At the start of this year, my husband and I felt we would be ready to try for another baby come summer. Growing a family in the shadow of a pandemic has proven its challenges.
Our son would turn 4 in May, and was quickly becoming potty trained. This was the age gap we had always planned on between kids. We were starting to lay our financial ducks in a row, and talking about hypothetical plans of which set of parents would come stay with us for a bit when child number two was born. My husband had started to look ahead at his work calendar and save up days off for the future. I was excitedly mentally preparing myself for life with two kids. Then, Coronavirus came around, and life, as we all know, was put on hold. Growing a family was put on hold.
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Growing a Family, A Tough Decision
For the first month of the pandemic, we decided we’d probably still be able to stick to our timeline to try for another baby. Maybe we’d have to move our time line back a bit into later summer, but that was still do-able. But as time went on, and we saw just how bad things were potentially going to get, it became very clear that our timeline might have to move further. One day, as I made an off hand comment about having a new baby come next January, my husband sat me down, looked me in the eye and said “you know that’s not a good idea right?”
My heart sank. I did know deep down that he was right, but I wasn’t ready to admit it out loud yet. I wanted to live in the fantasy world of having a new baby to smell, cuddle, and take care of in a few months. I got angry at him and spent a few days randomly crying or yelling at him about how he wouldn’t let me have a baby.
But, I came around and apologized. He was right and in my heart I knew it too. It simply did not make sense for us to have a baby in the middle of a global pandemic just to hold on to some arbitrary timeline I had made for myself.
My Reasons Why Not Now
- My sister is an OBGYN in New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas of the country back in March/April. The horror stories I heard from her were enough to scare anyone into waiting just a bit longer. Tales of overwhelmed hospitals, and the potential to be separated from my husband and son while having to have a new baby all by myself sounds exhausting and terrifying. Also, people are dying of a global pandemic. Every. Day. I do not want to be in a hospital where that is happening if I can help it.
- I have to have a c-section for any future children (thanks genetics for the super small birth canal), which requires a longer hospital stay regardless of a pandemic. I don’t really want to be in hospital for any amount of days right now if I don’t have to be.
- I’m still young. I still have some years before growing a family will become more challenging due to age. I can afford to wait a bit. I realize I’m lucky in this and not everyone has that luxury, but since I have it, I’m going to take it.
- Both my parents and my husband’s parents live 18+ hours away. We wouldn’t have a strong support system locally to help us. Normally, the grandparents fly here all the time. However, being that they are all over 60 and have some underlying health conditions that put them more at risk for Coronavirus, it seems like another reason to wait one more year (or two) rather than have them fly out to us.
- This could be wrong or changing information, but I’m pretty sure right now hospitals are limiting the number of people who can come in and out of maternity wards. My sister is currently due with her third child in August (she was pregnant before the pandemic started in earnest). From what she has told me, she and her husband will need to decide if her husband is going to stay the night in the hospital with her or not. If he decides to go home with the other kids, he can’t come back in. Luckily for them, they have some of his family members around to help and she will be surrounded by colleagues at her hospital. They have a good support system. If it were me, my husband would have to stay home with our four year old son while I would go through a major surgery all on my own. That is something we are simply not willing to do if we don’t have to.
- As I said earlier, this is an unprecedented global pandemic. We have already seen friends lose someone because of this virus. Newborns just don’t have a big immune system yet. Again, if I can help not having a newborn to worry about getting sick during a pandemic, then I’ll wait.
- Right now, we are financially okay, and I think we will be during this time. But, what if that changes? Yes I know that could change even in normal times, but again, GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Nothing is normal right now. So if that means we circle the wagons a bit and watch our spending a bit more than we normally would, then we do that. Children cost money. Hospital stays, surgeries, and newborns cost money. We don’t need that extra financial burden right now if we can help it, and we can help it.
- I don’t want to “live in fear” but I think right now a healthy amount of fear is okay. We all live with a healthy amount of fear daily. It’s what keeps us putting seatbelts on in a car ride. It’s what makes me caution my son when crossing the street. It’s okay for me to recognize and admit fear of having to go into a hospital right now.
I’m Lucky To Have The Privilege Of Time
I absolutely know and recognize the privilege I have of waiting to have another kid right now. I am so incredibly sad and heartbroken over what might have been. I know many women who are pregnant now, or have delivered a child already during this pandemic, and I have seen just how hard that has been on some of them. I do not envy them in that stress, and am in awe of how they have handled it. But, I know my limits. I know I could not and would not handle that well. So, I will wait. We will wait. We are lucky enough to have time on our side. It may be a year, or two, but there will come a time when we can grow our family and our next baby can be welcomed into the world with our family surrounding us.
Photo Credit :: Lynn Walker Photography