I thought I was holding it together while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, until all my worries about welcoming my new baby hit me hard. I had a two-hour meltdown and that's OK.

By Maria Tocco Torres
May 14, 2020
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Credit: Yeji Kim

I’m surprised it took this long, honestly. The other night, I had a meltdown. A full-blown, tears for two hours, nothing could bring me out of this funk meltdown. But I suppose that is what pregnancy hormones, coupled with unprecedented stay-at-home orders, coupled with dealing with a full-time job and a toddler, on top of uncertainty about your delivery will do to you.

My husband and I live in Chicago. We’ve been staying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic since March 11. I’m also 38 weeks pregnant and I haven’t really left the house except for walks with my 20-month-old daughter, Lilia, and to go to my doctor’s appointments.

I consider myself a fairly strong, relatively unemotional person. I try not to sweat the little stuff and keep things in perspective, and I think I do a pretty decent job of it. Until the other night. The weight of juggling it all while being almost full-term and uncomfortable just fell upon me like a big, crashing wave. I know we can all relate to this—we are tired, overworked, and in need of a break—but I really reached my breaking point as so many thoughts swirled in my head.

I am concerned about what is going to happen in the next few weeks; the apprehension of who is going to watch my daughter when I go into labor with our second child. Who can we trust that has also been following orders to social distance and won’t risk getting her or our newborn baby boy sick?

Maria Tocco Torres and her family.
| Credit: Courtesy of Maria Tocco Torres

Another big concern: Is a hospital birth the right decision? Are we putting ourselves and our family in harm’s way by coming unnecessarily into contact with people if we can possibly avoid it? I have had so many people tell me to consider a home birth. But is that the right decision for us? Ultimately, it’s our decision, and we have to choose what we think is right for our family, even if we are far from 100 percent certain we are making the right one.

The grandparent conundrum may be the toughest of all. We typically have my in-laws come and watch our daughter on Thursdays. We haven’t done so since social distancing started. I am also uncertain about having even grandparents come visit our newborn after we bring him home. It’s a tough decision to come to grips with, but much tougher I’m sure on our four loving parents that want nothing more than to come and meet their new grandchild. What a terrible decision to have to make for all families in this situation. The pictures and videos on the news of grandparents looking lovingly through a window at their precious new bundle of joy just break my heart.

And although petty and small in the grand scheme of things, the prospect of nobody being able to come meet the baby is a sad one. It is a time that should be celebrated with family and friends, and this time around, it will feel very ordinary and uncelebrated.

Somehow at the end of my meltdown (which I don’t feel guilty for), I felt some comfort thinking of the beacon of hope on the horizon. In a few months, this will hopefully (for all of us!) be blown over. Life will return to somewhat normalcy. And I will have a perfect baby boy to join our already pretty amazing family. We’ll have visitors and a warm, eventful summer ahead of us, and no meltdowns (except for our toddler. I’m sure we can still count on that!).

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