Devan Lapresi

I went to my well baby checkup today alone. I recorded the heartbeat for Ben to hear as this was the first appointment he's had to miss due to the circumstances.

My doctor and I elbow bumped. Followed by a little half-chuckle through totally uncertain, weary smiles.

He asked how I was holding up, I asked him how he was holding up.

There was a heavy energy in the room, yet we tried to keep things light. But there was nothing light about making sure not to share pens, having him sign my accommodation paperwork to try to protect me at work, hand sanitizing every two minutes and placing the Doppler on my stomach from a distance.

It was all so heavy. And completely unnatural.

As soon as I got into my car, tears just started rolling down my face.

I'm sad for the pregnant women being triaged alone.

I'm sad for the grandma who doesn't get to watch her first grandchild be born.

I'm sad for the mom who doesn't get to hold her daughters hand when she's scared.

I'm sad for the dads who have to miss out on the well baby check ups and listening to their baby's heart beat.

I'm sad for the sisters who are going to be aunts, yet can't be there for their best friend throughout this all.

I'm sad for the best friends who can't visit, bring flowers and shower the baby they've patiently waited nine months to meet.

I'm sad for the first time mom being sent home so soon, so unsure, wondering if she'll have the support she'll need.

I'm sad for the NICU parents who are only allowed one parent at their child's bedside for the day.

I'm sad that there are no guarantees of spouses attending C-sections due to lack of protective gear.

I'm sad for the doulas, photographers and birth-centered small businesses

So much is rapidly changing.

Understandable precautions and standards, but equally devastating for what many consider the most joyous time in their life.

Today I'll sit or lay or even nap with my feelings, and let them be. I'm not going to wrestle with them, avoid them or numb myself to this reality of expecting mamas.

I will let them be. And I will be. And I will trust that none of us know what the future holds, but stand firm in knowing the one who holds the future will carry us through.


This article originally appeared on Devan Lapresi's Facebook page.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

Keep reading Show less