This is not how I pictured my last maternity leave would be.
I never thought that my first blog post in months would be about this but here we are… this is our reality. We are currently living through a very real, very serious, and quite frankly, scary time. Sage was born at the beginning of February which was right around the time that the first two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ontario and BC. At first we carried on with our normal lives; living in the newborn bliss bubble. Family and friends were still able to come and visit, schools were still open, businesses running as usual, and we were settling into a new daily routine as a family of five. But in the back of my mind, I was acutely aware that things were not 100% normal. The more news I watched, the more I worried that our situation could become much more serious. Did I expect what was to come? No obviously not but I was bracing myself for the fact that perhaps I wouldn’t want to leave the house as much with a newborn and toddler in tow in the event that there were more cases discovered.
In early March there was the first confirmed case within my county and shortly after that, players within the NBA began testing positive. Decisions, big ones, were being made behind closed doors. By now we were well aware that this was spreading fast throughout Canada and the US and that it was going to become a much bigger issue than first originally thought. I began worrying about our safety; Sage, the boys, Kurt, myself, as well as our family and friends. When our government announced the closure of schools for an additional two weeks after March break, that’s when I knew this was becoming something potentially terrifying. Throughout March break, we continued to see immediate family only (my parents, sister, and step-sister). Although we were practicing social distancing in the sense that friends and crowded playgrounds and stores were off limits, we felt safe knowing our family was practicing the same as us. Nathan would beg to see my mom and step-dad and he was desperate to have a sleep over with my dad and step-mom. And to him, being home from school on March break meant that he was able to do so and as for me, well I was desperate to have one less child to keep entertained, even if it was only for a few hours. It never occurred to me that soon even this would be off-limits to us.
Last week seemed to be when shit really hit the fan so to speak. The more stipulations the governments – both provincial and federal – put in place, the more worried Kurt and I became. His job (like many, many others) is deemed an essential service so while others were told to work from home or were unfortunately laid off, he still had to go to his office daily. This is when we made the hard decision to fully commit to social distancing. No longer seeing family and limiting the amount of time we would even be spending outside. We decided that since Kurt was leaving the house for work, he would also be the one to run any errands like getting groceries or picking up any medications or prescriptions. I’ve never witnessed him under this much stress before. I’ve listened to him voice how worried he is that he’ll bring this virus into our household. I’ve felt his forehead to see if he’s warm more this week than I can ever remember doing so in the past. We’ve discussed multiple times what the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 look like and what it means to be an asymptomatic carrier. And I’ve seen just how much he loves his kids in a whole new light. The fear is very real for us just like many others.
Everyone’s current reality is really unknown at this point. We haven’t heard when schools will open again; the only real “update” we’ve had is that it will definitely not be April 6th like first planned. We’ve heard on the news that this social distancing could potentially last weeks or months and my heart aches every time I hear that. Babies, especially newborns are only small for so long and I feel as though I’ve been robbed of some of Sage’s short life. I’ve spent so much time watching the news trying to stay updated, spent so much time trying to keep not one but two boys occupied all day, and spent so much time worrying and researching if I could get called back to work as a nurse during this pandemic that I feel as though I can’t remember anything about her the past two months. Maybe my brain is subconsciously storing those memories away so that when all this is over, I can recall every detail about her first two months of life but for now everything is such a blur.
And then there’s the guilt. The guilt that Sage is only going to be little for so long and now family can’t come and see her. The guilt that some friends haven’t even gotten to meet her yet. The guilt that every day Nathan asks when he can go back to school or play at the park. The guilt that every time he asks, Kurt and I feel like the bad guys telling him no because he doesn’t understand what’s going on. And the hammering guilt in my chest that while I’m safe at home, my fellow co-workers are battling this pandemic daily without the proper means to protect themselves. If you ask me point blank do I want to be at work right now, the answer would be no I do not want to be in the midst of all of this but I can’t help but feel like I should be. I should be standing along side my co-workers but due to sheer luck, I am at home typing this out while they’re out there fighting the Covid-19 fight.
No, this is definitely not how I pictured my last maternity leave would be.