Having a baby is an emotional roller coaster. Now, imagine having your child during a pandemic. You’re isolated, yet filled with love and excitement. Hospital visits are nerve-wracking. And once baby arrives, a lot of your friends and family can’t meet them.
Destiny Skubis is expecting her first child any day now. She wrote about her experience as an expecting mother during the time of COVID-19.
Dear baby, this is not how I imagined bringing you into the world.
January blessed my significant other and me with our yearly trip to a tropical island— our hearts filled with gratitude for the people who call it home. Little did we know, we’d be coming home a month later with the most ultimate souvenir: a baby on the way.
Now, this small life was invited, but the invitation was set for spring — April, to be exact. I didn’t anticipate a pregnancy after the long and harsh trip to Porus, Jamaica. Our lifestyle there is not what one would call conducive to good health or optimum for conception. We spend long days building modest homes in the hills, hauling materials in the heat, and usually eating only one solid meal at the end of the day. Equally, we have our fair share of rum and Red Stipe in favor of water, since it’s likely the only thing found cold.
When I learned of this pregnancy, I thought, “Wow, this baby really wanted to be here.”
In just a few short months, the pandemic was in full rage and the world was on high alert. It was surreal and alarming. Like many, I wasn’t able to work. I was deeply concerned for my health as I carried this new life within me. I continued to wonder how I was going to navigate the world with the threat of this virus. I asked myself so many times, can we both survive this?
I knew I wasn’t the only one who was expecting a baby during this crisis, but spending the first six months of my pregnancy under lockdown was isolating. The good news of our expecting baby was shared through strategic phone calls and a Facebook post. My partner wasn’t allowed to attend my midwifery appointments with me. My dreams of a baby shower passed by like the weeks under lockdown. It was all opposite of how I imagined it. Though my feelings were based off long-held dreams, in reality, I had nothing to compare it to. This is my first baby — quite possibly my only baby. So eventually, I came to peace with the idea of how it was all playing out — and celebrated it.
I found comfort in the uninterrupted bond that was being created between me and my baby. The stressors of the world were left outside of my sacred body for the health of my unborn. I didn’t want to burden their well-being with my worry, so I found ways to cope with my fears and lost dreams.
I started a journal to one day give our child to inform them of the world and its state. In one entry, I thanked their little soul for making its way when it did. Looking back, we never would have left an open invitation in the midst of a pandemic and life so uncertain. Again, and again, I’ve written to this baby, “You must really want to be here.”
April 30th, 2020.
For the last 49 days, your papa and I have been under a stay-at-home order. The whole outer world is in this situation with us. Someday, you’ll know of this event, but as for now, you are safest at home growing inside me. Your heartbeat gives me strength, and your movement reassurance. We’re going to be okay.
They — babies — are sentient beings long before they make their way earth-side. I’ve honored this life as a knowledgeable human since the knowing of its cellular arrival. If this baby felt like it could handle arriving in a pandemic — and during a time of the worst leadership known to time, injustice blatantly shown in the streets during peaceful protests and riots, and whatever else may come our way — then damnit, I’m going to honor their R.S.V.P to our invitation.
But I want you to always know, dear baby, this is not how I imagined bringing you into the world. But thank you for bringing the light into our darkest days.
MUSIC: “Key,” “Stash Pile” & “West Side” by Honest Monday