Written by Arielle Spiegel—Founder, CoFertility
Nothing about my journey to pregnancy has been easy or “standard.” Between two and a half years of infertility, multiple surgeries and treatments, two cycles of IVF and multiple losses, getting to this point has been an uphill battle. And, I’ll be honest, once I did see those two pink lines this past October, this pregnancy hasn’t been a walk in the park either—lots of anxiety, a few early scares, falling sick a ton due to a weakened immune system...the list goes on.
I don’t share all of this to be a Debbie Downer. I share it to paint the picture of anyone who falls pregnant after infertility and loss. It’s amazing and rough in many ways, at the same time. And for many of us, it can be difficult to acknowledge the pregnancy—let alone celebrate it—until we feel confident that it is, in fact, really happening.
In my case, I only started really accepting my pregnancy once I hit 24 weeks or so. I was feeling good and finally ready to start ordering things for our baby, talking about the birth, signing up for classes and thinking about what his nursery would look like. Right on cue, the COVID-19 pandemic began to snowball.
I’ll state the obvious: for pregnant women, their health and their babies’ health should be the number one concern when it comes to the coronavirus situation. Anyone with good health right now is lucky. And my years of infertility treatment (which led me to create CoFertility, a site that aims to un-complicate the fertility journey) will add—anyone pregnant is lucky, too. Many have had their infertility treatment cycles cancelled due to coronavirus, and I can only imagine how crushing that must be.
All of that being said...it sucks to be (finally) pregnant and feel like you can’t celebrate it. No baby showers, no showing off that bump to the outside world, no test-driving strollers. This is a time that I’ve dreamed of for so long, and now that I’m here, it definitely isn’t anything that I imagined.
However, in this time of social distancing—which we should all be taking super seriously!—there are a few ways that we can celebrate pregnancy. Here are a few tips:
Put yourself together
I’m one of those people who feels put together when they look put together. But in my experience, looking put together during pregnancy can be a challenge. You order things in 5 different sizes to see what fits your ever-changing body, keeping comfort in mind. All while trying to not look so...matronly or cheesy.
My advice? Wear that stuff you’ve ordered anyway! Even if just for a Zoom call. As it gets warmer, go out for a long walk in that dress you were looking forward to wearing, or at least open your windows and soak in some fresh air.
I also highly recommend investing in some staples that achieve the holy grail of comfort and style. Personally, I’ve been living in my Superkin Legging for Days—they’re so high quality that they feel super luxe, but are comfy enough to wear during a virtual prenatal yoga sesh. Bottom line: I feel good about myself while wearing them. It’s the little things.
Arielle, wearing our Leggings for Days
Do something for the baby every day
Admittedly, I’m a Type-A list maker to the extreme. And when a baby is on the way, there’s always something to do, buy, or talk about. So it’s no surprise that something that has really helped me feel productive while social distancing is doing something—no matter how small—for the baby or postpartum life.
Yesterday, it was watching a 10-minute virtual tour of my hospital’s Labor & Delivery floor. Today, it was coordinating my breast pump order through insurance. Tomorrow, it’ll be unpacking the mirror I ordered for the baby’s nursery. These baby steps (pun intended) have really helped my mindset in feeling prepared and excited about the baby coming.
Consider a virtual baby shower
Social distancing has forced us all to adapt our normal routines as they all go online. But it can still be tough to wrap your head around the idea of a virtual baby shower or sip-and-see. These are supposed to be special moments you’ll document and always remember.
But think about it! Having your friends get together virtually to chat about your baby, play games, and more, does sound like fun. Or at least more fun than doing another puzzle and browsing Netflix. Ask a friend or family member to plan it. Hey, you’re giving them something to do, too. See if she will get your friends to chip in and send you some small decor, and have her put together a little timeline of how the shower will go so it feels somewhat organized.
If you’re all in the same time zone, time it so that it’s during brunch hours and challenge everyone to make a special brunch dish or cocktail. Put on a cute outfit -and some makeup. And CELEBRATE.
Make “mom friends” virtually
One thing I was looking forward to most during this time was getting to know others locally who are in the same boat. After all, once the baby is here, my schedule and life will probably look pretty different. It’s only natural that my social circle would become a bit bigger to include other parents.
But this effort doesn’t have to come to a halt during social distancing. Sign up for virtual classes where you know everyone will tune in via Zoom or Skype and introduce themselves. And join Facebook groups. A good rule of thumb is to type in your city followed by “moms,” and there are likely tons of local groups. Join as many as you feel comfortable with, and put yourself out there. Post your due date and say you’d love to connect with others due around the same time. You can even set up your own virtual “coffee” get-together!
Enjoy your peace and quiet...for now
A huge part of celebrating pregnancy is connecting with your partner (if you have one) and acknowledging that your current reality is about to change in a huge way. But since babymoons and date nights have been cancelled, sometimes that can feel difficult.
So, do what you can. I’m big into meditating, which is all about mindfulness—being super conscious of experiences and senses. But that applies even when you aren’t meditating. Sleep in and try to enjoy it. Read together. Focus on each other when you’re eating a meal, instead of watching TV or scrolling through Instagram. Enjoy the solo conversations, or, better yet, the blissful silence, while you have it.
While your pregnancy may not look like you envisioned, it’s still such a special time. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, and once your baby arrives, we can all say goodbye to quarantine boredom. Keep your eye on the finish line, and try to find ways to enjoy the journey as much as you can. We’re in this together!