Pregnant during the pandemic - what's a catholic mom to do?
Pregnancy during the Pandemic – What is a Catholic Mom to do?
By Julie Larsen
I keep hearing stories in the news of moms not being able to give birth with their spouse present or a doula. If the hospital allows a mom to give birth with a spouse there – they have all kinds of protocols – may have to wear a mask, gloves, gown or whatever. Even stories of baby being taken away from mother after birth. What is a Catholic Mom to do?
First of all, do not panic. Talk to your doctor and hospital before the due date. Clarify what they allow or not allow. Please insist on at least your spouse being there if at all possible, adding in another support person as well – doula or sister or family member. Ask questions!
Second, be prepared for the hospital policies or consider other options for your birth. If you are pregnant right now and have time to consider home birth with a midwife and you are not super high-risk pregnancy – you really can consider this option. If you want to learn more about home birth options, I plan to put some links at the bottom of this article. If you are going ahead with hospital – ask what their policies are right now and if any of them may change before your baby is born. Ask to consider letting you have that “birth hour” with your baby – where you get to hold the baby skin to skin, breastfeed (if doing this), and no bath till after this hour is up. I do not think the hospital should stop this kind of thing – if you are not covid positive then there should not be an issue. Even if a mother or baby has covid – the baby will benefit from breastmilk. Insist on informed consent for any procedure done at the hospital. There is one thing they cannot do – force you to do anything you do not want. Find another hospital, do home birth, find a way that works for you. If we do not do this, then we are allowing the hospital to dictate the way birth happens. Remember you can always say “I do not consent” and they must listen!
Third, no matter what your birth plan or wishes are – God is in control. Leaving the birth in His Hands is so important in this time of pandemic. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself and your baby will help you get through this. See link at bottom to grab some free affirmations I am offering to moms.
Fourth – birth story share! Remember your story for you and your baby is a birth story worth sharing and remembering. No matter what policies are in place – get that story written down -share your story with others! Let other mamas know that you were empowered at your birth. That you can do this journey and so can other mamas!
Fifth: This gift of life that you are giving a newborn baby is awesome. We thank you for choosing life in time of pandemic. Many mamas are scared even more on how to get ends to meet. If a mother is not sure reading this article how she can continue on her pregnancy journey, reach out to Christian or Catholic pregnancy help centers and see how they can help. There is also the Project Gabriel Angel that helps pregnant mothers as well. http://www.gabrielproject.org/
Sixth: Pray during your labor. Pray at home, pray at the hospital. Bring a Rosary and pray. Put on some light music if need to focus. Get that birth room the way you want it. Keep your strength in God and Mother Mary. One of my recent clients said – and Mary is going to be with me. I thought she was referring to a family member. And then she said, “No, Mother Mary!” I finally got it. I was like “Wow, the confidence you have in Mary is so special.” I even lack this confidence. I felt like this client understood a special devotion to Mary that perhaps I lack. I am glad that this client taught me something about relying on Jesus and Mary during pregnancy and labor. I learn something each time I help a new client as a doula!
Final words, I am starting up a new podcast for mamas – pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, topics like this will be covered. Right now, I have a podcast site and name. The podcast name is Angelic Bellies – Life Bearing Mamas. View here: https://anchor.fm/juliana-larsen So, episodes will be coming soon – if there’s a way to subscribe please do so!
Another idea – hire a virtual long-distance doula! I offer this service for a small fee compared to many other doulas. A lot of mamas are hiring doulas to be there “virtually” during labor and such. However, we also offer preparation time – work for the birth time. So, this for me is usually two sessions – but I can do more. I also offer childbirth classes online as well – so this helps if mama wants more information then I suggest signing up for the classes as well. If you want more info contact me here: Ave Maria Doula & Mother’s Knot Breastfeeding https://www.facebook.com/mothersknot/ I also do not mind referring you to someone in your area if you are looking for an in person doula or doula that is closer to you for online services. There is also this doula finder that might be helpful: http://findacatholicdoula.weebly.com
So, Catholic moms here is your takeaway:
1.Be prepared for your birth – home, hospital, birth center.
2.Ask questions of your doctor or midwife.
3.Understand policies before arriving at the hospital.
4.Insist on at least husband/partner be at birth.
5.Let go and give it to God.
6.Pray! Give your pregnancy and labor to Mother Mary!
7.Grab some free affirmations here: https://doulacon.weebly.com/resources.html I’ll add them to this page on our Doula and Mama conference that we had this month.
8.Do not forget to subscribe here to Mother Marian newsletter: https://go.reachmail.net/SubscriptionForm/f03fafed-2d36-4294-a43f-ab0c012312a9/fullpage And I’ll send reminders about our podcast!!
9.Home birth resources – Free birth plan resource: https://homesweethomebirth.com/gift and this site: http://www.spiritualbirth.net/
10.So, what do you want to know more about for your upcoming pregnancy and birth?
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Juliana Larsen is the author of the Catholic Doula Blog.