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You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

The daily schedule, predictability and slices of “me time” that you held so dear are gone, and your new normal is... challenging. But we want you to know you aren’t flying solo. There’s a whole community of mums all over this country (and the world!) who are navigating these changes together one day at a time. You’re not alone, mum! 

We reached out to five real Owlet mums who are in the throes of managing a new normal without daycare, breaks-from-the-kiddos, parks or playdates to find out how they’re handling the changes to their day-to-day lives. We hope their insights remind you that you can do this, and that you are not alone.

 

DANICA, MUM OF THREE LITTLE GIRLS 

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

This is hard. This isn’t at all what I had imagined and dreamed about for my next baby. I had planned on lots of neighborhood play, enjoying parks and warm weather, and visiting family & friends. Instead, we’re stuck at home alone with a newborn and two toddlers and just trying to enjoy the great parts of it without dwelling on the way we wish things were.

How has this impacted your day-to-day routine?

We have to build some space into our routine that was taken from us. My kids need breaks from our parenting, and from each other. We try to create little “dates” of one-on-one time with mum and dad for each of our kids, even if that’s just a drive to get a drink or escaping to a quiet room for some reading together. My husband has been blessed to play a larger role in our day-to-day and that’s been fantastic for everyone.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

It’s challenging to struggle with postpartum anxiety/depression when most of your coping mechanisms are impossible—working out at my gym, going to movies, dates with my husband, taking my kids to the playground, girls nights with my friends. There have been definite lows as I’ve felt stuck. But I am also overwhelmed with gratitude because this is the kind of uninterrupted family time I could have never experienced otherwise. Watching my husband become a dad to a new baby is my favorite thing and we’re getting so much more of that than we could have expected.

What you would say to another mum going through something similar?

Reach out. Don’t keep your frustration, anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, and hopelessness to yourself—even if you know it’s not rational. Reach out. Tell a friend. Tell your husband or your mum or your next-door neighbor. Shine the light on your darkness and it will diminish.

How you are staying connected during this time of isolation.

We FaceTime both sets of grandparents nearly every day. As a mum, I make texting, Marco Polo, and social media interactions with my female friends a big priority for my mental health. My book club is meeting via Zoom this week and I can’t wait!

 

SARA, NEW MUM TO A 10-MONTH-OLD BABY BOY

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

This was our normal: we live in a small studio in New York City where our 10-month-old son, Ben, sleeps in a closet that blocks access to our bathroom after he goes to bed for the night. His nursery is basically our entire apartment, so it seems that our “new normal” is a huge improvement on his “normal”. Our “new normal” is our nephew’s room in Virginia, where Ben sleeps in a pack n play covered by a Slumberpod, next to his dad’s makeshift workstation. He has lots of room to crawl around downstairs and cousins to play with every day. Our “new normal” began a month ago, when we heard of the first cases of Covid-19 in the city, and just knew we wouldn’t be able to handle a pandemic in such close quarters. Being in a new environment has helped us all adjust better, at least physically.

How has this impacted your day-to-day routine?

Emotionally, I’m finding it difficult to adjust. There are a lot of feelings of disappointment, fear, longing, and sometimes anger. I find that I sleep a lot more, because my body feels heavy and tired from all of my emotions, and it makes time feel like it’s going faster. I try to take time away from my worries (which are mainly triggered by any type of scrolling on my phone). When I do, I’m able to think clearly and attempt to make sense of things. Being present is a struggle because being present means I still need to deal with all the scary things happening in the world. But being present also means focusing on being in the moment with my child as he grows and develops. I don’t want to miss these moments with him, even during this bizarre time in our lives.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

The lows always come from far away, at this point. I miss my city, I miss my home, I miss all the plans we had for the immediate future. The lows also come from within me, and I recognize that I have some power to help me through the lows. I always feel like I need to acknowledge my feelings instead of ignoring them. Talking about my struggles with my husband is a balm to my soul. A good cry also helps. The highs come from being a mum and having someone to care for and focus on other than myself. The highs include seeing my son crawling and gaining mobility and speed. They come from seeing him so happy because he gets more time with his dad than he’s used to. They come from his budding friendship with his cousins. They come from unscheduled time with family.

What advice would you offer to other mums right now?

My advice to anyone going through a difficult adjustment is to know that your feelings are valid and okay. There isn’t a right way to deal with this pandemic, to staying home in isolation, to not having the help and resources needed to rear a family, among other things. You are allowed to feel all of the things, and you should let yourself feel them. If being in your feelings gets too overwhelming, know that there are ways to help you cope. Whether it’s online therapy, moving your body, focusing on others, and listing things you are grateful for. We will get through this and come out stronger in the end.

 

REBBIE, NEW MUM TO BABY BOY

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

Whether going for a walk, sitting on our back patio, or streaming a yoga class while he naps (he woke up as soon as I got to savasana, naturally), I’ve found that getting out and being active has been necessary for my sanity.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

We had a tiny bit of cookie dough left in our fridge and instead of tossing it, I decided to bake it. Yes, I baked one single cookie for my husband and I to split. When small things are all you have, you celebrate the small things.

