Everyone is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interruption of normal life, scarcity, loss of income. All very real, scary things. But if you're pregnant or a new parent, it can be even more isolating and anxiety inducing. If you are pregnant or have a new baby, NOW more than ever is the perfect time to get creative and build your village. Ask for help. Seriously. It can be hard but you and your baby are worth it. This list offers some ideas of what you can ask for, but get creative and feel into what you need and want. OR If you are some who knows a pregnant or new parent, help them by offering something on the list below.
1. Drop off a freezer meal!
If you are quarantining and feeling healthy and free of illness, make an extra batch of what you were already making for yourself for dinner and drop it on their doorstep. No need for physical contact. And nourishing for heart and body.
2. Buy them a gift certificate to their favorite take out spot, provided they're still open and offer delivery. This both helps feed your loved ones AND helps float small businesses during this rough economic time.
3. Offer to pay for a virtual pre/postnatal yoga class.
There are so many awesome teachers out there offering zoom classes. Yes, they're not the same as an in person class. But they can also provide some comradery and normalcy by "being with" other people in the same boat.
4. Send them MONEY for a Postpartum Support Services Fund
(and encourage others to do the same)! There are almost always inevitable costs in the postpartum period. Lactation consultants, physical therapists for birthing parent and/or baby, unexpected medical costs, doula, etc. One of the biggest ways to support new parents is making sure they have the money they need to get the professional services they need NOW. Seriously, restrain yourself from buying that extra cute newborn onesie and booties that they will use once. Get them the actual support they need.
5. Plan a Virtual Mother/Parent Blessing
Just because we can't gather in person (or maybe ESPECIALLY because we can't), doesn't mean we can't come together and do something meaningful. A Mother/Parent Blessing is a gathering to celebrate the transition of the woman into mamahood or person into parenthood. It's focus is not around gift giving, but rather around infusing the parent-to-be with love and community. See my POST on elements to build a Mother/Parent Blessing Ceremony (Coming end of March).
6. Be Ready to Hold Space for Birth Experiences
It is highly likely that your loved ones birth experience during this pandemic will NOT be like they envisioned. Hospitals are implementing restrictions on the number of support people that are allowed to accompany the birthing person. AND many are frightened of going anywhere near a hospital at risk of exposure to the virus. AND there will obviously be a lot of isolation and lack of hands-on support at home because of quarantine restrictions on visitors. This is a time to really beef up our compassionate listening skills. Avoid "silver lining statements" like "at least you have a healthy baby" or "at least you had good medical care." Just listen. The best thing you can say is, "I'm so sorry that happened. I don't even know what to say. But I'm here for you." Watch this AWESOME short video by Brene Brown on Empathy for more on this. Also avoid feeling the need to jump into "fix it mode." If you really do have a suggestion you can say something like "Are you open to hearing an idea I have that might help?" This simple request of permission can make all the difference in how that idea is received. This is by far the most challenging point on this list. Be compassionate with yourself too if you struggle with this!
*None of the above is meant to be construed as medical advice. I am not a medical professional. Please consult with your providers.