Around 3 months into this pandemic hitting Canada, business has started to open up, gatherings are getting larger, and my anxiety as a first time mom (FTM) was through the roof.
Here’s the kicker, not only do they not send you home with any semblance of a guidebook, or top 10 list of how to be a parent, they don’t even prepare you AT ALL on how to raise a kid during a global pandemic. The nerve, eh?
Week after week, Jonathan and I would watch and listen to CBC for updates on the infection rates going up in the country and province. The death rates were on the rise and the many shut downs and precautions were having to be made in order to slow the rate of this disease. This started on March 15, and I had Felix on April 11. I didn’t even think about leaving the house until the end of June; we had officially become recluses. We avoided going out like the plague it was; instead, we had so many things delivered and shipped to our house. Our hands were bleeding from all the hand sanitizer and washing. We were trying to keep this little love bean as healthy and safe as possible while trying to figure out how to be first time parents (FTP) too.
To gain back some semblance of routine with the outside world, I signed up for online baby classes; I had some intense sessions with my therapist online; and every single opportunity I would get, I would snuggle the heck out of my child. I promise, he did not mind.
Things started to let up near the end of May, when our government decided to alleviate some restrictions to businesses opening, allowing for larger groups to congregate, and encouraging people to go out doors. Felix, Jonathan and I would strap on the ol’ tennis shoes and pound the coulees with our big dog Finnegan. There we were, tromping up and down the stairs at our favourite dog-run with not a care in the world for an hour each day. Still, we couldn’t help trying to stay away from others as far as humanly possible. Getting too close would make my palms clam up and heart-rate sky rocket.
Up until mid-June, Jonathan had been the primary errand-runner. He’d leave the house for groceries, house supplies, diapers, you name it! However, by this point, me being home for almost 4 months straight, I was starting to go stir crazy. Walks with the dog is great, but I’m what many would describe as a social butterfly. I was craving human interaction outside of the household and computer screen. Even just putting eyeballs on another person who wasn’t someone walking outside of my window in the living room would be enough! I had to go shopping, needed to go shopping! This postpartum body had pretty much only night shirts and nursing dresses for coverings, so a shopping trip truly was in order. As many clothing stores weren’t open (online of course was functional, but I didn’t know what size I was anymore; I just had a baby, you guys!) So off to Superstore, where they have everything you could possible need including shorts and t-shirts! It was almost summer after all. Long story short, I was headed out into the real world! It was probably one of the most anxiety-ridden shopping trips I have ever made. Even with the face masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing, I was a ball of nerves. Needless to say, I did not have a good time.
Trying to keep our child healthy and safe during a pandemic and a brand new immune system has been quite the charge for us as new parents. We barely know what we are doing regardless of this pandemic and navigating this pretty scary world has been daunting. Especially when it comes to choosing who can and can’t come into our lives at this time. Our own mothers weren’t able to come see the baby for over a month after he was born! They too had to slap on their masks and bathe in sanitizer before we felt comfortable enough for them to hold Felix. These are the tough and sometimes, not so popular decisions we have had to make in order for us as parents to feel comfortable with people meeting our son.
Choosing the hardest of decisions sucks, especially when all we want to do is show off this gorgeous specimen of a human being we created to everyone with eyeballs. Every family makes decisions that has to suit their life. Whether that means letting your children visit their best friends during a pandemic for their mental well being or perhaps it means your mom goes to have coffee every day with her friend in her apartment because she’s lonely; people do what is best for their family and person. It’s not a reflection on the person why we choose to keep our son away; it’s just what is best for our family at this time to keep us healthy.
What are some of more difficult decisions you have had to make during this pandemic? Drop me a line in the comments and commiserate a little, eh?