Motherhood In the Time of Corona
Do you know what you’re doing?” My newborn daughter asked as I changed her diaper for the first time. I was of course having a pregnancy-induced nightmare. It was a recurring dream I had several times as my due date approached.
At birth, there were complications. She was on oxygen and connected to the littlest feeding tube I’ve ever seen. On the fourth day, she was strong enough for us to hold. As the NICU nurse handed my daughter to me for the first time, I apprehensively asked, “Am I doing this right?”
It was another two days before we were able to bring her home. As I strapped her into the car seat, I asked the discharge nurse, “Am I doing this right?”
Our first night home, I wondered, do I need to remove a layer of clothing? I’ve read it’s dangerous to overdress a baby at night. What was that trick the lactation nurse showed me to get her to latch? How many wet diapers is she supposed to have per day? My anxiety as a new parent was exacerbated by her time spent in NICU. The question “Am I doing this right?” hung over my head like a storm cloud. Many of my fears were common for first-time parents. I could turn to trusted friends, sisters, or my mother for advice.
In the time of Corona, I have to contend with new concerns that past generations have not had to endure. I could not rely on the experiences of those around me to guide me through this new phase.
I struggled with a mountain of questions. Will the isolation affect her social skills? She will never meet her grandfather in person- we lost him in December. I did not take her to have her photo with Santa for her first Christmas. Nor did I take her to meet the Easter Bunny. Will she be disappointed about all she has missed out on? When the house is dark and still at night, the anxiety creeps in and I wonder if I am doing this right.
She’s overcome the adversity that she faced at birth, and she is now a healthy eight-month-old. She falls asleep kissing my face, and when she wakes up, I am greeted with wide, gummy grins. Her baby laughter fills my heart and my home. When I see the joy on her face, I know I am doing something right.