Born in a Pandemic
At the start of the CoronaVirus Pandemic in March 2020 I was 30 weeks pregnant with my second child, 19 months later we are still in the midst of the pandemic (which is truly beginning to feel like “The Song that Never Ends”) and I am now 26 weeks pregnant. I never thought I would be pregnant in a pandemic, and now I have been twice. I never thought I would give birth to one child in a time of global crisis, and here I am preparing to bring yet another life into the world, and as far as I can tell things remain a hot mess. It just goes to show you that life is wild and unpredictable, babies are born when they are meant to be regardless of outside circumstances, and for me my sweet babies are not the only thing that have/will be born during this Pandemic.
Let me explain.
Back when this all began, I like many, was initially swept into a spiral of fear and anxiety regarding all the unknowns and the sudden and drastic changes to life as we knew it. At the time, I did my best, as we all did to cope with the lockdowns and uncertainties. I used all my resources to ground myself and calm my nervous system. I intentionally shifted my energy from fear to love and I haven't looked back. There is to this day a pervasive presence of fear but I simply do not partake in that energy, and I recommend you don’t either.
In the early days I had hoped that things would be resolved quickly but as time passed I settled into the new norm and accepted that life will never be the same. I asked myself a lot of questions and even had faith that so many blessings will emerge beyond this crisis. I was certain that this was the beginning of the great reset, there would be a collective rise in consciousness and this event was/is part of the healing of both humanity and our planet.
A month or so into the pandemic I wrote this:
“ Let's focus on what matters most and try mightily to find meaning in this madness. We have the opportunity on the other side of this to maintain our tightening communities, to stay and shop local more often and appreciate the many and valuable resources our unique communities offer. Perhaps we will continue to #stayhome more deeply connected to each other than ever before and savor the value of togetherness over going out and spending our precious dollars on sources of entertainment and "non-essential" materials. Maybe, we can look at how we have been living and see that perhaps in some ways, this pandemic was a wake-up call for us to take better care of ourselves, to own our health destinies, enjoy each other more, and practice greater reverence for this planet?”
I was full of questions and wondered how the crisis of this pandemic might be the shake up and breakdown of systems and cultural norms that have long been in need of some serious tweaking.
“ We are being offered a significant opportunity to slow down, can we embrace this gift in whatever way we can, big or small? Can we clear clutter from our homes and minds and sustain a more minimalist mindset moving forward? Can we embrace the beauty and benefits of boredom and spend more time in nature absorbing natural light and scenery, allowing ourselves to receive all the benefits it bestows? Can you consider that maybe this time of crisis will support you in revealing the things you need to let go of and draw your attention and intentions towards spending more time doing the things that fill you up? Can we accept that life as we know it has most likely forever changed?”
From March to May 2020 I hunkered down with my boys. While the world spun into disarray around us, we grew closer together. Though challenging, I truly enjoyed those fading days of Leif being our only child. It wasn’t how I envisioned my final months and weeks of pregnancy but I know now I will cherish that time forever.
On May 23rd, 2020 at 10:23 pm, I made the spiritually transformative passage across the threshold of motherhood once again, birthing both Axel and a higher version of myself. My plan and long held vision of having a home birth was achieved (although It was always my intention to birth Axel at home it was the extra perfect setting for birthing all things considered). In a lot of ways the lockdowns and social distancing protocols were in perfect alignment with my plan for a quiet, restful and nourishing postpartum period. It certainly was an easy excuse to limit visitors and keep to ourselves as we adjusted to life as a family of four. Just one of many blessings bestowed by Corona.
As the Pandemic has continued on for months on end, as I spent the first year of my second child's life at home with both my boys (not what I had planned but again another period of time to be cherished), as I grow another human and we continue to navigate the policies and politics of #lifewithcovid; I have continued to reflect. I’m filled with many new insights and inquiries about what this all means. I have further clarified and solidified my core values and priorities. I have birthed so much perspective and gratitude. I’ve found even greater meaning in my role as a mother and an increased motivation to break any and all ties to the broken and corrupt systems of our nation.
