Becoming a mother during a pandemic has been by far the *hardest* thing I’ve ever done in my life. Being a mom has been something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl—I just didn’t think it was going to be this way.

Pregnancy during a pandemic was terrifying—especially working retail surrounded by the public daily. I went into every doctor's appointment and had to FaceTime my husband or video Bentley’s heartbeat since he was not allowed in. I remember my first appointment at 8 weeks & hearing his heartbeat for the first time was the *sweetest* sound I’ve ever heard, but I wish I was hearing it holding my husband’s hand—not my phone as I repeatedly asked, “Can you see & hear okay?” The pandemic stole this moment from me.

When we finally were “safe” to tell other people, I told my sister over the phone and family & friends over FaceTime. Telling my Mom, who’s 3 hours away, was a special moment stolen from the pandemic. All we wanted to do was hug & celebrate, but we were already scared enough that I crossed state lines, so we stayed outside, under a pop-up tent, more than 6 feet apart at all times. Moment stolen. Telling the rest of our family & friends was done almost all through FaceTime instead of in real life. Moments stolen, but thankfully, still magical.

I continued to go to every doctor's appointment alone until Chris was finally able to go to one, and his only—Bentley’s anatomy scan. We soaked this moment in knowing this was as close to “normal” during my pregnancy as we were going to get.

A couple months later, we were able to have a tiny, immediate family only baby shower—knowing even that was risky. Moment stolen. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was able to see my parents and immediate family a couple of times due to other events, and for that, I’m forever thankful.

The last two months of my pregnancy were what felt the most normal, but in my last two weeks of pregnancy, I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack and had to stop working a few days earlier than planned. I was beyond terrified of getting COVID knowing that *if* I did, Chris wouldn’t be allowed in the hospital to be there for the birth of his son since they’d assume he had it too. Thank GOD I was able to stop working when I did, and we literally did not leave the house until I went into labor except for a couple of times when we were extremely careful + my last doctor's appointments.

Now that Bentley is here, we still have to be just as cautious, and that is when it gets lonely even more so. My parents were able to come to stay with us for the first week, my in-laws have come over for dinner & to spend time with us a couple times, and a small handful of close friends have briefly visited, but it’s still not what I *thought* the first five weeks after giving birth *should* be like. Chris and I are completely alone. Crossing state lines and being surrounded by so many people we’re not normally exposed to is too dangerous. We haven’t been able to visit my siblings or grandparents, so I’m not sure when they’ll get to meet Bentley. Several more magical moments stolen.

I can’t invite friends over like I wish I could to come to hang out with me for a few hours so I have someone to talk to. It’s the middle of winter, so it’s too cold to bring a newborn outside, so I can’t even escape the house with him to take a walk around my neighborhood.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my rocking chair at 5:30 AM holding my five-week-old son after another lonely feeding before putting him back in his bassinet. I can’t help but hold him longer to soak in these sweet moments. I’m beyond thankful & blessed for what I do have, don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am blessed beyond measure to have a beautiful, healthy baby boy, but I’m allowing myself to mourn the moments that were stolen from me.

This pandemic is a thief causing my now postpartum journey to be that much lonelier and that much harder. All I can do is hold my baby boy tighter knowing as hard & lonely as this is, it’s all worth it because I have him—the baby I dreamed about, prayed for, no scratch that, begged God for.

If you’re a new mom or a soon-to-be mama, know that it’s okay to mourn the loss of the moments that were stolen from you. It’s okay to be sad, angry, and beyond frustrated, but at the end of the day, you’ve gotta do what every amazing mom does: Take a deep breath, stay strong for your baby, and keep pressing on.

You may feel sad & lonely, but always remember, we’re in this together, and your sweet babe is *beyond* worth it. Moments have been stolen, but the moments that we do have are still magical, still meaningful, and will forever be some of the best of our lives, and for that, I am thankful.

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