A New Baby During The Pandemic Sounds Nerve-Racking, But These First-time Parents Found Ways To Cope
You got this, mom and dad!
Adjusting to a new phase in life with a newborn has always been fulfilling, emotional and stressful at the same time. Adding a pandemic on top of all that entails extra challenges that no new parent who is just learning to navigate family life is prepared for.
But what do you do if it does happen that you are blessed with a baby during this pandemic? You wing it, like you did marriage, because none of these come with a manual. Or you can take your cue from these couples who got a visit from the stork during the lockdown.
Online parenting articles are helpful.
For Saira Ruth Bendaña, a public senior high school teacher, the most rewarding part of being a new parent is seeing her little one’s smile and witnessing his developmental milestones.
Saira gave birth to her baby boy on August 12, 2020. She shares, “He [weighed] 3.6 kilograms (7.9 pounds), but I still managed to [give birth] via normal delivery. I was struggling so hard that time since I was a new mom. My parents weren’t around due to the pandemic, [and] only two persons were allowed in the hospital.”
According to Saira, the first few weeks of being a new parent was really tough for her. “My mind was a mess [and] I didn’t know what to do,” she says. Thankfully, living with her in-laws after giving birth has been helpful.
What frustrates her now is that she and her husband can’t even go out to enjoy the outdoors with their son. “The only time I’m allowed to go out is when I’m doing the grocery,” she adds. The fear of being infected with the virus while she’s out for groceries or when she reports for work once a week always haunts her.
To manage being a parent to her newborn, Saira says, “I seek advice from my mom and my sisters-in-law. I also search the internet and read online articles whenever I feel that something is not right with my baby.”
You can always count on your parents and in-laws.
For Christian Oliveros, a QA auditor in Quezon City, their first baby is such a ray of sunshine for their family during these hard times.
When his wife gave birth to their daughter on October 24, 2020, she had to undergo a Cesarean operation since she was already past her due date.
Now, Christian is thankful that his parents are there when he needs emotional support as a new parent, and to help with household chores especially when his wife has to go to work and he is in charge of the baby.
Since he is also working, Christian says he needs to look after his health too. “I [worry] that I would not be able to sustain the needs of my baby that is why I also take care of myself through vitamin intake, keeping a bottle of sanitizer with me all the time," and of course making sure he practices social distancing.
Prioritize your mental health.
Giving birth to a baby during the pandemic entailed a lot of struggles for Catherine Dionisio, a work-from-home mom.
One of these was finding a hospital that would accept her emergency Cesarean case due to hypertension. She says that while in labor, the baby had a heartbeat that was higher than normal due to her high blood pressure, which is why she needed to undergo surgery immediately. “Luckily, I gave birth safely even though my baby was born premature,” she says.
Because of this, Catherine says she always worries that her son is always at risk and might get sick any moment, which is why she requires all of her family members to wash their hands frequently and sanitize well before touching her baby.
“My baby is only allowed to be around people who live in our house. With the help of [my breastmilk], I know he is more [protected] from any virus,” she shares.
As a first-time mom, Catherine is also aware that she needs to take care of her mental health and lessen her stress. Playing with her baby and watching Korean series and movies have been a great help. She also gets tips on how to raise a child by downloading applications on her smartphone.
Heed your pediatrician’s advice.
Marvin Magpantay’s wife gave birth to their firstborn on October 26, 2020 at a lying-in clinic. The new dad says he became a bit emotional when he held his daughter for the first time. “Napaluha ako, iba yung feeling [since] first time kong maramdaman iyon sa buong buhay ko. Ramdam na ramdam ko yung love at excitement,” he adds.
Instead of staying in Manila, he and his wife decided to stay with his in-laws in the province as they believe it is safer there, and the risk of getting the COVID virus is lower. Apart from getting advice and support from their elders, Marvin and his wife make sure to consult the pediatrician when it comes to the health of their little one.
For Marvin, this pandemic serves as an opportunity to spend more time with his family while saving more with their earnings.
As a working dad, he manages his time by creating a daily schedule, which begins at 4:30 am and lasts until 11:30 pm. “Medyo puyat every day pero sulit naman lalo na pag-uwi from work, talagang nakakawala ng pagod,” he says.
Being a parent is challenging, and the COVID-19 pandemic surely does not make things easier. Salute to the parents – new or otherwise – who are rolling with the punches, trying to inject a semblance of normalcy into their lives for the sake of their children. You are truly your kids’ heroes!