In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes, which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

I imagined welcoming our baby and having a waiting room full of excited visitors. They would say, "How much did the baby weigh!? How is mom doing? Does the baby look like Dad or Mom?" By now, we all know my vision had to change, and we can't have that type of birthing story. It's sad, but that's life.

What about when we get home from the hospital? Good friends will message us congratulations and ask us when they can meet our new little addition. But what are we supposed to say?

Normally, we'd say, "Come on by! We'd love for you to meet our little one." They'd hold our baby, and marvel at the miracle we created. Can we do this now? I think we all know the answer to that. No, because of the high risk of COVID-19 spreading to our baby.

So what do we tell them? We'd love for you to meet the baby, but right now, our doctor does not recommend visitors due to the high risk of catching the deadly virus sweeping our world. We hope and pray it changes soon so you can meet our baby and be a part of our new little miracle's life.

Most people will understand. They will ask to FaceTime instead or drop off a hot meal on our doorstep.

For those of you who understand why you can't meet our baby, a big heartfelt and sincere, thank you.

You have no idea how much we appreciate knowing we won't disappoint you.

It's unfortunate, but we're prepared to hear scrutiny from some about following the doctor's recommendation. We already have. We know the hurt feelings come from a good place, which is wanting to be a part of our child's life right away. We get it. Trust me, we're just as frustrated. But imagine the anxiety we feel knowing some will be upset with us for trying to keep our child safe.

Even talking about it makes us uneasy. We've tried to avoid the conversation for a long time, but we need to be prepared to talk to our loved ones. We need to keep our baby healthy and listen to our doctor. She knows what's going to keep our child protected.

For those who don't understand, when it's your turn to have a baby, I pray you're never faced with the compromises we're having to make.

I pray you can have a support person with you during appointments.

I pray you can celebrate with a normal baby shower.

I pray you can go out into public without fearing you'll get yourself and baby sick.

And I pray your birth experience can be as pleasant as it should be.

Thank you to all of our family and friends who've expressed their love and empathy for our situation. Just know that we want nothing more in the world than for you to be a part of our baby's life.

This essay was previously published here.