Solo Pregnancy in the Time of COVID-19

Solo Pregnancy in the Time of COVID-19

Solo Pregnancy and COVID-19

Let’s face it: Pregnancy during the pandemic can be a very isolating experience. Many clinics and hospitals will only allow one support person to be present at appointments or at the birth. Some clinics don’t allow a support person at all for routine ultrasounds. Many prenatal visits are online now, which means less contact with other humans and fewer opportunities to hear the baby’s heartbeat. For those who have chosen to be solo parents, this sense of isolation is heightened and comes with even more challenges.

My son is three years old now, but as a solo parent by choice, I almost always went alone to appointments. I admit, though, it was nice to have the option of bringing a friend. I was only allowed one support person in the room when I had my son by C-Section. I know how lonely it can feel, especially for first-time parents who also have to contend with absolutely everything being new. The feelings of isolation are even more compounded for solo parents, who likely live alone and don’t have someone to share these new, exciting, sometimes terrifying experiences with.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many people having a solo pregnancy aren’t seeing their friends and family very often, so they don’t have as much opportunity for casual chit-chat about being pregnant. A friend tells me that one thing that’s different with their pandemic-era pregnancy compared to a previous pregnancy is that even with casual interactions like chatting with the clerk at the grocery store, few people ask about how her pregnancy is going. Wearing a mask seems to put an extra barrier between people, and everybody’s increased stress leads to fewer queries about how we’re doing. 

For people working from home, Zoom meetings won’t show your growing belly, and some of your coworkers may even forget you’re pregnant! Many people are caught up in their own stressful lives right now. Overall, there seems to be a lot less attention available for expectant parents, which intensifies the sense of isolation. That is unfortunate because every pregnant person should feel like their pregnancy is celebrated. 

There are a few things that may help alleviate the sense of doing it all alone. Setting aside time to connect with friends and family by phone or video chat can make everything feel a little less lonely. You can schedule regular calls, so you don’t wait until you’re really in need of some human contact to reach out. Feel free to video-chat with anybody who’s awake when the baby is kicking up a storm and doing summersaults in your belly. It’s a weird, wonderful experience and it should be shared! Facebook is helpful for telling you who’s online at a given moment and (probably) won’t mind you calling or texting them. 

Also, look for online support: If you haven’t yet, check out this Single Parents By Choice site with lots of great resources. Social media groups are another great way to ask questions and hear others’ experiences. Sometimes our close friends are not ideally suited to be our support people during pregnancy. That’s ok. Look for social media groups for your geographic area or with similar lifestyle, language, religion, or hobbies. There’s a COVID-19 Baby Parents Facebook Group for people who will deliver or have delivered during the pandemic. You can get a lot of different perspectives from participating in a group like this. Plus, you would not believe the amount of free baby stuff people are giving away! 

Laughter is essential. If you haven’t seen the Huffpost’s Funniest Tweets from Parents This Week, please take a look: If you enjoy stand-up comedy, there are many, many options to choose from, including a pregnant Ali Wong on Netflix is a Joke. You can also try laughter yoga, where people sit together (online) and laugh. It’s silly and awkward and then it’s amazing. Laughter really is wonderful medicine.

During solo pregnancy, the medicine we practice at Portland Acupuncture Studio is well-suited to safely help you with stress relief and relaxation and to maintain a connection with your community. Acupuncture also helps alleviate many of the symptoms of pregnancy, from nausea in the first trimester to heartburn and back or hip pain in the third trimester.

Just coming in regularly for treatments at our safe, hygienic clinic location can give you a sense of connection. We are here to help you stay healthy and enjoy your pregnancy! Contact us to learn how we can celebrate with you while supporting you and your baby’s health!

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.