April 24, 2020
Four Meaningful Ways to Celebrate a Baby During The COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Kate Drew, LCCE, RM, RM | 0 Comments
As we all continue to live through this COVID-19 global pandemic, I sense we are all settling into the ‘new normal’ and the adjustments made to our lives are becoming more familiar. The feeling of panic is not so much in the forefront of our minds but has settled in a deeper place. Panic buying seems to have stopped, in Australia, there is toilet paper on the shelves again. In some countries, COVID-19 restrictions are being reduced, which must appear strange to those who are in areas where it is still raging.
I can’t help thinking that as this new life becomes more familiar, what about the families that are still pregnant and still having babies? Is the new normal that we don’t celebrate and feel joy for these new lives entering our world? What is the new normal for this?
The strength and power of community never ceases to amaze me. So many people around the world have taken on homeschooling children and doing extra shopping for elderly family and neighbours without time to prepare or plan. Many childbirth educators around the world have done a brilliant job of rapidly moving their lessons and classes online. Learning new ways to communicate, trying out different platforms to still be able to provide the information that we know families need about pregnancy, birth and beyond.
I was very interested to read Lesley Pascuzzi’s results, in a previous Connecting the Dots blog post, from the nearly 200 people that responded to a survey about the global pandemic and pregnancy. The one thing that stood out to me was the most prominent triggers for anxiety and stress were social isolation from friends, family and work, and the inability to participate in celebrations that normally occur around adding a baby to a family.
So as the dust settles for educators moving to the online learning space, my hope is we can hear what the families we are caring for and educating are saying, as they are the ones that are living this. What can we do to best support them, what information can we provide and help guide them with during this unique time?
I believe that not only do we need to provide information about COVID-19, pregnancy, labour and birth, but also provide ideas and learnings about how families can celebrate the joy of being pregnant and birthing their babies. Now more than ever, it is essential to assist families to celebrate and bring this joy into their lives. What are the ways families usually celebrate with their communities and how can we adapt them to our current lives? Listening to families and supporting them in the ways they are wanting support is critical in providing them with what they need at this time to navigate these uncharted waters.
We are fortunate to be living in a time where the technology we have today is still able to connect us even when we are needing to be physically apart. The samee video platforms educators are utilising to connect with families to provide education such as Skype or Zoom, are also being used by families to connect, to announce pregnancies, the arrival of a baby or just stay in touch.
Other ways childbirth educators may like to suggest families can connect and celebrate their pregnancy or birth of their babies are:
Lighting candles can be thought of as lighting the way for the journey into parenthood. Families can ask loved ones to light a candle whenever they are thinking of them and are wanting to send love and strength. This could be in pregnancy, labour or continue in the first 40 days after the baby is born.
Families may like to ask loved ones to write words of encouragement to them. They may be affirmations for birth or a letter of love and support. Mailing them allows the family to keep this gift and return to it in times when they might need encouragement.
Mandalas or other artwork can be created to give to the new family. Mandalas are complex artworks that may combine geometric patterns and symbols within a circle. They may be coloured or in black and white allowing them to be coloured in. The process of colouring in the mandala can act as a mindfulness or meditation exercise.
While colouring them in, loved ones may focus on sending love and strength for the families’ journey ahead. Completed mandalas can be sent to decorate the birth space giving something to focus on and a reminder of the love and strength from loved ones. Families may want to take the time to complete a mandala themselves as a way of calming and focusing the mind.
Creating a craft or sewing project from loved ones can be a wonderfully connecting experience. One idea could be to knit or sew an item that is placed in the birth space. Creating birth flags can be a focus for labour and remind of the love and strength of loved ones. Crafting a baby blanket as a combined gift is another way to connect. Creating may be done individually then sent to one person to combine and complete and send to the family.
What are other ways that you can assist families to find the joy in bringing their babies into the world and celebrate during this unique time? Please share them in the comment section below.
About Kate Drew
Kate Drew, LCCE, RN & RM, is Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator committed to working with families to support them in transitioning a new baby into their family. With over 20 years of experience working in antenatal education, providing birthing services and postnatal support. Kate established Collective Wisdom in Newcastle NSW Australia with the idea of giving new families the support she would have liked herself. Combining knowledge from the many people who have come before her, together with her vast experience, Kate provides invaluable support during pregnancy, birthing and the first twelve months postnatally. She has provided online postnatal support for families all over the world for many years. Kate can be contacted through her website collectivewisdom.com.au
TagsChildbirth education Baby Shower Activities COVID-19 Kate Drew