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How COVID-19 Has Affected Life With A Newborn

SHE'S HERE! We've waited nine months for this moment. The minute my beautiful little peanut arrived I couldn't wait to show her off to family, friends and neighbors all lining up to love and cuddle my baby. However, this moment was not at all as I expected.

Blakely was a scheduled C-section and ended up entering this world a week earlier than her projected due date, March 9th. On the day she was born, March 3rd, COVID-19 was no more than a whisper in the background for the residents here in Michigan. Other parts outside of the United States were feeling the brunt of this devastating virus but at this point Michigan had not been disturbed. In the first few days she was born we were able to have a few visitors which included our parents, siblings, my uncle, two of my cousins and a handful of friends. We were discharged at the end of the week and that is when the chaos began.

The following week was when COVID-19 started creating an uproar in our community. People ran to the grocery stores clearing the shelves of food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and other household essentials. As the number of cases started rising, schools closed, hospitals prepared for a mass influx of patients and state government imposed quarantine restrictions. Out of fear for Blakely's health, we stopped having visitors. I am the oldest grandchild on my dad's side and Josh and I are both the oldest children in our immediate family. As a direct result of these circumstances the majority of our family has not seen her in person. We have a private family Facebook page that I update every few days with new photos and videos just to keep everyone involved as much as I can. It breaks my heart that my grandparents who were so excited and have been so involved in my pregnancy journey have not had the opportunity to hold their great-grandchild. Even worse, I don't know when this day will come...

I knew having a baby would bring all new challenges and experiences but I had peace of mind knowing how much support Josh and I were going to have for relief and assistance throughout the first few days and nights as new parents. I could get a quick nap in, sneak in a shower or throw in a load of laundry, any little break would be a breath of fresh air. Now that no one is able to leave their homes, unless deemed essential, Josh and I have had to do this on our own... Yes, there are single parents out there who do this daily while having full time jobs, some with more than one kid and I COMMEND YOU!!! I don't know how I would survive even ONE DAY without a partner.

Mentally preparing for help and then having your expectations drastically change was hard to accept. Not only are we figuring out how to manage "newborn life" we are also doing it in isolation. Not being able to leave the house and visit family, make a run to the grocery store or stroll around Target.... oh how I miss Target. Since I am breast feeding Blakely I am up most of the night whether it's every hour or occasionally three. The days I need a little extra sleep Josh helps in the morning and gives her a bottle. The repetition is exhausting and to add on to the lack of sleep, Blakely has been colicky. Therefore she's crying most of the day, barely napping AND not sleeping well. Hopefully the new online class about sleep training and night routines will change our nights for the better **fingers crossed** .

So if you know any new parents at this time, reach out to them. Schedule "virtual happy hour" to get some face to face interaction with friends. We are going through the most exciting and scary time of our lives. The newborn stage is exhausting and mentally draining and because of social distancing it can feel like we're all alone.. Tensions run high between us while trying to figure out a routine of when we can sleep, eat or take a break away from our baby and it's only a matter of time before we reach a breaking point (which can easily happen after a few consecutive nights of no sleep). Josh and I both love baby girl sooooooo much but need to prioritize time for ourselves, even if it's only a few minutes, to maintain our mental health. We are no good to Blakely if we cannot take care of ourselves first.

MOMS AND DADS YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We will get through "COVID -19 Quarantine 2020" together. When the day comes and we are allowed to hug and kiss our family and friends again find a babysitter, go to the spa, hit the gym or go on a date WE ALL DESERVE IT!

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