While most of us are used to the highs and lows of parenting, we often choose to celebrate and only depict happy times to the outside world. Even as we’ve entered this extraordinary time of a pandemic, we find ourselves seeking normalcy and creating expectations of productivity and balance. Yet, as we are forced to close ourselves off from most of the outside, we are facing the challenges of motherhood with additional fears, stressors, and disruptions...all in isolation.
Now, the simple question of “How are you?” is so loaded. That's why we wanted to ask mothers “How are you, really?”.
We're highlighting stories at different points in their parenting journey and showcase what navigating motherhood is like during the COVID-19 crisis. Below, you can read Taryn's story, who runs a small business and recently gave birth.
Taryn Gross, of Twinkle and Toast, is a mother of two girls along with my partner Justin. Avery is four and our newest addition to the family, Sawyer, was just born early April.
How is the COVID pandemic affecting you and your family?
Our daughter Avery is extremely social and absolutely loves school, so we’ve been heartbroken for her as she’s forced to be away from her friends and daily routine that she thrives with. I own a small business specializing in custom wedding stationery, and the wedding industry has been hit hard as social gatherings are prohibited.
Although I was planning to take time off for maternity leave, I’m facing a lot of unknowns navigating events and jobs for upcoming clients. My husband is now working from home, so the bright side is that I am so grateful to have him in arms reach to help with our newborn and preschooler (who we thought would be in school when the new baby arrived) when no one else can come over to help me.
In a one-word response or short phrase, how are you REALLY doing during these strange and extraordinary times?
Honestly: not the best! (Postpartum emotions have really heightened this experience)
What is a fear you have faced during this time?
Having a new baby can be very isolating, and during a time when we are all physically isolated, I’m feeling a lack of support. Motherhood was not meant to be done alone, and I’m really missing my community to lean on. I fear not having help, not having breaks, not having someone to hold my baby so I can take a minute, losing myself and being alone. I also fear that all of this will overwhelmingly be our memories of when our baby was born, and I won’t remember the newborn joys. I am trying to look at this time as an opportunity to slow down and take our time not being rushed at home with a newborn.
What has surprised you most during sheltering from home?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well my partner and I have been getting along! We’ve been the only source of socialization for one another, and we aren’t at each other’s throats. I love him and this has made me realize even more how much I am thankful to lean on him. He’s been so optimistic with everything going on, and he’s always here for our older daughter who is begging to have someone play with. I can’t wait for this to be over and go on a real-life date with him.
Have you learned anything during this time?
I’ve realized how much I love our normal simple day to day routines that I miss now. I don’t miss the big events- I miss going to the park, grocery shopping, school drop-offs, etc. The things that seemed mundane before, I now appreciate in a whole new light and can’t wait to get back to.
Can you share anything about being pregnant during COVID-19?
If you’re pregnant right now, I understand if you’re scared. I was a nervous wreck leading up to our birth, with everything changing daily and so many concerns about the hospital. What I would like to tell you is that you’re in great hands with your health care providers. Remember that babies bring out the best in people, and everyone will be happy to celebrate that with you. We had a great birth experience, and it actually felt like we were in a bubble away from everything and totally forgot about the news in the world for a while. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a calm, joyful experience overall.