I am willing to admit that perhaps I took certain things for granted previously and that I struggled with and resisted my identity as a mother. Being a stay at home mother (or any kind of mother) is the toughest, most unrelenting role of a woman's life and though I have always asserted that our children are our greatest teachers and that motherhood is a platform for great healing and transformation; for a long time I was at odds with the mundane of the day to day. I often felt as if I wasn’t living up to my full potential or higher purpose in simply meeting my family's needs. Through the isolation of covid, with all our simple slow time together, I have birthed a new perspective. In the world we are now living in, I question what greater role and purpose is there then helping to shape, guide and support the future generations through and beyond these turbulent times? I certainly have greater gratitude for being able to be with my babies, when previously I have felt like an odd duck staying at home (fact: nationwide prior to Covid only 1.2% of parents stayed home with their kids, that number has only risen slightly to 2.4%, and not necessarily by choice.) I now revel in the abundance of opportunity that being home with my children affords me.
They say that the days are long and the years are short, that couldn’t feel more true now; even with my exhaustion and at times irritability, I am appreciating the smallness and innocence of my children more now than ever. I see how unbelievably valuable all my time with them is, if I am not the one raising them, then I forfeit any right to complain about how the crazy ass world shapes them. As they also say, the problems you face when your children are small will seem like very small problems when they are big; now that we are facing bigger problems on a global scale, I wonder what the long term impact will be on our kids?
Like most parents I yearn for a better and brighter future for my children, but now that doesn’t feel like a guarantee (I suppose it really never is, and hasn’t been for so many). I feel an urgent call to do whatever I can to help my children create lives that are sustainable, healthful, and meaningful. One thing I can not take for granted is our level of privilege. I wonder how I and we as a family can do better not just for ourselves but for our community and most importantly for the Earth. I want nothing more than for my children to live in harmony with nature and to live to their full health potential. I hope that they will wholeheartedly commit to health not just as their birthright but as their responsibility and that they accept and embrace a lifestyle that produces well-being. Health certainly is not something I have ever taken for granted and I realize how much I have to offer my kids with respect to understanding wellness. I want my kids to know there is no silver bullet or magic potion when it comes to your susceptibility to any disease, to understand that how we live each day holds the greatest potential for health. I want my kids to be critical thinkers, who carefully make all their decisions, who do their own research and keep asking questions. I want my kids to be conscious consumers who understand the impact of the way they spend their dollars, who support local hard working people and the concepts of regenerative practices. I also want to instill the values of kindness and generosity towards others in my children, and truly hope they can be part of a more balanced society with systems that lift up those in need and offer equal rights for all. I want them to be a part of us coming together, to see us all as one, rather than the current divisive politics and ugly behaviors towards one another that we are sadly displaying now. Separation after all is the greatest illusion and source of human suffering. There will always be differences in people's beliefs and world views, but I think we need to be more respectful of our opposing views and remember that at our core, we are the same. Furthermore, social distancing is unsustainable on the basis that humans are social creatures, we are meant to live in community and meaningful connections are vital to our thriving.
“In the middle of every great difficulty lies opportunity” ~ Albert Einstein
“Consider your own place in the universal oneness of which we are all a part, from which we all arise, and to which we all return.”
― David Fontana
Historically most Pandemics end around 2-3 years after their onset, will that be true for Covid? Sadly, I would wager the aftermath and long term effects of Covid may continue on for years or even decades as we have all to our own degree experienced various traumas as a result of Covid, from which I fear, some will never recover. I am particularly interested in how this plays out for the more vulnerable members of our society and of course for our children. The lockdowns and masking policies for children have actually endangered many and come with their own health costs. There has been increased rates of: substance abuse, physical/sexual abuse, suicide and starvation. Our poor public health policies, school closures, and masking have known and unknown long term consequences when it comes to the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of our youth. I wonder how this will affect my own children and what I can do to lessen the blow? I wonder what my oldest has internalized, how much of the poor adult behavior has he noticed, what fears has developed around his own health, and what meaning he is making of this whole ordeal?
I still have so many questions. I am disgusted and discouraged in so many ways, and yet I have found even greater gratitude for my family and the life we are living. I still have great hope that we are simply in a phase of dying off, that right now the dark is simply being exposed to bring about something more beautiful than we can even Imagine. I pray that a new Earth will be born out of this pandemic.
I certainly have even greater reverence for the frailty of the human body, mind and spirit; and each day I consciously and intentionally renew my faith in human resilience, compassion, and the greatest energy of all-- LOVE.
As we turn towards the cold dark winter months, I am prepared to hunker down and contemplate further. Winter is an internal time of year, a time for reflection, nurturing and restoration. I will continue to reflect, to do my best, to be grateful for all that I have and am. I will stay open and keep exploring new perspectives as we weather this storm. I will once again prepare my body and spirit to birth another human, my last baby, my little girl; and I have no doubt she will be another highly conscious being whose birth will bring more LIGHT to this world.