(You Are Strong!)
Mama. That word. So precious. The moment you first hold your squirmy little baby is the moment your life changes forever. So what now… ? When life as we know it has changed forever and everything we expected has been turned into the unexpected, while we’re expecting.
This letter is to you, Mama.
Remember Generations of Mothers
Remember that we walk in the shadows of our ancestors. This gave me so much strength when I was about to have my baby. Mothers of the past have had babies on slave ships, during natural disasters, in frightening times of war, and even in previous pandemics. “I am woman, hear me ROAR,” should definitely be your chant here. Tap into that primal part of our brains and bodies that knows each part of the process has been done before, for millions of years, and that your body and soul are designed for this.
Times are tough, but you are tougher.
Know You are in Good Hands
Whether you are birthing in a hospital, at home, or a birth center, you are surrounded by professionals who have devoted their lives to the education and practice of safely delivering babies. Just like many of us put our entire soul into our careers and passions, they have too, and it’s all for you, for the moment that you need them.
Lean on them. Cry if you need to. Put your anxiety and fear (if you have some), onto them. They are ready and willing to take your burdens from you (emotionally and physically) when it is time to give birth. Trust that you are in good hands and know you are safe. They work in their field every day, read massive amounts of studies and books on their skills, take courses to keep their talents up to date, and put their all into what they do. They are going to do the best they can to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Special Concerns Now During the Crisis
It’s important to find out the hospital’s visitor policy. Many are allowing just one person in the delivery room, and they are not allowing them to go in and out as freely as before. So, maybe pack some extra snacks and drinks in your bag as it will likely be more difficult than before to order delivery and you’ll probably want to steer clear of communal vending machines. For some, this means choosing between a Doula and birth partner. That’s a hard choice. But, perhaps you can have your Doula on the phone or on a video chat with you for comfort and guidance.
Also, find out what the procedure is for the first newborn check-up. This is typically done in the hospital a day or so after birth. You may want to ask about your options as far as contact from the doctor for this first appointment and their guidance about the next few appointments (can any be done via Telehealth for example? Can you combine a visit to limit exposure?) These are all questions that a trained medical staff member or midwife will have to answer.
And, remember that you, the patient, have something called informed consent that is YOUR right.
So, you are allowed to be the final say in what procedures and check-ups you do or don’t do. Finally, it’s likely you won’t be at the hospital or birth center as long as usual, given the current events, if you are delivering at one.
Most professionals then recommend social distancing (currently the end date is truly unknown). And, my heart goes out to the grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and loved ones who won’t get to meet your newborn right away.
A Mother’s Mantra: “I Easily Handle Anything That Comes My Way”
I truly believe that everything is sort of designed to prepare you for anything that comes at you in life. Roadblocks are signs and detours are guides. For example… sometimes we expect the day to go one way… and then (clearly!!) it can all change in an instant. Like it has lately. Same goes with childbirth. We hope and expect to have our birth go as we “planned” – but we have to remember that we are not in charge! For one, that little baby is the one who decides which day he or she wants to join the world. From a release of hormones from your baby, the process begins. The rest of the process is a combination of forces… yours, your baby’s, and the circumstances around you. You can only control one of these: how you act and react.
Now, Mama… take a deep, soothing breath and repeat after me: “I easily handle anything that comes my way.” And, believe it! Because you can. Even if it’s tough, you got this.