Bringing a child into this world in any “normal” circumstances can be incredibly difficult. There are the sleepless nights, the hormonal changes, baby blues or postpartum depression, and the total change of life as you once knew it. There are the countless decisions that have to be made such as how you want to give birth, breast or formula feeding, cloth or disposable diapers, daycare or stay at home, and the list goes on and on. But being pregnant in this era of COVID brings on another huge list of decisions, critical decisions, that must be made- masks, no masks, limit guests, no guests at all, only vaccinated guests, do I get vaccinated? Since the COVID vaccine has become available, this is a major question on the mind of pregnant women.
Now, I am a medical professional. However, I am not writing this post from that point of view. This blog post is not to convince anyone to get or not to get the vaccine while pregnant, but instead to shed light on what seems like an impossible situation for pregnant woman.
My 1st COVID Baby
I am currently in my 21st week of pregnancy and look forward to welcoming a baby boy in December of 2021. I gave birth to my first son on March 10, 2020. That was exactly two days before the world started shutting down because of COVID. I remember being in the hospital with my newborn, trying to learn how to breastfeed while caring for myself and a newborn on no sleep. That was when I saw a news report come across the T.V. screen about the COVID-19 virus. I came home from the hospital with my husband and baby as people were being told not to go to the grocery store and essential supplies, including baby formula, were running low in stock. My milk supply with breastfeeding was not great, so we had to supplement with formula. Imagine my horror when I went online to order cases of Similac and they were out of stock! I panicked about how I would feed my baby. It is insane to think that that was even a reality in the advanced, privileged country that we live in, but it was our reality nonetheless. We had to limit visits from family and dear friends because we were terrified of our precious baby getting sick. We were stuck at home alone for months. More experienced people can give you advice that may be helpful when you have a baby, but there was nothing helpful anyone could tell us during that time, as no-one we knew ever had a baby in a global pandemic.
My 2nd COVID Baby
As I am now on my second COVID baby, I feel way more prepared to handle whatever situation this pandemic may throw at us. That first time around really felt like we were in the trenches of battle, so we are hoping this time around will be a little less dramatic. The big question with my first baby was when to let people meet him and if they needed to wear masks. On top of that, for baby #2, we also are forced to make the decision about being vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. For some people this may be a very easy decision either way, and if that is the case for you, then I am so happy for you. For the majority of us though, it is the most difficult decision we have ever had to make.
The Impossible Decision
In the culture that we live in, it feels as though no matter what we choose as pregnant mommas for our own bodies, we can’t win. And that is because everyone is so vocal with their opinions either way. Both sides can be harsh and extremely critical about people who disagree with them. As mommas, we only want to do what is absolutely BEST for our babies. Keeping our babies healthy is what consumes our minds during and after pregnancy. So when people make the claim on either side of the argument of, “oh, well you just don’t care about your baby,” those comments hurt. Like, down at the deepest part of ourselves.
If you choose to get the vaccine, then in the back of your mind for your entire pregnancy you are wondering if you did the right thing, hoping and praying that all of the study results were accurate, and that nothing adverse will happen to your precious baby. You feel a slight twinge of guilt that something may possibly go wrong because of your decision.
If you choose not to get the vaccine, then in the back of your mind for your entire pregnancy you are wondering if you did the right thing, hoping and praying that you don’t contract a severe case of COVID-19 that will kill you or your precious baby. You feel a slight twinge of guilt that something may possibly go wrong because of your decision.
The Importance of Respect
At the end of the day, we have to respect mothers’ decisions and what they choose for their bodies and for their babies. We should respect mothers for how they choose to give birth, feed their infants, discipline their children, whether they are working-mothers or stay-at-home-moms, etc. So, in that same vein, we have to respect mothers whether they choose to vaccinate against COVID-19 or not, realizing that this has likely been the hardest decision they have ever had to make; it’s something that has kept them awake at night, kept their thoughts racing in the middle of the day, and possibly brought tears to their eyes. We all just want healthy, happy babies. Let’s support each other as mothers through these crazy times. We won’t be sorry we did.