PHOENIX — Giving birth during a pandemic is likely not how any mom envisions her delivery and the added stress can make an already overwhelming time even tougher.
Still, support is out there for those who may be struggling.
Janice Jones is due April 24. She has two boys but knows this birth will be different because of COVID-19.
"All my plans this time around kind of got thrown out the window. My mom was going to be my main source of help for like the first month, but she can't come because she lives in Ohio," said Jones. "Tears over, you know, what's going to happen? Just the unknown and the fear of the unknown is the worst."
"The new fear is just going out in general," said Laci Wright, who delivered her baby boy, Declan, on March 23. Wright works as a newborn care specialist but says even she was not prepared for this, scared any trip outside their home could put Declan at risk.
"I don't want to see him on a ventilator. I'm going to cry," said Wright. "I don't even want to think about it, so that's the hardest part."
Accessing basic support services has been a challenge too.
"I thought about seeing a lactation consultant because I'm having supply issues," said Wright. "I can't just go."
Michelle Lacy is the executive director of Women's Health Innovations of Arizona in Gilbert. Like so many other providers, the non-profit is now offering telemedicine and free online support options to meet the growing demand.
"I think the level of pressure on moms right now... because they're more isolated, they are trying to be teacher, mom, caregiver, and they're not getting their normal outlets," Lacy said.
She also has this advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed:
- Practice presence by asking, "What do I need right now?"
- Limit exposure to anything that highlights the devastation around you
- Find new ways to practice self-care
- Take advantage of free, online support options
- Reach out for professional help, if needed
"Reaching out to other moms, just checking in with them and saying, 'Hey, how are you doing?'" said Lacy. "You know, it's okay. We wouldn't do any other job 24-7 and so as mothers, especially right now, that is essentially what we're doing. Our job is 24-7, in addition to dealing with the uncertainties and unpredictability of everything that's going on right now."
There are several local and national resources available, many offer online support options.