country to heal. I want my family to be healthy. I want my friends to be healthy. I want our community to overcome this pandemic together. And our country to be better. To heal together.
In 59 days, my son is due. Liam. That's what we are calling him. It makes me teary eyed to think that one day I'll tell him, "You were born during a pandemic. And your mom and and dad did everything in our power to keep you safe. We prayed for you. We worked hard for you. And we are so thankful each and every day for you."