I was pregnant with my first baby two years ago, and one of the surprising yet lovely parts of pregnancy was how many people smiled at me. There’s just something about a big round belly and the thought of a future baby that makes strangers smile at you. People were extra friendly, and though I was always afraid a stranger would try to touch my belly (thankfully that never happened), I enjoyed all the smiles and even some small talk about my pregnancy.
Unpopular opinion: I actually think it’s kind of fun to be pregnant. I feel the same discomfort that many other pregnant people feel, and of course, I miss my active and agile body (and the ability to squeeze through tight quarters), but I also think there are some amazing parts of pregnancy. Unfortunately, a lot of the positives aren’t happening during a pandemic.
I’m currently in the midst of my second pregnancy, and I’m not getting smiles from strangers; I rarely leave the house. When I do, everyone is masked and trying to stay as far apart as possible.
I acknowledge extra smiles are such a tiny part of what makes pregnancy fun, but noticing their absence makes me feel so much for people currently going through their first pregnancy. I’ve heard a lot of discussion from first time pregnant people and how they feel like they are missing out on a lot.
Being pregnant during a pandemic means a lot of things. First, it’s scary with the risks of contracting COVID-19 while pregnant. On top of that, you’re still required to make frequent visits to the doctor–the last place you want to go right now. Plus, many patients are going to these doctor’s visits alone. Partners aren’t there to hold their hand, joining in the celebrations of healthy heartbeats or sharing the burdens of hard news.
Prenatal care aside, there are no big baby showers with family or even small office baby showers with coworkers. No friends are visiting to celebrate your growing belly. No travel plans for a well-deserved babymoon.
And it’s completely OK to feel sad about it. Whenever I’ve heard someone share that they are sad about pregnancy during a pandemic and the fun elements they’re missing out on, they also follow it up by saying they are of course just happy to be pregnant—something not everyone can experience.
I’m here to tell you: you can be sad about missing out on some of the more fun parts of pregnancy during a pandemic. You can feel sad about this while also being happy to be carrying a healthy baby. These feelings can exist together. One emotion doesn’t cancel out the other one. You can let yourself feel all the feelings.
You can feel sad about missing out on some of the more fun parts of pregnancy while also being happy to be carrying a healthy baby. These feelings can exist together.
I don’t exactly have advice for how to make your pregnancy more fun. I wouldn’t tell you to ignore safety regulations, but I will tell you to try to relish the parts of your pregnancy you can. Take pictures of your growing belly and appreciate the changes (even the hard ones). Zoom with your friends and family. Have a virtual baby shower. FaceTime your partner during a doctor’s visit.
It’s perfectly normal to have highs and lows during a pandemic, let alone during pregnancy during a pandemic. Allow yourself to be sad about what you’re missing out on, and also try to stay positive thinking about all the amazing moments you have ahead of you.