A New Mom’s Perspective
It’s hard when the only social interaction you have outside your household is with the grocery store clerk. There’s been months of isolation from friends, family members, and for those of us on furlough, our coworkers.
I had started my maternity leave after having my daughter about a month before the shutdowns began. I’m a very extroverted girl who enjoys work, and I knew before I gave birth that it’ll be hard adjusting to not working or being around people much during the early weeks of motherhood. I made it a point that I was going to go back to work after six weeks partially for financial reasons, but mostly for my mental health.
I love being a mom, but I also enjoy having an identity outside of that. In the early weeks before the virus became a serious situation, I was able to have my friends and family come over to visit, and some offered to help with the baby so I could rest, catch up on housework, or even just take a shower. For those who aren’t parents, newborns are a handful, and if you don’t have family or friends to support you while you ease into parenthood it can be very overwhelming dealing with the hormone change and loneliness many women feel after giving birth.
Just as my six weeks were coming up and I was ready to get back to work, the news broke that my workplace was temporarily closing. At first it was closing for two weeks, then another month, and then finally we got word that it was opening. But there was a catch. They were only opening at half capacity and the rest of the employees would be getting furloughed for an unknown amount of time.
So now I am home still. My baby is almost three months old, and as of right now I’m a stay at home mom until further notice. I’m very grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with her even though it took a national pandemic for me to do so in a financially responsible way. But I miss my normal life.
After the initial shutdowns, the visitors stopped. If I posted a picture out at the park with my little one on our nightly walk, I would have people message me and tell me I should be staying home. My state isn’t even one that discouraged people from going outside, but to them it didn’t matter. I would get evil looks from people if I needed to go to the grocery store and bring my daughter with me. My newborn isn’t old enough to watch herself, but that doesn’t matter.
I was fortunate enough to have given birth at a time when I could have more than just my partner as support, and could have visitors in the hospital. That made a world of a difference to me. Every mom knows the feeling of guilt with any parenting decision you make and the judgment you face.
This social distancing has done something to us mentally to where any normal behavior such as visiting your family or shopping with your husband and child is seen as the same level of evil as killing someone.
So it’s hard when the only social interaction you have outside your household is with the grocery store clerk, and even that is usually a less than positive experience.
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