I am not one who believes there is any rush to get back to pre-pregnancy clothes, but one day I needed to put on something other than joggers. Wearing jeans and a blouse was a fun way to feel like part of my life was put together, if only for a day.

Paternity leave was not long enough. Having Dad home to sneak down and hold our boy on breaks or between meetings has been such a silver lining.

What advice would you offer to other mums right now?

There is more confusion and fear right now than at any other time of my life. But when this little guy smiles, all feels right in the world.

 

KATIE, NEW MUM TO A BABY BOY

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I’ve also told myself it’s okay not to be okay right now. My husband and I are both working full time from home now and caring for Oliver, our eighth-month-old. Our nanny can’t take care of him during San Francisco’s shelter in place. It’s challenging to balance work, life, and taking care of Oliver, but I’ve seen so many positive things come out of this scary time. Oliver has been my happy place in all the uncertainty. He wakes up with a gigantic smile on his face every morning, completely innocent and unaware of what’s happening out in the world. I get to see him grow and learn new things (he started crawling!), and I know that when this is all over, and I have to go back to the office, it’s going to be so so hard not to see him all the time. So even though the days are tough and uncertain, I’m trying to treasure this time at home with him and do the best that I can.

I’m fortunate to work for a company that values being a working parent and tells me to put my family first through all of this. I also realize how lucky I am to be able to work from home.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

 As a new mum, I constantly feel like I’m failing or that I’m not doing something right. I recently decided that I’m doing the best that I can, and that’s OKAY. When I’m rocking Oliver to sleep at night or reading him a bedtime story, and we snuggle, I know that things will be okay.

What advice would you offer to other mums right now?

 Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Do whatever works for you and your baby. You are the best mm for your baby! You are exactly what they need. You’re doing amazing! 

 

CHERISE, NEW MUM TO TWIN BABY BOYS

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

Due to the strict hospital regulations and the heightened concern around COVID-19, my husband was unable to attend the birth of our identical baby boys and unfortunately has NOT been able to visit either of them in NICU (he has had a cold with a lingering cough—NOT COVID-19). This was both of our first experiences having a child and my husband has been at my side the entire time, attending every doctor’s appointment while I was pregnant. It was very hard emotionally for both of us when he was unable to attend the birth and it was also very hard for us to not be able to share in the special moment of meeting our babies together. He had to wait two weeks to meet and hold one of his babies for the first time and he still has not met his baby’s twin brother because he is currently still in the NICU.

Upon entering the hospital, I am required to have my temperature taken, check-in at both the front desk and the desk at the NICU, and also wear a mask the entire time I am there.  My visits to the NICU consist of taking baby’s temperature, diaper changing, practicing breastfeeding on our own and with the lactation consultant, bottle feeding, burping, pumping, skin to skin, bathing, photo-taking, and regular face timing with Dad since this has been the only way he has had to connect with his baby boys since they have been born.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

Highs have been having two perfect and overall healthy baby boys join us, a lot less traffic (which means a quick commute to the hospital), a wonderful NICU staff of doctors, nurses, and therapists to take such good care of our boys when I have been unable to be there, my husband, Roury, meeting his baby for the first time, and just being able to cuddle, love, and kiss them together. Some lows have been my husband being unable to attend the birth and not being unable to meet or spend any time with them in the NICU, as well as trying to balance my time between the baby in the NICU and the baby at home, and of course…the sleep deprivation.

Our daily routine consists of pumping 3-4 hours a day, feeding, burping, diaper changing, putting the baby down, sleeping, pumping, finding time to eat, spending as much time at the hospital as I can with twin brother then coming home and doing it all over again. However, late at night, when the lights are dim and the fireplace is on, and it’s just you and your baby snuggled in your arms, you know that even with all of the unrest throughout the world and a global pandemic, that all is well in your home.

 

ANNIE, MUM TO TWO BOYS

 

 

 

 

 

How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

This new normal has been the hardest for my toddler, Winston. How do you explain why “you can’t play on the playground” to such a young child? On top of that, he’s turning 3 next week. People certainly are going through harder things than having a birthday party without family or friends, but it still breaks my heart a little.

Share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced.

The best part of this experience is spending time with my kiddos. I’ve been making an effort to be more focused on them when I’m at home. I feel so lucky to be quarantined with babies because they keep my mind off of the negative news. I’m so wrapped up on taking care of them, that I hardly have time to be anxious.

What advice would you offer to other mums right now?

This quarantine time period has truly given me a deeper appreciation for my family and friends as well as life experiences. I can’t wait to take my kids to the zoo again! To take them to see their grandma. To take them swimming and to the movies. I hope to teach them gratitude for the little things in life once this is all over.

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