Pragati Gusmano with baby

5 Pieces of Advice For A New Mom During A Pandemic

I was in my hospital room when it occurred to me how different things were going to be this time and I was leaving my hospital room when I thought of the 5 pieces of advice for a new mom during a pandemic…that I would just have to share.

My room wasn’t overflowing with flowers or people. Instead, it was just me and my daughter, as she slept quietly in the bassinet beside my bed. My belly and heart were aching simultaneously. I knew going into her birth that it would be a cesarean, but the pain this time around felt almost unbearable. 

If I am being honest, I would say it was a combination of the emotional and physical pain of having a child without my support system. 

Sitting alone with my thoughts, I imagined my sisters arguing over whose turn it was to hold the baby. My mom, making sure I was warm, fed, and had enough pillows. She would have snuck kitchari and cookies into my hospital room, and her friends at the hospital would have stopped in with good wishes. My husband, starry-eyed,  like every dad gets when a new baby comes, would be tired and overjoyed with me. Instead, my husband was home with our toddler and our dog. It was just me and my precious new baby. Thankfully, we had the television to fill the excruciating silence.

I sat in my hospital room missing each of them, missing all of it, and everything that I thought would have been happening in those first hours that Serena was earthside. 

I knew that Covid was a scary reality in the weeks leading up to her birth, but I did not know that nearly a year later, our lives would still be so incredibly lonely. Nearly 9 months since her birth, she still knows only us. 

If you’re a new mom, or about to be a new mother, I see you. Giving birth so early in the pandemic didn’t give me much time or resources to plan accordingly. I winged it, but you don’t have to.

5 Pieces of Advice For A New Mom During A Pandemic

  1. Allow yourself a support person.

Pick a family member outside of you or your partner who will agree to the same Covid precautions you follow. Let this person into your bubble so that you can have help when you need it. For us, this was my mom. She was able to visit us 1-2 times a week when Serena was first born and this was so helpful. If this person can stay with you, that is even more ideal. 

  1. Have someone stay with you in the hospital.

Most parents plan on being together for the birth of their baby, but hospital Covid policies have made this more difficult. If you have other children, try to have a plan for them so that you don’t have to be alone in the hospital. If it’s possible, have your support person be the person who helps manage your little ones while you’re in the hospital. This will allow your partner to be with you during the birth and through your stay. 

  1. Feeling scared and anxious is normal – especially right now.  

Know that it is normal to feel anxious, worried, and sad after you have your child. Having a baby during a pandemic is incredibly hard. Be gentle with yourself. Know that even if you had or didn’t have PPD or PPA with your other children, you may experience it this time. Seek out a provider that can see you via telemedicine appointments or in person. There is not a mother anywhere who isn’t stretched too thin right now. Talk to your partner and your support person if you feel like the “blues” are more than just that. 

  1. Find something that brings you joy. 

When my PPD/PPA really set in, I remember making a list to remind myself of what made me happy. It was simple, but it said: being outside, the mountains, taking photographs, music. I used that list to carry me through the difficult days and weeks. My husband gifted me AirPods so I could listen to my favorite songs while I nursed. I found a few moments each day to sit in the sun because it made me feel warm and happy. And I walked when I could and I cried when I needed to.

  1. Make time to connect with friends and family outside of your bubble.

Having spent the better part of year with just my immediate family, I truly miss the connection of friends and coworkers. I am grateful for a supportive “virtual” community but I want to encourage you to make time to “see” your friends. Schedule a virtual “sip and see” so you can share your new baby, try to make a monthly check in call with friends/family and really prioritize this for your mental health.

If you’re not someone who is the first to reach out when you need help, task a sister or best friend with this. Tell them to check in on you weekly. Tell them to FaceTime or set up a zoom to encourage you to show up. It’s so easy to get lost in the care of a new baby but taking care of a new mom is equally important. 

Despite all of the challenges that we have faced as a community in the last year, the birth of a baby is a simple reminder that there is still joy to be had. Whether you are a new mom, or a veteran mom, the world is cheering for you. We are cheering for you. And we know that you will come out on the other side of your baby’s birth stronger and more full of love than you ever thought possible. 

Written by: Chai Mommas Contributor, Pragati Gusmano, ND. Pragati shares on her Instagram handle @happyandwell, her knowledge of naturopathic medicine, experiences in motherhood and more. Her goal is to help parents raise healthy, happy kids. 

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