The Grief and the Grace of a Pandemic Pregnancy
When the Coronavirus alarm bells first started sounding, it felt like the universe was playing a cruel joke on me. I had relied on the thought of spring to carry me through hyperemesis gravidarum, the soul-battering, pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting that landed me in the emergency room and left me hanging on by a thread all winter.
I had hoped spring would be when some of my anxiety about having another miscarriage would fall away as the pregnancy progressed.
Instead, that anxiety was eclipsed by pandemic panic, and I fell into grief.
After years of waiting for this, I felt disconnected from the pregnancy. How could I feel excited or hopeful with this massive, amorphous threat taking over the world?
Coming to terms with a pandemic pregnancy
Like everyone else, I knew I had no choice but to take it one day at a time. Thankfully, days and weeks passed and the sun continued to rise and fall without me or my family members getting sick. I made time for yoga and meditation every day.
And as I read stories of people dying alone, losing their livelihoods, and suffering in myriad ways around the globe, it no longer felt like this is continuation of the universe letting me down. It is not another private struggle to bear alone. It is a collective crisis, and though at first, it felt like it came at a terrible moment for me, I think differently about it now.
After all, I have a four-year-old outside of me and a growing life inside of me steering me back to hope every day. If I had not gotten pregnant, I would be among the women suddenly prevented from doing IVF, as had been our plan for 2020.
A reminder of resilience
I absolutely wish this never happened, but I do find some existential relief in being in this crisis together. We are each affected in personal and significantly different ways that reveal much about the disparity and injustice in the world. But there is also this amazing activation of
solidarity and compassion that shows us the potential for collective resilience.
Even in isolation, we are not alone in the experience of being human. If we are able to pay attention and let the awareness of our connection soak in, it will be the grace that sustains and transforms us.
But still, an unknown future remains
Of course, I don’t know how this virus will impact me, or this baby, into the future. At times, I am dizzy with anxiety. But in this moment, I can see that the experience of shared upheaval has shaken me free from a sense of being stuck in my own story — stuck waiting for something else
So it is not sufficient to say that my experience of being pregnant during a pandemic is triggering grief. Because in a way, it is also helping me heal.
How about you?
Is your pandemic pregnancy bringing out the grief or the grace (or maybe both)?