Article and Photography by Eric Shenk | Owl Staff
The day I become a parent will be the best day of my life. Having a child is a life changing experience and I recently learned I will begin that journey this Fall. I’ve been imagining the moment that I get to meet my little one every day since, but because of precautions taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be safer for me to sit this one out.
Having a child for the first time is ideally filled with joy, happiness, excitement, and family. My girlfriend, Arianna, and I are definitely happy and we are so excited for our baby to be born, but the pandemic has also brought anxiety, fear, and uncertainty into our journey. Is this the state of the world that we’re bringing a life into?
According to the CDC, it is currently unknown if pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, but we’ve taken extreme measures to stay inside and make sure that Arianna stays as healthy as possible. I don’t know if it’s already a fatherly instinct kicking in, but I’d do anything to make sure those two don’t get sick.
Arianna is 19 weeks pregnant and we have recently scheduled our 20-week anatomy scan. This is the appointment where we discover the sex of our baby; the day I’ve been anxiously waiting for. As of right now, I’m prohibited from being in the exam room for this milestone.
I want to throw Arianna a beautiful baby shower; I want her to have a day that’s all about her and the tiny life we have created, and I want all of our friends and family there to celebrate. Because of the social distancing guidelines, we don’t know when or if that can ever happen.
I’ve read stories of mothers who have delivered their babies during these past months, and it’s heartbreaking. These new moms are alone and many dads are seeing their newborns for the first time via video chat on their phone or computer.
The traditional experience of meeting their little one has been snatched away from them. A moment that can never be relived.
These precautions are taken to limit the possibility of COVID-19 contraction to health care workers and patients. Although it may seem unfair, these precautions are needed due to the lack of a vaccine and a successful treatment plan.
As of right now, our hospital will allow one visitor during the delivery, no switching. So if things don’t get any worse I will be able to be there for the birth of my baby. Although it’s looking positive, the worst part about this experience is not knowing.
Not knowing if things will get better next week or next year. Not knowing if you’re going to be able to witness your child be born or if it will be able to meet its grandparents right away.
Our baby is due on September 25, so many things can happen before then. My only hope is that I get to be there for my baby when he or she is born. If I’m not able to be there, I know it is for the safety of everyone involved, but it would still break my heart.