“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
In September, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. We cried tears of joy when the doctor told us we’d be having our son in May… the weather would be perfect, he’d be here to enjoy the warmth of June and July, and we could spend our first months of parenthood in the beautiful transition between spring and summer. This was the first grandchild for all of our parents and the first great grandchild for our grandparents. My husband had spent the years leading up to our marriage wondering if he would ever have children, so this pregnancy was such a magical experience for him. The joy that comes with new life surged through the generations that had raised my husband and me, and the months leading up to the birth were a dream. Then, a new reality set in.
I was diagnosed with a genetically inherited pregnancy condition that raised major concern in the months leading up to birth. It would only impact my wellbeing- the baby would not be affected but there was the possibility of life or death. I spent the evening I was given the news in question around the experience I wanted during the birth of my first child… “Do I want to be in fear when I meet my son or be full of gratitude and love through the process of delivery?” I picked the latter. Every time my blood sample would come back worse than before, I had made the conscious decision I wouldn’t allow the continued bad news to take my joy of bringing new life into the world.
I remember when COVID-19 came to light so clearly. I had my baby shower 2 days before social distancing measures were passed by Governor Kate Brown. There were whispers around the room as I opened gifts and the avoidance to hug the “mom-to-be” was strongly felt on my end. At first, I didn’t take it seriously. If anything I thought, “if one more person mentions this virus, I’m walking out”. I was 2 months away from giving birth and a pandemic crisis struck the nation in a matter of days. I was frustrated. I was angry. My birth, newborn, and CPR classes were all cancelled. My check-up appointments were now over the phone. When I had to go in for bloodwork or an ultrasound, my husband had to wait in the car. I felt alone and unprepared. Would I be bringing my son into a world consumed by fear? Would I be in fear?
The easy answer: absolutely not. COVID-19 provided my husband and I an extremely precious time to bond before our family of 2 became a family of 3. I appreciated my home more than ever, even the little flaws that I had previously wanted to change. I reignited my love of cooking. I finished putting together my son’s nursery and had time to sit and enjoy it. What I realized during this time is there is beauty in all seasons. Winter months bring cold, death, and gray, but what comes with the end of winter is the beginning of spring. There is renewal and rebirth all around. The birds are chirping and the neighbors come out of hibernation to work in their yards. To truly love spring, you have to learn to appreciate the winter months leading up to it.
My son will be born into a world reset, and I look forward to the people we will be when we step out of isolation. We will have a newfound appreciation for relationships, for community, and the unknown. There is beauty in this time, and though everything around us seems to be pointing to the ugly, I’m a commitment to the state of being I want to be in when building this bond with my son- a state where there is joy, appreciation, and an overflow of love.