mom and dad with their baby boy who was born during the pandemic
New Baby Encouragement

A Toast To The Pandemic Babies

By Alicia MacManus

It is generally accepted advice that you shouldn’t have a baby to save a marriage. But let me tell you, it’s not a bad idea when you’re trying to save a year. We have finally said goodbye to 2021 – a year that began with an insurrection and ended with a spicy new variant of Covid-19. Oh, and then in the final hours, Betty White died. Not great.

My social media is flooded with friends, acquaintances and celebrities kindly asking 2021 to kiss off.

And I would be feeling the same way if it weren’t for one tiny thing (actually he’s quite large) – the baby we welcomed in March. Honestly, it feels like I cheated. Because while 2021 did drain my soul and chip at my faith in humanity, I also straight up made a person. So at least I have that going for me.

Now, it was still a challenging year. It wasn’t all lullabies and toothless smiles. We went through the calamity that is infancy; jaundice, no sleep, postpartum symptoms, nursing complications, new sibling issues – we checked lots of fun boxes. But these small scale issues (and they don’t feel small at the time) distracted me from the outside world seeming to both crumble and stall at the same time. When the Delta variant first emerged I was in the throes of the four-month sleep regression. All my plants died because I was too tired and anxious to water them. I simply didn’t have the mental space for Delta.

So yes, new babies and new pandemic years both bring stress and uncertainty.

However, there is a key difference – babies come with reference points. These problems are google-able. Generations of Moms before me have been in these shoes. They’ve brought a baby home to a comically egocentric toddler. They’ve parented on 3 nonconsecutive hours of sleep. They’ve tried countless ways to get their baby to poop. They’ve survived. And they’ve lived to tell the tale.

This is one of the most anxiety provoking parts of parenting during these times – no one in the modern age has done it. We can’t call our Moms about how to get a 3 year old to wear a mask. Or read a book about the long term effects of social distancing for middle schoolers. We are the involuntary pioneers of parenting in a pandemic. We go without answers to many of our questions and are still expected to know what’s best for our families and our communities. It is unfair and exhausting.

This year I found comfort in these time-tested troubles.

Answers were always out there and sometimes they even worked. But at the end of the day, I had a little person (again, he’s massive) to simply take care of. A new life that forced my mind to stay in the present - engrossed by the daily struggles and hourly miracles I encountered along the way.

So I am grateful for my “pandemic baby”. I hope every day that title is something they all joke about together at college parties, completely maskless and without needing to use the word variant in a sentence. His mere presence forces that optimistic outlook upon me, while also keeping so many current issues at bay.

Here’s to 2022, to Milo and to all the other babies who’ve made their appearance in the last couple years.

We’re so glad you’re here.

Did you have a pandemic baby?

Let us know what your experience has been like in the comments below.

Our next reco: The Grief and the Grace of a Pandemic Pregnancy

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