Just three weeks ago, we were blessed to bring a healthy baby boy into the world. It was just days before things escalated with the coronavirus in Ohio and before the quarantine was put into place. “Social Distancing” and “Essential Businesses” were not a part of our vocabulary. My husband was in the delivery room, my daughters were able to be there for the birth, and visitors and grandparents came and went without thinking twice. We had no idea we were so lucky at the time. Imagining such a different situation now, has us counting our lucky stars.
Counting our lucky stars hasn’t stopped since the moment we got home. While some situations have become more stressful, news has brought us to our knees, tears to our eyes and worry to our hearts, many things have become easier and have been a blessing to us. We have chosen to focus on the positives each day and accept the situation for what it is. I can’t help but wonder, is this what the postpartum period is supposed to be like? Shouldn’t the postpartum stage be full of adequate rest, recovery and family bonding time? Is the quarantine why the transition to three children has been so much easier?
10 Ways Life Is Easier With a Newborn When Quarantined
- Sleep When the Baby Sleeps: Everyone always says this, but the reality is, in the normal postpartum stage, people don’t sleep when the baby sleeps. They do laundry, sit in silence, do dishes, pick up kids, write thank you notes, clean up toys or do whatever else needs to be done. But this time without anyone needing to be anywhere, I AM SLEEPING WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. It has made a world of a difference in my mental health and I get through each day without exhaustion. The extra two hours of sleep each morning is life-changing. Do I dare say I am getting more sleep now than I was when I was pregnant? Unheard of!
- My Husband is Home: Due to the virus, he is working from home. It provides an adult to talk to during the day, he is able to come up and check on the girls, he can switch the laundry, and start dinner because he isn’t having the time to commute. His help has made a world of a difference.
- Bonding Time as a Family of Five: Before the baby came, I was worried the girls would miss out on so much or feel sad to leave their new brother when it was time to go to school. I was worried we would miss out on bonding time as a family as we rushed to get them out the door each morning. Now, we aren’t having to battle that it is time to get dressed, get breakfast, or pack book bags for school or rush out the door. Now we can take turns holding our new little guy each morning (even though there is some arguing on who gets to hold him first) and bond as a new family. Since they are obsessed with their new brother, it has been a huge blessing for us!
- Germs: Of course, there is a HUGE worry about one of us or someone we know having the coronavirus. However, because we have practiced social distancing and the kids aren’t exposed to the regular preschool and kindergartner germs, I am not as worried about runny noses, ear infections, strep throat and RSV. We are all constantly washing our hands and the girls know they have to wash again before they touch their brother. We hope all these practices are keeping us safe and others safe as well.
- No FOMO: Even though I had promised myself that I wouldn’t try to do too much in the beginning, I knew this would be a hard one. Knowing my usual self, I knew that I would have a hard time not getting out. I would have still wanted the girls to do an Easter Egg Hunt, go to the zoo, have play dates and much more. But guess what?! All the events are canceled and we are making our own memories right in our backyard, just the five of us. The activities we have come up with are ones that I hope everyone will always remember.
- The Laundry is Caught Up: There is time during the day to get this done because we don’t have anywhere to be. The girls have learned to put their own clothes away. We are all doing our part and coming together as a family unit. I expected there to be a lot more laundry with a third kiddo, but being home has this under control as well. It’s the small things like keeping order, that make a big difference during the postpartum stage.
- I Have Time To Pump: If there is ever a time when I get to leave the house again, I have a stockpile of milk already going. We have had time to practice using a bottle and our little guy is a pro. Let’s hope that saved liquid gold is put to use sometime soon for a girls’ night out! Another bonus: I haven’t had to nurse in awkward public places and our son has never been bothered with a nursing coverup at home! Win-Win!
- Everyone is Wearing Leggings: I can wear black leggings all day, every day. I am not worried about fitting back into my jeans just yet. I might not put makeup on each day and that’s okay. I am comfortable and giving myself grace. I know everyone else is doing the same. What a gift. 🙂
- My Gym Isn’t Open: Before the quarantine, I knew I would have tried to rush back to the gym before my body was ready. Although I am so sad that System of Strength is not open just yet (but their digital studio is awesome!), I know my body is thanking me for going slow, taking walks, and just doing online yoga classes for the time being. I am listening to my body and I know this will be better in the long run.
- I Have Time For All of the Kids: Of course before we had our third, I worried if I could provide enough love and attention to each of our little people. Would the girls feel sad or neglected with all the time I had to spend nursing and with the baby? Having home school and being with them every day has provided the older kids with so much attention. Having two parents home has also provided them with the same love and attention, if not more. I also worried about the baby! Would he be getting all the love and attention he needed with two older sisters? With all of the time at home, I am also able to hold the baby, stare at him, and really soak up the newborn snuggles. I know his facial expressions, I know what each fingernail looks like, and I know his smell. I know I will look back at this time without regrets that we didn’t hold him enough. He has people holding him all day and his needs are met quickly. The time we have had to celebrate each child in our family is something I will forever treasure. The Cbus Front Porch Project has allowed us to remember this treasured time forever too. Be sure to check out the project and support local artists!
Although this pandemic has been an extremely worrisome time, our family has chosen like many other people to find the positive aspects of the crisis. Of course, there are times of sadness, grief, and disappointment. We are allowing ourselves to feel those feelings and not feel guilty when we feel those emotions. But we have learned so much about each other, about our love for our children, and about the unnecessary demands and expectations we put on ourselves on a day to day basis. We have slowed down. We have simplified our life. We have stopped the day to day rush and madness.
The most interesting thing that has occurred is that our little guy has been the most content baby I have experienced. Is it because we have brought him home into an environment that is laid back, care-free, and simplified? Are his needs being met without rushing and stress or was he just a content guy to begin with? This we will never know. But what we do know is that the timing of his birth has changed our lives, just like the coronavirus has. One day, we will all return to our everyday lives, but now that we have had this experience, what will we choose to keep out and what will we choose to come back in? For us, we will choose LOVE, FAMILY (because man do we miss our grandparents!), GOOD FRIENDS, and SIMPLICITY. If we can focus on these four things, then we can see that what we have right in front of us is all that we really need.
Oh, and a trampoline. We have learned that is one thing we have really needed to get through this quarantine too. 🙂