What a year, am I right? For all of us. It’s not an exaggeration to say everyone on the planet has had quite the year, a life-altering one for most.

 

April 25th…
I’m smiling like a goon here because I found out I was pregnant that morning. We went for a beautiful hike up in Flagstaff then had a picnic after, a Saturday outing that became a quarantine ritual.

For me, it has been quite the year to be pregnant. When quarantine started, I kept thinking how fortunate I was that these unique circumstances and restrictions occurred during this specific year of my life, because if it were any other previous time I don’t think I would have been set up as well – emotionally, financially, etc.

The year I worked 3 service jobs in Orlando? I’d be out 3 service jobs and completely broke.

The year we got married? Postponing and changing plans would have devastated me. My heart goes out to you 2020 brides.

Last year, when I was coaching Girls on the Run, getting involved with Toastmasters, and finally finding my community here in Phoenix? The year I found my perfect job? All that progress might have been derailed.

But this was the year we decided to start trying for kids, and the pandemic threw me and Kyle a significant amount of time to be stuck in our small apartment alone together. As a result, we were given something that has been the ultimate blessing, the ultimate reason for gratitude in otherwise shitty times, and the ultimate beacon of hope when the world has been changing and crashing in many ways around us.

Baby Boy Barichello.

Maybe you’d think being pregnant during this pandemic year is no easier than planning a wedding or just graduating college or moving to a new place. Sure, the implications of being pregnant during a pandemic have certainly been terrifying, but there has also been so much awesome to it.

My sweet mother flashed her photography skills for us at Bell Rock in beautiful Sedona.

The terrifying… what if I do get this disease? How would my pregnant body, which can hardly catch its breath when getting out of bed, react? How would it affect our baby boy?

The awesome… I have been able to work from home throughout my entire pregnancy. No one had to see or hear me get up to hurl in those early weeks (other than sweet Kyle and Yoshi). I haven’t had to buy a bunch of maternity clothes for work. Comfy yoga pants have been my maternity work uniform, and I get to take naps at lunch!

Thanks, husband, for always capturing me in my finest moments.

As much as I don’t want this pandemic to go on any longer, I’ve already been told that I’ll be working from home at least a couple of months after my maternity leave ends. I’ll have even more time at home with my baby boy and finding child care isn’t as urgent as it could have been.

While a global pandemic puts quite a twist on things, I imagine pregnancy isn’t a whole lot different in normal circumstances. Meaning, you’re guaranteed to have ups and downs, extremely high moments and all-too-low moments, each pregnancy and body with their unique sets of waves.

The highs in my pregnancy: 

  • Seeing those ultrasounds and learning that Baby is healthy and developing normally.
  • The moment on the ultrasound when Kyle and I saw a distinguishing reproductive organ, and we knew we were having a baby boy.
  • Every single time I feel a kick or hiccup or complete roughhousing in my belling. I think of it as my baby saying “Hello Mommy, I enjoyed that pumpkin spice cookie. Keep eating more sweets, please, no matter what Daddy says.”
  • Celebrating “Baby Day’ with Kyle every Wednesday, the start of a new pregnancy week.
Baby Day begins at Froth, our walking-distance coffee shop.

Unexpected highs:

  • Not worrying about whether my tummy looks bloated for the first time in my adult life. Baby bloat is my favorite kind of bloat.
  • Having zero IBS issues throughout pregnancy, huge win!
  • Being more accepting of the fact that I need to relax and do nothing, often.
  • I won’t lie, it’s nice to get special attention and have people looking out for you when you have an obvious baby bump. My sweet neighbor has left so many goodies at my door all year!

Of course, there have been tradeoffs.

The lows in my pregnancy:

At the start of the third trimester, I woke up one day with what the midwives diagnosed as PUPPPS, a pregnancy-related skin condition that left some hideous hives all over my body. They itched, they burned, I scratched, and they bled. Repeat. I felt about as sexy as a thumbtack. I’ve tried about a million remedies and my combination seems to have helped contain it to just my hands and ankles now, which I can live with.

Mom anxiety: hearing a story or seeing commercials with sick kids and my mind racing to all the things that can go wrong. Fear of postpartum despression. Hearing that my pregnant friend got Covid at her baby shower, just a couple weeks before her due date. Moms, how the hell do you keep it together?

