March 2020 and relief. Not two words people usually put together. But for me, the fact that I couldn’t leave my house and didn’t have to come up with an excuse to say yes to an activity that I didn't want to do was a breath of fresh air. Especially because I had just found out I was pregnant - the day the world shut down.
The test read positive, we celebrated, and then promptly hit up Costco to stock up on toilet paper and bottled water. But while the rest of the world was freaking out and preparing and changing plans and working from home, I was playing outside with my toddler and growing a new baby while my husband watched from his home office window. Later we would eat dinner as a family and have an easy, slow evening together - tag-teaming bedtime and then settling in to watch yet another season of Schitt’s Creek. It might not have been the smartest or most thoughtful move, but I did my best to shut out the world and just focus on keeping my own little family safe, healthy, and happy.
My goal here is not to discount the devastation that the Covid-19 pandemic caused our world. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones and is so grateful for those who have risked their lives to care for others. My own mental health and that of so many others was so deeply affected, and I’m truly not sure we will ever fully recover. But a lot of good came of this, too.
My husband got to actually get to know our 1.5 year old for the first time in his life, thanks to eliminating a 2-hour round trip commute every day. He was there to support me through the grueling first few months of pregnancy. He was there for our life - not just for dinner and the bedtime routine.
I took a serious inventory of my life and the people in it. Friendships fell to the wayside that weren’t positive influences. Other relationships blossomed and to this day mean the world to me.
We got outside - every day, no matter the weather. It was the highlight of our days to let our son wander around the park and discover things. To throw sticks in the creek and watch them flow to the other side of the bridge, to walk and walk and walk with nowhere in particular to be, to color the side of the house with chalk.
My birth experience was blissful. It was full of slow moments, looking at memes with my midwife. It was my husband heading home after our son was born to be with our other son, leaving me with 24 amazing hours to bond with my new baby. It was my parents waiting at our house when we got home from the hospital with a homemade meal and settling back into our life with ease and time and no need to figure it all out right away. There was no pressure to include anyone in those early months of my baby's life - it was just our little family, at home, getting to know each other.
And the best thing of all that came from the pandemic? My precious, angel baby boy.
Those first months of the pandemic were full of questions, anxiety, and tons of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer. Looking back on how we would leave our groceries outside on the back patio for hours after shopping and wear gloves to get the mail is humorous. It seems so far-removed, but it really wasn‘t that long ago. There were no concrete answers back then, and we were all just doing our best - a life lesson I’ve tried to remind myself of as I work through the early years of motherhood.
The last few years have taught me to slow down - to appreciate what is right in front of me and to not take anything we have for granted. I have learned to breathe slowly and remind myself when I am overwhelmed that we are safe and together and that is all we need. Nothing like a global pandemic to encourage you to rethink how you see your entire life.
I have no interest in going through this again and would never wish it upon anybody, but in a weird way, I'm grateful this happened to me.