When you’re pregnant or you become a new parent, it can be exciting to share the journey with family and friends. Many people look forward to shared experiences like celebrating a baby shower and having loved ones hold your baby for the first time. You may want to have your partner by your side at prenatal care checkups, or have visitors at the hospital after your baby’s birth.
But social distancing due to COVID-19 has changed many of those experiences. It also has changed the ability for friends and family to help out during pregnancy or when your baby comes home. As a result, many pregnant people and new parents are feeling lonely or isolated.
If you’re having these feelings, you’re not alone. Feeling isolated and fearing the unknown are issues facing millions of people during the pandemic. Even though this is not how you thought your pregnancy and parenting experience would be, there are things you can do to stay connected with others.
Here are some tips for finding support in a more virtual world:
- Take the time to enjoy the outdoors safely. Getting outside can help you feel more connected to the world.
- Try out new things, like a virtual class on something you enjoy where you can interact with others.
- Talk to friends and family over the phone or a video chat. Consider doing something together using video, like making a meal.
- Join an online support group for pregnant people and new parents.
- Take an online childbirth education class so you know what to expect during pregnancy and when your baby comes home. You may meet other pregnant people you’d like to connect with virtually.
- Practice breathing and relaxation methods you learn in classes and support groups whenever you need them.
- Ask a neighbor to help with your grocery or diaper shopping. They can leave the shopping bags outside your door to practice safe social distancing.
- Use video chats to introduce your baby to family and friends.
- Consider online therapy, where you can discuss your feelings with a mental health professional.
If you feel anxious or depressed, talk to your health care provider. Perinatal depression is depression that happens during pregnancy or in the first year after having a baby. It includes postpartum depression (also called PPD), which is depression that happens after pregnancy. Depression is a medical condition that can get better with treatment, so it’s very important to tell your provider if you have any signs or symptoms.