Pandemic Baby — growing up not seeing faces

Being born when voices are known and faces are unrecognized

Hannah Greene | Guest Contributor

I found out I was pregnant in July of 2020, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. I was laid off from all three of my jobs and for some reason or another didn’t qualify for unemployment — but that didn’t matter, I was only filled with pure joy and excitement. 

Keeping the pregnancy on the down low was easy, especially while having to quarantine  — it was refreshing, being able to focus on my own health and happiness to let my body do its thing. 

Because of the pandemic, a lot was different — rather than going into the doctors for my first appointment it was over the phone, and once “real” appointments started, I had to check in on the bottom floor, get my temperature checked and get a badge to the correct floor that I was going to. This happened again once I checked in for the actual appointment. At first, it was interesting and totally different, but after four or five appointments it seemed normal and habitual.

Besides the new way of appointments, businesses being closed and everyone wearing masks, life didn’t feel that much different.

Fast forward to the birth of my darling little one — on March 15 I went into labor, but stubborn little girl didn’t want to arrive until the 18 — I was administered a COVID-19 test that I had passed, so I was able to have my mask off during the delivery, and luckily rules weren’t as strict as when the pandemic first started, so my partner was able to be there the entire time and even my mom was given permission to visit us after the birth. 

The realness of growing up in a pandemic hit when I was thinking back to the delivery of her; rather than getting to see smiling faces and hear happy voices about a new baby entering the world, my daughter was welcomed by masks and muffled words. Her first sight of her dad was with a mask, as well my midwife’s mask, nurse assistants’ masks and so on — the only one without a mask was me, and it wasn’t until a couple hours later that she got to meet her dad without a mask. 

Thinking about growing up in a world where people’s faces are covered wherever you go is so new and not something I had to do, but makes me question how children will develop with this gap of interaction, no matter the amount they get at home.

One positive to being a new mom with a new baby in a new world is not having to worry about people crowding her stroller to look at her, bother her, breathe on her, etc. Now, people are distant, respectful and allow me to be in control of who my daughter meets, how she meets them and when. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was told how annoying it gets when you’re constantly being bombarded by people when you have a new baby, and how their manners go out the door. Luckily, this was not the case. I feel comfortable leaving the house knowing when I go on a walk with her, people will cross the street or step to the side to let us pass and never bother to put their heads close to hers to see her. I don’t have to worry about bringing her to restaurants or grocery stores knowing that rules are set in place and no one will not be wearing a mask around her.

Of course, this is only right now, and she doesn’t have daycare or school and isn’t involved in sports; I can only cross my fingers that things go back to “normal” when she starts to enter these stages of life. Until then, I’ll do my best as her mom to make sure she’s getting regular interaction to develop her social skills, seeing how her mom and dad interact with each other and the outside world.

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