Gwen turned 6 months old on January 8th. We made it through the newborn stage and the 4-month sleep regression (which went on for 8 weeks). Now she’s sleeping through the night, eating solids, and learning to sit up. She is developing her own little personality. She thinks that the word “hi” is hilarious. I thought that today I would chat a bit about what the past 6 months have been like.
What a weird time to become parents. We welcomed Gwen into the world as a pandemic completely changed the way we live our lives.
We try to focus on the good. Charles gets to work from home and isn’t traveling so he gets to spend time with Gwen every day. He isn’t missing the little moments like when she mastered rolling over or learned to stand while hanging onto an ottoman.
In addition to spending more time bonding with Gwen, having Charles at home every day makes my life so much easier. He does the 6 am feeding which means that I get extra sleep. Even more importantly, Charles has been there for the scary moments when we realized that Gwen is allergic to peas. Having a baby vomit all over you is scary and I appreciated that Charles was with me to navigate the situation. (She’s fine, we just need to keep her away from peas).
I am so grateful that we have been able to see my family in Maine twice, even if the journey meant spending 22 hours on the train. Gwen got to meet her Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents on my side of the family.
While we have been lucky to see my family, Charles hasn’t been able to see his family in a year since they are in Europe. We still don’t know when they will be able to meet Gwen. I add new photos to TinyBeans every day so that they can watch Gwen as she grows.
Sometimes I get sad because Covid has stolen away moments that I had been looking forward to for years. I know this is selfish. I know that it is a terrible disease and that people have lost their lives. Is it that important that we didn’t get fresh 48 newborn photos at the hospital? No. But, I am still sad about it.
We waited so long for Gwen and it doesn’t seem fair that the second half of my pregnancy (after recovering from severe morning sickness) was spent in quarantine. That a cloud of fear and anxiety about covid and the state of the world was a constant companion. I wanted to celebrate my pregnancy. I was excited to take pre-baby trips with Kelly and Charles. When it takes you 3 1/2 years to get pregnant, you spend a lot of time thinking about how you will celebrate welcoming a new life into the world.
But, as we all know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. I am lucky to have a happy healthy family. I am thankful for that every day. Gwen has brought indescribable joy to our lives. While her timing wasn’t the most convenient, maybe it was meant to be.
We have been home with Gwen every day. She brings so much happiness to our days during this sad and scary time. If you have to spend 6+ months at home, it’s ideal to have an adorable and snuggly baby with you. I think of quarantine as extra one-on-one time with Gwen (while Charles works from what used to be my home office). I have a new little bestie to spend my days with.
Still, there are days when it’s hard, or when there are moments of sadness. The other day I was working on Gwen’s baby book and there was a spot for a photo with Gwen and one of her first friends. It made me sad that we haven’t been able to go to any baby groups. We don’t have any baby (or Mom) friends here in Chicago. Thankfully, my sister and sister-in-law are also new Moms and Gwen has cousins her age. We get to Facetime with them frequently and we saw them in Maine.
One thing that I have read many times during the past year is that it is ok to be sad about the loss of things you were looking forward to. For me, some of the biggest moments of my life were totally changed because of covid.
I hated having to cancel my mother’s flight to come visit when Gwen was born. It was sad that she couldn’t meet Gwen right away, and having an extra set of hands during Gwen’s first days would be been so nice.
We haven’t had any childcare. We have just felt unsure of welcoming someone new into our home. Lately, it has been a lot to manage. I still take on some projects for this website and now Charles and I are about to move. We thought that either my parents or his parents would be able to help us move and watch Gwen.
You can be happy and love your life and still have hard days or frustrating moments. We don’t get “me time” or date nights. I can barely keep up with keeping everyone fed. I cook three meals a day for Charles and myself – yes Charles is an adult who is capable of cooking for himself but the food turns out way better if I do it, and since I am cooking for myself anyway I might as well make twice as much. I feed Gwen 4 times a day and pump 4 times a day. It can be hard to get anything else done.
This experience has made me stronger and it has made my marriage stronger. Charles has done everything he can to make motherhood during a pandemic easier. He stepped up when I needed him, like when I suddenly got mastitis and spiked a fever of 103 on a night Chicago experienced riots and looting. The next day he went to 4 separate pharmacies to find one that was still open and had the medicine I needed in stock – he ended up biking two miles to get there.
I guess I just wanted to write it all down. To remember the good and the not-so-great times. One day, hopefully soon, things will be better. This will all just be a memory. Covid won’t be part of our daily vocabulary.
I’ll end this by saying that I am lucky and I am grateful. Thank you to my virtual family for your support and for helping me to feel less alone while we continue to stay home.