You’ll never forget having a baby in 2020.

Maybe like me, you entered pregnancy feeling excited and confident. 

My early pregnancy conversations with my doctor and friends were lighthearted and relaxed. I assumed this would be my easiest pregnancy and postpartum year.  This was our fourth boy. What could surprise us?  

Maybe it was your first pregnancy and you were filled with joyful expectation for all the firsts: the gender reveal party, baby showers, and introducing your sweet one to family and friends. 

We could never have imagined everything we knew about pregnancy and postpartum was about to change.

You’ll never forget having questions that were un-Googleable. Babycenter had no idea what happens if a baby catches COVID, and your copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” had no “Pregnant in a Pandemic” chapter.

My own pediatrician and trusted OB, who had seen me through every prenatal fear and parental crisis, could only offer me a shoulder shrug and somber, “We just don’t know,” when it came to my questions of how COVID could affect the baby or me.

Familiar stripped away, I came face to face with where my trust was found.

I had found a lot of faith and trust in educated doctors, experienced parents, and my own maternal instincts. None of these people or places were inherently bad. God had used them all to provide much-needed support and wisdom throughout my motherhood journey.  

However, He allowed the pandemic to expose the reality I often ignore because it is scary: I am not in control. 

During the pandemic, there was only one parent who understood perfectly what was happening and how to respond, and that was my perfect Father God.

You’ll never forget the feeling of being stuck.

For five months, my husband ran almost every errand, such a bummer because he’s just not as refreshed at the end of a kid-free Target run as I am. 

Mundane choices like should I attend a birthday party or go to the grocery store felt like mental Tetris.

You’ll never forget the tears of frustration and decision fatigue.  

Every choice you made with love. Whether it was keeping your circle small and saying no even as most of the country re-opened and reconnected, or saying yes to returning to the office and sending your kids to school.

You’ll never forget the people who weren’t there: in the delivery room, postpartum ward, or waiting at home to welcome your baby. 

In a season that can already feel isolating and lonely as days and nights blur together, support systems have been scarce. Simple postpartum lifelines like familiar faces delivering meals, visiting family members, or moms groups have been cut. 

You’ll never forget holding joy and grief together as you watched your baby experience the world for the first time and wished you could share these moments with friends and family.

I have struggled with anxiety feeling trapped and disconnected making many decisions to say no or join the Zoom option for larger gatherings to protect our baby. Postpartum anxiety has reappeared and, like so many new mamas, the stress of pregnancy and postpartum in 2020 is a probable cause. 

On the hard days, I practice every breathing exercise my psychologist taught me, chase the sunshine, and say “Jesus” as my prayer, my pause, my plea.

As 2020 closes, Mary’s experience feels akin. The mystery of the virgin birth beckoning us toward a deeper appreciation for carrying life into a world reeling from chaos and pain. 

Mary was full-term, descending from a donkey, facing a lonely and scary birth in a foreign city. 

Unorthodox and unprecedented, there was no one to guide Mary in this turbulent and exciting season, but the Holy Spirit. Carrying a miracle, did she feel like she needed another one? 

Another miracle to endure the shame and ridicule of being an unwed mother. A miracle of protection during a grueling trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in her third trimester, on a donkey. A miracle of provision when all the rooms were full. Joseph was with her, but she had no other family helping her in her time of greatest joy and need.  

I imagine she cried out for many miracles before the greatest miracle the world had ever known was born.

You’ll never forget having a baby in 2020 and neither will I.  

Divisions threatened, disappointments abounded, and trials surrounded, and we experienced a miracle. The miracle of a baby, and the miracle of experiencing peace, hope, and provision through another baby, Immanuel. God, we’ll never forget Who was with us.

Charity Rios

Charity is the author of “My Heart’s Garden” children’s book and workbook (releasing Jan. 2021). She is a Jesus follower, wife and boy mama to 4 of the wildest, and squishiest sets of dimpled cheeks. Most days you can find her top knottin’ it, totin’ potties and rollin’ in the mini. The power of the gospel is her melody and unleashing women and children from captives into warriors is her passion. You can find her at charityrios.com, on Instagram @claritywithcharity and Facebook @charityrios,author.