My whirlwind of a year began last fall when I discovered I was pregnant with twins. I was shocked, frightened, and excited all at once. I knew my husband and I had to create a plan as we were going to be very busy, and we already had two little boys who also required our time and attention.
When the pandemic hit and everything was closing down, we realized all of the planning we had set in place to keep our household functioning was useless. I was eight months pregnant and isolated under one roof with two high-energy little boys and a working-from-home husband. Just like everyone else, goals of color-coded charts and strictly scheduled days turned into a free-for-all of snacks (kids eat constantly), mandatory afternoon movies (superpregnant Mommy needed to rest), and device time with headphones (our breaking point). The original notion of a family staycation mutated into a nightmare of a Groundhog Day.
The one thing that kept us together and motivated during this time was the anticipation for the upcoming birth of the twins. It was a forthcoming moment in time that even a global pandemic could not make disappear. And in my condition, I was grateful that I didn't have to physically go anywhere. The stay-at-home orders also coincided with a severe case of nesting for me. So as I worried for friends and family, I also prepared for the arrival of our two new babies.
Being isolated offered me lots of time, and time for me as a mother is something that is constantly determining my circumstances. Time is a double-edged sword. Some days, it is slow and uncompromising. Other days, it leaves me breathless as it wields its furious strokes. With my two boys home, I was no longer bound to a flurry of activities, so I enjoyed not setting an alarm, the disappearance of all events on my calendar, and the daily proclamations of "hurry ups" that I no longer needed to say. When my newborn babies arrived, I was able to focus so much more of my attention on them because our normal life had been suspended.
I have always looked forward to postpartum and the time to be with my newborn. The shelter-in-place orders actually forced me to stay home with my babies. There were not any school drop-offs, last-minute grocery runs, or playdates for the children. And due to the threat of the virus, I did not have anyone around except our household. I existed in my mother and baby cocoon, while the outside world kept its distance. Sure, I missed the help outsiders would bring, but I knew keeping everyone safe was more important. And it allowed proper time for my postbirth body to heal at home without having to dress up my beautiful wounds to face the public. For me, being secluded at home with family was a postbirth recovery period that I'll forever be grateful for.
The pandemic had so many negatives and horrors for so many, and I'll never stop mourning them nor take for granted that we were lucky enough to welcome home our twin girls safely and without the complications and fears facing so many other families. But it was a reminder that this is how it should be in the first few weeks of life for all parents and babies — a slow, simple, and quaint introduction, in a place that is home, where we're allowed to slow down for just a bit.