I am a Pandemic Mama.

At first this title made me sad, angry, and resentful. But now, nine months into motherhood during a global health crisis, I wear it like a badge of honor!

In my last months of pregnancy, I would run my hands over my growing belly and imagine all the would-be gatherings to welcome our daughter.

On March 3rd, I gave birth to her after 36 hours of labour, and my world was forever changed. In the following days with my fresh baby bundle in my arms, the entire world would change as well.

With COVID-19 information crashing up against sleep deprivation and hormonal changes, an overwhelming fear washed over me.

43 days passed before my baby and I would leave the safety of our home. On the 44th day, with patient and loving encouragement from my partner and family, we stepped back into the outside world for the first time.

That day, we made it to the yard. Then slowly, down the block from our home and in the weeks after, we found freedom in daily long walks around the neighborhood.

While, “everything” was closing down, the Land was opening up to nurture us. Nine months later, this is still the only place my baby and I go.

I know, I am not alone. I feel connected to all parents who have welcomed and are waiting to welcome their sacred gifts during this very strange time. I think about our traditional teachings that remind us, it’s children who chose their parents, and use their own agency to come into the world.

What incredibly courageous and hopeful babies we have. They have seen the days ahead and have still chosen to step forward. These spirits, are surely the medicine that the world needs now.

I know it’s hard and lonely. We were never meant to parent in isolation. And although, we have been given the opportunity to develop a unique closeness, we can still grieve the entrance into parenthood that we imagined, but didn’t have.

For those who love new parents:

It’s so important to not let go of the understanding that it truly takes a village to raise a child. Even though our village can’t physically gather, I offer these ways it can still support new parents:

• Honor the arrival of the new baby.

Get creative and make a big deal of it. I’ve seen online baby showers and neighborhood parades to help new parents gather baby items. This is not only kind but also critically important as so many families are experiencing financial insecurity.

• Feed the family.

Dropping off meals or sending support for them to order-in, is very helpful. Also, asking them if they need things from the grocery store before you head out for your own essential items, will be appreciated. Eating well is vital, especially for breast and chest feeding parents.

• Run errands.

Getting out of the house with a baby is hard as it is. Add a pandemic on top of it, and even going to grab the essentials like diapers and medicine, becomes a hard and difficult to navigate task. Offering to pick up/return/exchange things will make parents’ heavy loads a bit easier to carry. Plus, there’s the added incentive of getting a window visit with the sweet little one when you drop things off!

• Check ins.

Making sure that the new family is feeling loved and supported, will be cherished in more ways than you’ll ever know. Yes, it’s important to practice physical distancing, but new parents should never feel alone. “How are you and baby doing today?” texts, still make my eyes water.

• Be supportive.

Each family has made their own personal boundaries (no kissing, wear a mask when holding baby etc.) when it comes to keeping themselves safe. Respecting these boundaries, without shaming, is an act of love!

And, when it’s safe again, let’s come together to honour the new parents and our children.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, let it be to honour life.

Let’s celebrate.

Let’s rejoice.