Here is what it is like to be pregnant during a pandemic

To: My unborn son

From: A. Cole (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To my unborn son,

It is going to be years before you can read this and even longer until you can fully understand it. But I wanted to write to you right now so that I could accurately tell you how I feel at this moment.

Right now, I am seven months pregnant. Pregnancy is not easy under normal circumstances, especially for a black woman.  According to the CDC, black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

A. Cole has two children and is pregnant with her third child.

When I was giving birth to your older sister, I had a very quick delivery. By the time I got to the hospital, I was fully dilated.

I was telling the nurses, “Hey, she’s coming. This is very urgent.”

The nurses reacted painstakingly slow.  There was no sense of urgency. And then, suddenly they started to panic because your sister was coming so fast. One nurse apologized afterward.

After that experience, I knew I had to educate myself. I knew I had to watch out myself. For my second pregnancy, your big brother, I went to a midwife center and it was a totally different experience. They listened to me.

You are our third child. I found out in November of 2019 that I was pregnant with you. You were a surprise, just like your two older siblings.

I was so excited when I realized I would have another boy. Your brother is very rough and tough and likes to wrestle. You will be close in age and I think you will be great companions for each other.

However, bringing you into this world has been a lot more stressful than it was with your siblings. When I go to the hospital to check up on you and do basic testing, I have to wear a mask. I look around and some people are wearing full hazmat suits.

A. Cole found out she was pregnant in November of 2019.

Right now, there is a global pandemic. COVID-19, a highly contagious virus, is spreading around the world. Nothing like this has happened in 100 years and it adds a whole other layer of stress and fear when it comes to carrying you.

There are a lot of decisions I have had to make. If I do the same as I did for your brother or your sister, I won’t be able to see you for the next three months during my pregnancy, as they are limiting appointments at the hospitals and doctor’s offices. Plus, those places are filled with sick and contagious people.

For weeks,  I couldn’t sleep at night. Instead, I stayed up bugging your dad about our different options. The whole situation started to feel completely out of my control.

For weeks, I couldn’t sleep at night. Instead, I stayed up bugging your dad about our different options. The whole situation started to feel completely out of my control.

Your father told me he would support whatever I wanted to do, even if it costs more money. I started to research and I learned about home birth. I wrote down the pros and cons of different options and I consulted with my doctor, who said I would be a good candidate for home birth. Ultimately, I decided I would have you right here in our home with your dad by my side. Two midwives are on a call and they are going to do home visits until you get here.

A. Cole says she is excited to have a second son.

Meanwhile, throughout this pandemic, I have been isolated, staying away from people to keep us safe.

When you finally get here, I will feel so much joy and relief. A weight will be lifted when I get to see you and hold you. It’s a little nerve-wracking thinking about bringing you into this craziness because we don’t know what the world will look like in two months or six months. However, I promise, just like I am now, I will do whatever it takes to protect you.

However, I want you to understand that in life, many hurdles will be thrown in your way. Some, like racism, you might be forewarned about but others, like a-once-in-a-generation pandemic, you might not see coming. Either way, I want you to know that no matter what, I will always fight for you, and in doing so, I hope I set an example so that you always fight for yourself.

You are an incredible blessing.

I love you,

Mommy (A. Cole)
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