A love letter to the mama struggling to get through this pandemic

If you are experiencing major pandemic fatigue, you're not alone.

pandemic love letter

During the pandemic, my options for self-care are slim, but my bathtub—with toys and bubble bath for my kids haphazardly pushed to the side—is always there for me. Baths have become my respite.

I sank into the warm water last night, phone in hand and ready to scroll (I know, I know!)... but I couldn't bring myself to press the button to turn my phone on. I could not bear the idea of that screen illuminating, of my thumb mindlessly scrolling through a stream of what other people have deemed important, of one more piece of information coming into my brain.

Not one more news story.

Not one more friend's story.

Definitely not one more COVID-19 story.

My brain—my heart—is just too full to take in anything else. So I sat there, still, silent, numb and just so exhausted.

And I suspect that I am not alone. If you, like me, are experiencing major pandemic fatigue, here is my love note to you:

To the mama that is completely fatigued by the pandemic,

You are wearing so many hats right now: mother, teacher, worker, holder-together-of-all-the-pieces. You are being called upon to comfort and nurture, despite having none of your own comfort and nurturing.

Everything feels like an assault to our senses. We feel the fatigue deep in our bones.

It feels hard because it is hard—unimaginably so, at times.

So this isn't a reminder to keep wearing masks (though please, please do).

It's also not an attempt to help you find the silver lining, because some days, it's just not there.

I am not a therapist, nor a meditation expert or a mindfulness coach.

I am a midwife—birth is what I know. All I can do is midwife you through this pandemic. So I will say to you what I say to every person I have the honor of midwife-ing through birth:

Deep breath, and push.

I know it hurts, my love. I know the contractions keep coming, each one more painful than the last. I know you are tired—so, so tired. I know you don't believe that you're strong enough. I know because I've felt it, too.

I also know that you can—that you must—keep going. Because something is waiting to be born.

Right now—in this unprecedented moment in history—we are giving birth to a new world. Every time you hug your child, every time you stand up for what's right, you are bringing this new world into existence.

That's a daunting proposition, I know. But, mama: You've done hard things before.

And quitting is not an option. There's too much at stake, too much on the line.

I can see, right now, even though I know you don't believe me, how absolutely full of power you are. How behind your defeat and your exhaustion and your tears a fire still burns. A fire that was lit by many that have come before you, and one that won't be going out any time soon. This "thing" that you are birthing? It needs your fire now more than ever.

We are giving birth to a world that is just. A world where the collective good is enough of a reason to work hard for something. A world that values mothers, believes in science, doesn't tolerate inequities and feels safe for everyone.

So pause if you need to. Rest. Yes, rest. Reclaim your fervor. And then? Deep breath, and push.

Push though you'll feel too weak to push at times.

Push though it feels impossible.

Push through the self-doubt and the pain and the fear. Push knowing that you are not pushing alone. Push with all your fierce and beautiful strength, because we need it right now. Push through and trust that what's on the other side is worth it.

It always is.

Your midwife

Gorgeous items to help you re-find you in the chaos.

'My voice matters' bracelet

oath bracelet

We need your voice and your energy now, more than ever. Remember that you have the ability to make a difference. Keep going, you've got this.


Find your voice journal


When finding your voice is hard, sometimes starting with a pen and paper can help. We love the prompts and reflective cues from the journals. Remember what matters most to you, and then get ready to share it widely.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.

A crib to grow with your baby

Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.


A safe + convenient car seat

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.


A traveling nursery station

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.


A swing for some backup help

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.


An easy-to-clean high chair

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.


A diaper bag to share

Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.


A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.


A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.


A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.


A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.


Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less

29 last-minute family Halloween costumes you can pull together NOW

If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

Keep reading Show less