Just after 9:30 a.m. on April 28, Clara Prudhomme officially came into the world, weighing a healthy nine pounds, three ounces.
As the midwife placed her in this reporter’s hands for the first time, the grey skies outside the Kingston General Hospital window cleared and the sun shone over Lake Ontario. And at that very moment all the concerns leading up to her birth were forgotten-at least for a moment.
Of course as the father, that’s easy to say. But for my wife the stress of carrying our child and then delivering her in the middle of a pandemic only added to a naturally anxious situation.
While we certainly weren’t the only couple to welcome a child in the middle of a pandemic, it turns out we are in somewhat select company. In researching the number of babies born in Canada over the last year it was learned that many provinces reported their lowest number of births in decades. Early in the pandemic experts predicted there would be a rise in births over the next 12 months, but instead it appears the opposite has occurred. In retrospect it’s not really all that surprising-uncertainty of both the virus and the economy is giving people pause. And that’s certainly reasonable and respectable. To those moms who gave birth during the last year however, they deserve a special mention this Mother’s Day (which by the way, is this Sunday so don’t forget to call).
Once again with the disclaimer that this is coming from a father, the birthing experience of our first daughter in 2016 wasn’t exactly a tranquil one. And that was when our concerns were ‘only’ limited to the traditional ones that run through parents’ minds as due date draws near. This time around however there were a lot more things to consider.
When we first learned Clara was on her way, it was August 2020 and COVID-19 cases were on the decline. At the time it appeared as though Canada was through the worst of it and by the time her due date rolled around, it would be pretty well contained. And then the third wave arrived. Stricter measures meant only moms could go for the ultrasounds, doctor checkups and midwife appointments. Without underscoring the many sacrifices for many people around the world have had to make to help limit the spread of COVID-19, it was still a disappointment to have to learn Clara’s gender over the phone as opposed to being in the room, looking at her ultrasound.
As cases began to spike to all time highs across the province, the thought of not being allowed in the delivery room began to creep into this writer’s mind. Even just the slightest symptom of the virus is enough for a hospital to refuse entrance of a mom-to-be’s support person. Understandable, but after missing so much of the process over the last nine months, not being allowed in the delivery room would have been devastating.
Fortunately, it didn’t come to that.
Of course Mother’s Day isn’t just for those who gave birth during the pandemic. Once a mom, always a mom. Whether someone’s been a mother for two weeks or 70 years, they never stop worrying about the well being of their own. This pandemic has meant fewer visits and more sleepless nights for moms, regardless of whether or not their kids still live under their roof. With all that’s gone on the last year, it’s always a good idea to make time to appreciate mom.
To my wife Meghan, mom Mary and every mom out there, Happy Mother’s Day.