As if pregnancy isn’t difficult enough, the COVID-19 crisis is adding a whole host of additional concerns, stressors, and discomfort to women who are expecting. Restrictions being lifted can be confusing and anxiety-provoking as pregnant women attempt to navigate what is safe and not safe, while also facing the unknown and uncertainty of what life will be like during labor, delivery, and the postpartum period.
What I’m hearing from pregnant women:
- guilt for bringing a baby into this environment
- guilt for not enjoying their pregnancy as much as they hoped to (especially if it was difficult to conceive)
- grief and losses of their experience (baby showers, celebration, prenatal care experience, birth experience)
- fear of the birth experience
- fear of lifting restrictions
- unknown and uncertainty of the future
- loss or limitation of coping skills
- feeling of being “quarantined within quarantine”
- feeling disconnected from themselves and others
If you find yourself identifying with any of these feelings, you are not alone! Here are 6 tips for managing your emotional wellness during the pandemic:
- Focus on what you can control.
- Create your birth plan. It may look different than you had hoped, and may have to be flexible. Remember to ask yourself – what can you still control? (Example: What belongings would you like to bring to the hospital? How do you like to feel supported?).
- Find creative ways to celebrate and honor this pregnancy and this baby. This is still a wonderful thing, and you can still have a beautiful experience!
- Make time to connect with baby (try a gratitude journal, meditation, or virtual prenatal yoga)
- Create a postpartum plan. (Who can still fulfill support roles? Weigh risks/benefits of having in-home support)
- Set expectations low. This is hard, and you can only do what is within your control.
Pregnancy can be a lonely and isolating time in general, even more so during a pandemic. Don’t be afraid reach out to friends, family, your medical provider, or seek professional support.