No, I will not feel shame for getting pregnant during a pandemic
Stop projecting your doomsday fantasies and victim complexes onto pregnant women.
I got pregnant in the spring of 2020.
Yes, in the midst of social distancing, quarantining, and widespread lockdown, life just couldn’t wait.
I kept telling my partner that I wanted kids, but the one thing I wanted to accomplish before getting pregnant was graduate college. I wanted my degree in hand before I held a baby in my arms.
Well, I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree on May 16th, and my estimated date of conception is May 31st.
If nothing else, folks, I am a woman of my word.
But like many pregnant women right now, my pregnancy looks, feels, and is very different than those of the women who came before me.
My pregnancy is marked by quiet. A solitude of sorts that is both isolating yet comforting in its historical uniqueness.
For me and many other pregnant women who are choosing our health over traditional celebration, there is no and will be no baby shower.
There will be no extended family fawning over my growing belly through the months, and there will be no one helping me paint the nursery and set up the crib.
Even at the time of delivery, there will be no visitors allowed by my hospital bed to hold and greet my son as he is born into this world.
But such is life.
Throughout my pregnancy, I have found comfort in the many forums of the internet for pregnant women. The forums have replaced in-person birthing classes and local bump buddy meetups.
We share laughs, losses, and those moments that we would otherwise be sharing with close friends and family if 2020 wasn’t 2020. There is a camaraderie there where we gather to share what it’s like being pregnant in the midst of a global pandemic, an era none of us imagined we’d be facing in our lifetimes.
Through many of our discussions, there’s a common theme that many of us encounter in our lives, one that is persistent no matter where we live, who we are, or the conditions under which we decided to get pregnant.
Many of us find that people, strangers on the street, anons on the internet, family, friends, and many others, expect us to feel shame for getting pregnant during a pandemic.
We’ve been berated by those who question how we could even think about bringing new life into this world while the rainforests burn, chaos reigns in our city streets, and the world boards itself up and shuts itself down in reaction to a novel virus.
People remark, “I could never bring a child into this world.”
I know 2020 seems like the final toll of the apocalypse bell, but here’s the thing… the world has always been burning.
The only difference in 2020 is that now you know about it and now you have to walk through the smoke on your way to the grocery store.
The world will always burn. Humanity will always face conflict. All we know will always be on the brink of collapse. It has always been this way. It will always be this way.
But such is life.
2020 is marred with challenge, rife with seemingly omnipresent terror and struggle, but I carry in my veins the blood and the genetic stories of my ancestors who lived through much worse.
If the women of my bloodline did not cower in the face of barbarianism, world wars, and the pandemics of yore, nor will I.
If they did not allow themselves to be consumed with panic when they were told their world was burning and they were told their world was ending, nor will I.
So stop expecting me to dull my joys of pregnancy by drowning myself in shame.
I and many other pregnant women refuse to buy into your doomsday fantasies and your victimhood complexes so stop projecting onto us your feelings of hopelessness and ineptitude.
Stop expecting us to hang up our dreams, pause our lives, or wallow in shame because you are uncomfortable with the realities of the world around you.
We know our resilience.
We know our strength.
If you cannot recognize yours, that is your problem. Not ours.