Not sleeping.

Not sleeping + aversion to coffee.

But again, I get to nap at lunch 🙂

In 9 months of having a baby belly, I’ve learned a great deal. How fortunate I am that my parents are close by to be part of the experience. How to listen to and trust my body, and finally realize how dang awesome it is. How to ask for and receive help.

Tree Pose at the Grand Canyon. Baby and I have enjoyed lots of yoga together!

For the first time in my life, I look at kids with awe, (forgive me, I waited tables near Disney World and was scarred on children for many years). I’m excited about getting diapers and snot suckers and setting up Baby’s space in our home. I look at moms differently and have such an appreciation for anyone who’s done this before, and a big place in my heart for anyone who has gone through a pregnancy loss, loss of a child, or struggled to get pregnant. I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak.

I am overjoyed by the support system I have, from Kyle and Yoshi to my parents and in-laws to friends close by and far away to the midwife team and community at my birthing center to my boss and co-workers to the neighbors I’ve met through my belly breaking the ice. I’ve had dear friends ship me boxes of their old baby boy clothes and maternity leggings. One of the editors I’m working with on my book knitted our baby a beautiful blanket. And I’ve had lovely virtual baby showers and a great handful of friends mask up for a lovely in-person shower earlier this month.

Pregnancy is a lot to handle in one body, one racing mind, and one overwhelmed emotional system, but this experience has shown me more than anything that I’m not alone and I’ll never be alone in this. Baby Boy has a strong team of people who love him and are ready to help him and his parents thrive in the world, and I can’t wait to see all the love that’s gone into making him expressed through his own eyes, whether they’re brown like Mommy’s or blue like Daddy’s, or his own special mix of Baby Boy Barichello’s.

The big question is, does he want to be the light at the end of the wild year that has been 2020? Or does he want to start 2021 off on the most joyous foot? Our due date is December 30th, when do you think Baby Boy Barichello will make his arrival?

Pregnancy and a Pandemic: A Snapshot of My 2020

21 thoughts on “Pregnancy and a Pandemic: A Snapshot of My 2020

  • Love this Michelle! Such a wonderful journey you and Kyle are on, and your little Baby Boy will add many adventures. Enjoy

  • Love this Mishi! Covid has actually brought so many blessings that none of us would have received or appreciated prior to this crazy year

  • Loved reading this ! SO excited for you 2 and all you will be experiencing soon ! Can’t wait to get the call from your mom praying for you !

  • Aww my dear sweet Michelle! You are going to be the best mommy that any baby could ask for. And of course Kyle will be the best daddy!! Nah Nah and Papi can’t wait to meet little Leo. Yes this last year has brought many ups and downs but that is how we grow strong and become who we are as a person!! Yes we want 2020 to be over and move on with better days, but I say baby Leo should be born in 2020 to give us the best thing that happened to us in 2020 and make it brighter. So I’m saying Dec 28th Love you all!!

  • Michelle (& Kyle), I am so happy for you. This is so wonderfully written, as usual and I can feel your emotions through reading this. You really have put into words many thoughts that expectant moms (& dads) have. I wish you all the best and I know you are going to be great parents! Congrats!

  • I usually get bored and don’t read too many blogs but I read yours, and I have read several of yours. You have a talent. I am so happy for you both. I can relate to most everything you said. You have an amazing support system it sounds like and seriously use it! Lol. Parenting/first time mom is just amazing. It’s something you can’t describe until you experience it. You think you love that baby now, just wait until you look into his eyes. Those fears you mentioned will be overwhelming at times and in the same breath, they’ll all be gone and nothing matters but that moment, rocking that baby late at night, watching him sleep, crying because you’ve never experienced this type of love. It’s amazing. Enjoy every second because no one is lying…it really does go that fast!

  • Oh my goodness so well said! Beautifully written. I say Big Bang for the new year on baby’s arrival! Also love Froth, if you can walk there we used to be almost practically neighbors

  • This is AMAZING! I love your words of expression gave me chills just reading this. I would love to read more of your of your blogs they are very inspiring. Congrats again on becoming a new Mother as well as Kyle a new Father. 🙂

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