To the mama who had a baby during the pandemic

You deserve hugs, love, recognition and so much more. But I will settle for the next best thing, which is to write you a little love letter.

To the mama who had a baby during the pandemic

I am a midwife, and that means two things:

  1. I am a total birth nerd
  2. I want to hug every new mom I see

But we are in a pandemic, which means that the latter is impossible—and this makes me impossibly sad. You deserve hugs, love, recognition and so much more. So I will settle for the next best thing, which is to write you a little love letter.

Darling new mama. Here are seven things you need to know:

1. This is hard

Welcome to the mom club. It's a really awesome club, but there is a sad underlying truth you need to be aware of: Moms are notoriously hard on ourselves (often for things that we have no control over). Like, say, a pandemic.


So many new mothers are wrought with guilt that they are doing this "wrong." Mama, there is no wrong here. Not even close. This is just hard. And it's okay to admit that. Saying that this is hard or disappointing does not diminish anything about your quality as a mother. This IS hard. And it's okay to say as much.

But that brings me to my next point...

2. You can do hard things

Motherly's co-founder and CEO, Jill Koziol, often says, "This is hard, but we can do hard things." I'm not sure it has ever rung more true than right now.

You have a long history of doing (and rocking) hard things. Perhaps getting pregnant was hard. Perhaps you had a hard pregnancy. Then a baby came out of your body—um, hello! Or perhaps you became a mama through adoption, surrogacy or with a gestational carrier—that can be super hard, too.

The point is, you have been met with challenges before, and you have overcome them. Yes, this is tough. But mama, so are you.

3. People are on your side

On #TeamMotherly, we often remind each other of the Mr. Rogers quote that says, "When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

Maybe it feels impossibly scary to be bringing a baby into the world, but there are so many helpers right now.

Public health officials are figuring out policies to keep people safe.

Scientists and doctors are researching treatments and vaccines.

Activists and policy-makers are working to make the world a more just place for everyone.

Remember that even when it feels helpless, people are working around the clock to make things better for you and your sweet baby.

4. The statistics are on your side

We are still learning a lot about COVID-19, but what we do know is promising when it comes to outcomes for pregnant people and newborns. I won't bog you down with details here—though if you want the details, check out Motherly's extensive COVID-19 coverage.

In short, there is reason to be hopeful that you and your baby will be just fine through all of this.

5. Prioritizing yourself is more important than ever

Self-care as a new mom is paramount. Self-care during a pandemic—well, it's everything. In fact, the word "self-care" actually needs to be upgraded during this time; instead of self-care, think of it as self-adoration. Adore yourself, mama.

This is incredibly hard, and the potential negative consequences are very real: stress, depression and health problems, just to name a few. It is, therefore, essential that you prioritize taking care of yourself.

This means eating deliciously nourishing foods, preferably ones that you don't have to prepare yourself. (Try this: The next time a friend or family member says, "Can I do anything to help you?" get very specific. "Actually, yes! I would love a meal that will help me recover; I love the salmon from XYZ restaurant. Could you bring me that for dinner tonight?")

This means sleeping. (Try this: When you put your baby to bed, dive into your bed. I mean immediately. Not after you "just check Instagram for a few minutes" (totally, ahem, hypothetically, of course). Use every moment that you can for sleep, and know that even cat-naps are helpful.)

This means putting off the to-do list (by a lot)—people will understand. (Try this: Send out a mass email or text message to everyone that sent you a baby gift saying, "I want to convey my deepest gratitude for the thoughtful presents! They mean so much to the baby and me! I will be writing handwritten notes to each of you, but it might take me longer than I'd like since we are settling into parenthood during a wild time; please know that I truly appreciate the gifts!")

Give yourself permission to do whatever it is you need to do to lovingly—adoringly—take care of yourself.

6. You are not alone

I know that this feels cliche. I also know that it doesn't feel particularly true right now, as you start motherhood in isolation. But, mama, it is so true. You are an esteemed member of a collective of mothers who love you, care about you, and are holding space for you.

I love this series of illustrations from Common Wild.

Even when you feel so alone, remember, your light is part of a collection of lights that is illuminating the world.

7. This is part of your story

Have you seen this video yet? (Side note: Grab the tissues first.)

Motherhood is a love story—and goodness, what a story you have.

Yours is a story of resilience.

Yours is a story of power.

Yours is a story of hardship.

But yours is a story of strength.

Because at its core, yours is a story of love. You've got this, mama.

In This Article

    The one thing your family needs to practice gratitude

    And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

    Gracious Gobbler

    I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

    But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

    I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

    Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

    Keep reading Show less

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

    Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

    WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

    WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

    Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

    Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

    Keep reading Show less

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play