Yes, another one. That’s the reality of this weird time we’re living in. Whether you’re only following your local news, social media, all the headlines, or just getting updates from your neighbor, by now it’s absolutely impossible to escape it.
What does that change for this blog? Nothing except maybe more posts as we sequester ourselves and try to remain healthy while still meeting the needs of our family. This time is completely unprecedented and so very strange — I imagine that is the sentiment you, dear reader, feel as well.
Initially speaking, there are a lot of changes that haven’t affected us much: I stay home with my girls, and until January when my oldest began 4-day morning pre-K, both were home with me. Now that schools are closed in North Carolina until at least May 15, I’m back to full time stay at home parenting. Good thing I’ve got some experience here!
As an added bonus, our third girl arrived two weeks early! And I do mean bonus: I felt slightly (and quite selfishly) robbed of the joys of the last few weeks of pregnancy with all that’s going on, so having her early cut some of that out. I know it could be worse but I’m grateful for a healthy babe, a comfortable and safe labor and delivery experience, and a fantastic at-home postpartum recovery. But, it was anxiety-inducing toward the end as far as how the changes with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, would change or affect our plans. Now that she’s here and home safe in our arms, it’s easier to hunker down for the foreseeable future. My husband is on paternity leave and my mom has been with us since the third week in March, so we are well cared for, but it’s also hard having a new baby knowing that the rest of our family and friends likely won’t meet her in person until she’s a few months old.
There are currently 304 cases in our county, and the news is calling for the apex of the death toll in the next week or so, and it’s all just so very weird. We have no sick contacts, but we have friends who have lost their jobs, whose jobs have been furloughed, whose hours and pay have been cut. Our friend recently died from gallbladder cancer and we are grieving his loss, grieving for his wife and kids, and yet feel helpless because of the stay-at-home restrictions in place. We could break the rules, too, but there’s the fear of infecting someone vulnerable or becoming infected ourselves, too, that keeps us inside.
My children are incredibly resilient. My just-turned-5-year-old and her almost-3-year-old sister began sharing a room in early March, and they have been getting along wonderfully. They play together, invent together, imagine together, and most importantly, sleep well together. That has made the transition much easier, even though some of their pretend play involves needing masks to go to the grocery store for party supplies. I’ve wanted to keep a journal for them when they get older, but so much of what’s going on right now has me completely mesmerized. I’m constantly stuck between the unsettling fascination of watching all of this unfold, and the fear of the unknown, and the frustration of lack of control, and the anxiety of our leadership not functioning cohesively for the good of the general public. All of it has culminated in a feeling of limbo given the unprecedented nature of this whole ordeal.
I can’t imagine doing this while working. I can’t imagine doing this with school age children who would miss out on instructional time (the irony of that statement is that until just this January I was fully planning on homeschooling my kids)! I can’t imagine doing this as a single parent. I can’t imagine doing this with a husband who cannot work from home indefinitely. I can’t imagine if my husband were in healthcare right now. And yet one or more of these things is the reality of so many close friends and family.
Our latest birth story will be up soon, along with how this pandemic has reshaped the postpartum experience for me. In the meantime, stay home and stay safe. And since we all have nothing but time on our hands, feel free to leave a comment…this is new for all of us, and I know I can’t be the only one who’s straddling the line between comfort and unsettled!