Updated: Mar 27, 2021
This is a question that has come up a lot in my Instagram DM’s - “how do I support my pregnant friends in the middle of a pandemic??” So I am going to do my best to give y’all some actionable tips so that you can support your pregnant friends and help them feel as normal as possible during a time that is not normal whatsoever.
Honestly, being pregnant during a pandemic robs you of a lot of experiences - especially if you’re a first time mom. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was so excited for the maternity clothes I was going to wear to show the bump off to friends and family, the big shower my mom and MIL were going to throw me when we went back up to Vermont for our annual summer trip, and of course having family and friends visit the little guy once he made his big arrival.
But that all came crashing down in March when we were hit with the virus. And not only was I grieving my old pre-pandemic life, but also grieving the pregnancy experience I was expecting to have.
I think the two hardest things for any mama-to-be right now are not being able to have a normal baby shower and figuring out how to handle guests after the baby is born. Here are some ways you can help support her through them!
Many mamas-to-be are doing mail-in showers, drive-by showers, or virtual showers. These really depend on the comfort level of the soon-to-parents, what the COVID rate is like in their state, and whether or not family and friends are local or spread out. In any case, I recommend you participate in whatever is being planned!
If it’s a drive-by or virtual shower, look nice, or at least put some real clothes on! It seems silly to “dress up” for something like this but trust me (and you definitely don't need to go all out), but your pregnant friend/family member will appreciate your effort! Don't show up looking like you just rolled out of bed. Trust me.
Ask her what items she really needs and pay attention to the registry! So many people will go rogue and buy baby clothes (because baby clothes are the CUTEST thing on the planet!) But remember that babies grow quickly, meaning they grow out of clothes at a crazy fast rate. Most of the time, they don’t get to wear half the clothes that were gifted to them - and this means the parents are left buying all the necessary things they put on the registry and donating those brand new clothes they weren’t able to use. Also consider the fact that $ is tight for a lot of people right now, so make sure any dollar you spend is going towards something that will be useful!
Make the shower a priority! I know we’re all burnt out on virtual meetings, but keep in mind that pregnant women are in the high-risk category and most likely aren’t getting a lot of in-person social interaction. Show up for her virtually (or in your car) like you would an actual in person shower. Your effort and enthusiasm will go a long way and show her that you care!!
Okay now let’s talk about the part that all new parents are dreading - what to do when the baby arrives. Honestly, there is no right answer here. Many parents are making decisions to the best of their ability based on information the CDC is releasing, as well as advice from their doctors. This is TOUGH. It’s a decision between keeping your baby healthy and safe, or having some much needed help (and sneaking in a nap or two).
If you take away one thing from this blog post, let it be this - respect any and all decisions that the parents-to-be make. Know that they’ve considered every option, consulted professionals, and yes - probably even made pro/con lists. At the end of the day, their #1 responsibility is to keep their baby alive and safe. If they decide they don’t want any visitors, know that it is nothing personal against you. Instead, try to plan some Facetime dates, drive over and look at the baby through the window (seriously people are doing this) or offer to go grocery shopping for them and drop them at the front door. Take the lead on what they need, no matter how bummed you may feel about not meeting the baby! And if they are allowing visitors, be respectful. Don’t wear out your welcome, make sure you’re healthy when you visit (and wear a mask if they ask), and offer to help with anything while you’re there!
That’s all I’ve got for now! These tips come from my own experience, as well as other moms-to-be that I have talked to during this time and this seems to be the general consensus! Always take the lead from your pregnant friends. Remember that everyone is different and is in a different place mentally right now - so be sure to check in with them and see how they’re doing throughout the duration of their pregnancy. It might even just be they need someone to talk /vent to! A lot of pregnant women don't want to feel like a burden to their non-pregnant friends, so they often will keep to themselves any sort of struggles they are having. Make sure you to let them know you are there for them in whatever way you can be! A little goes a long way. Any sort of support is always appreciated! And if you’re a mama or mama-to-be reading this, please drop any of your own helpful tips in the comments below!