COVID-19 Observer
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COVID-19 Observer

Pandemic Motherhood Diary, Entry 2: Second Pandemic Birthday

This is the second entry in our series on the experience of raising two “pandemic kids.” Read entry 1 here.

By Melissa Menny

The pandemic has played a huge role in the mundane nature of our new routine. I have been home with my newborn for a few weeks and honestly, the adjustment has been a little difficult. The nights go by extremely fast. Our toddler’s bed is strategically placed on daddy’s side of our bed and our newborn’s bassinet is next to me. This temporary arrangement is simply to cater to their needs faster while I’m healing. Some nights our toddler doesn’t stay asleep and needs to be cuddled and placed back in his bed. Then our newborn cries to nudge us for his diaper change, feeding, burping, and rocking. Some nights he cluster feeds, which turns a potential hour of sleep for me in between feeds into twenty minutes or less. After taking turns with my husband tending to both of their needs, we look up and there goes daylight peeking into our room. The days are flying by it seems and although I’m still healing from my cesarean, it would be nice to not feel so restricted.

These days it feels like we are walking on eggshells. We are vaccinated but are still fearful, rightfully so. With a new variant on the rise, the idea of having anyone visit feels irresponsible. I can’t welcome anyone over with open arms to assist without thinking about the virus. Having home tests available has not rid me of my paranoia. I have children who are not eligible for the vaccine. Even if they were eligible for vaccination, the idea of them being ill terrifies me. The fear for them is intense now.

My toddler turned two last month. It was his second birthday without family and friends. I was naive to hope that things would be different following the previous year in the pandemic. I envisioned having all of his cousins over for bounce house fun and treats.

The continuation of the pandemic — and our caution — killed those ideas. Instead, our son, who just learned to say “birthday,” enjoyed a sprinkle covered ice cream cake with his baby brother and parents. It was definitely not as grand as the Cocomelon or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood birthday celebrations he’s used to watching. But because of those episodes, being sung to and blowing out candles made him feel special. It was no big party but the joy on his face was enough.

We have prioritized safety over many experiences for our sons. It has been a bittersweet decision that has sometimes left a bitterness whenever a milestone has been minimized. I dream of the day that we can take our two-year-old to a playground worry-free. It’s one of the many joys that I, a fairly new parent, feel robbed of, but still look forward to. And now with another son being raised in our world’s chaotic normal, I wonder what will he miss out on? What will be delayed for him as well?

Despite the fragments of normalcy being few and far between, I’m enjoying the closeness of family time. We are in awe of our new addition and enjoy spending time together. Still, as the weeks draw closer to the day I’m given the okay to do more physically, it would be nice to actually take our boys out. I have yet to experience the pleasure of hearing in person the oohs and aahs that come from gathering with loved ones. Being able to safely bask in the presence of love and allow my sons to feel that would be amazing right now.

Melissa Menny is an author with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. She is a poet and a writer in all aspects. When she is not working, she enjoys painting, music, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

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The Observer uses human stories, medical news, trends and culture to tell the story of COVID in America. The Observer is the news page of the website www.covid19wallofmemories.org.

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