You spend your pregnancy, and possibly even before your pregnancy if you’re like us, envisioning your life with your children. You picture beach days with picnics and sand covered baby toes. You picture family gatherings spent passing the baby around from person to person because no one can get enough. You picture days spend at Disney, where your child will have an ice cream bar dripping down the front of their specially ordered family vacation themed shirt. You picture taking them to see Santa for the first time, where they will inevitably cry at this stranger old man who is suddenly holding them. You yearn for a bunch of little moments and adventures in the life you want to give them.
Despite being pregnant in a pandemic, I still spent my pregnant days dreaming of these moments. Moments where we will create special memories that will last our kids forever. Memories that turn into photo albums that we will one day enjoy while we laugh and reminisce.
Of course, reality so far has been quite different from this.
First and foremost, before I continue, let me mention that I do not say any of this looking for sympathy. There is none to be had. I am fully aware that these are first world middle class problems. My children are fed, have healthcare, two educated and employed parents, bunches of love, clothes, a house, and so on. Instead, I decided to share this because I am shocked at how small our babies’ world is due to this pandemic and I wonder…when they are finally able to widen their world view, what will it be like? What will the world look like? How will it feel for them to see that the world is so much bigger than these simple days?
I think we all know that people have approached this pandemic in a variety of ways- some have totally quarantined and have done little since this all began, while some have galavanted about maskless in all sorts of social situations, and of course there are countless versions between these two ends of the spectrum.
As far as our family, Tiffany and I both fall in the high risk category for Covid, due to certain medical conditions we have. I was even more high risk due to the pregnancy- and of course a high risk multiple pregnancy at that. And now our premie babies, with very little immune system developed, are also a concern. This means that Tiffany and I probably fall into a category of people who quarantined to the extreme. We have stayed home since March except for doctor visits and the occasional visit to my mom’s house( she also is quarantining as heavily as we are and when she does have to go out into the world, we quarantine from her too). Groceries are delivered to our house rather than shopping in store and they are wiped down upon receipt. We haven’t stepped foot into a store and the amount of times we’ve even gotten take out can fit on one hand. Basically, our twins lives have been on short walks around our neighborhood, our backyard, various rooms in our house, the pediatrician, and my mom’s house.
There have been times where I wondered how this will impact them. When the world returns to a new normal, and we finally venture out with them, will they be overwhelmed? Will we have to slowly expose them, waiting for a culture shock to hit them? Will their mind be blown being however old they are and never having even walked into a store? How can I as a parent guide them and make the right decisions for them during such unprecedented times?
How, as parents, will this be a major adjustment for us too, as we have to allow them to start exploring the world at some point after fiercely protecting them with our every move during a pandemic? Because if there is one thing I am certain of after spending so many months at home, it’s that staying home all this time transforms you slowly into this hermit version of yourself. That is certainly not the me that I want our kids to grow up with, so I will have to force myself into a metamorphosis of sorts. I’ll have to retrain myself to approach parenting in new ways.
I don’t have any of the answers to share with you. I wish I did.
When I really think about it, parents , especially parents of twins, often spend lots of time at home during the first year anyway because life is so overwhelming and the babies are still so little. I doubt that seeing a lack of places in their early months will really scar them for life, but I do worry about the lack of exposure to people. As an introvert who doesn’t mind some alone time to recharge, I could suggest that interacting with people doesn’t matter, but I know that’s not true. People are the cornerstone of our lives. They are our support, our confidants, our outlets. Our babies are missing out on people. The good, the bad, the ugly of it all. I can only hope that soon they will be able to hug abuelas, kiss aunts, play with cousins, and get introduced to other babies at play dates.
Even now, knowing all of this that we’ve endured through this pandemic, I still hope for the future. I will continue to picture little adventures and hope that one day it won’t be necessary to have them be masked outings. I hope they will be able to hold loves ones in their little kid cuddles, rather than stare at them through face time. In the meantime, we wait for normalcy.
I don’t know what their world will look like, but I know that it will eventually become bigger, better, and we will do everything we can to give them a wonderful life, despite the hell of 2020.