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The Ultimate Guide to Telling Friends & Family to F Off When You're Giving Birth During a Pandemic

Ladies, if you are pregnant or just gave birth in the middle of Omicron madness, I see you. 

You probably got pregnant in the glory days of spring/summer 2021, back when vaccines were rolling out and we thought the pandemic was nearing its end. You likely didn’t think you would still be having conversations about quarantine and exposure and close contacts when the baby was born.

You might have had a pandemic pregnancy after a pandemic wedding that was delayed twice and then you just had to go ahead with the wedding and had a scaled-down celebration because you wanted to be married already and who knew how long this pandemic would last. Apparently it lasted long enough to ruin another of life’s milestones for you. Cool.

Or maybe you were one of those extra-lucky people who had a baby in the very early days of the pandemic, back when we were still wiping down groceries and obsessing about Joe Exotic. You might have had to labor and deliver alone—and masked. You might have left the hospital thinking, “Thank God that was an experience I’ll never have to repeat.”

And now it’s déjà vu all over again.

Though I am not pregnant and do not currently have a newborn, my first daughter was a December baby and my second spent most of her first January in the PICU because she was knocked out by rhinovirus—basically the common cold—when she was just shy of ten pounds.

So I have a teeny tiny idea of what you might be going through. And I’m here for you.

I know that weighing different risk scenarios keeps you up at night. I know that in looking for reassurance, you probably find yourself doomscrolling more than you care to admit. I know that you are desperately seeking any shred of common ground between what you want, what your partner wants, what your relatives want…and what your baby needs. I know that you are completely overwhelmed by guidance from the CDC, AAP, OB/GYN, BOE…and probably your MIL.

Here’s what I want you to know: you get to make allllllllllll the rules. 

If you want to hibernate with just your little family of three for months after the baby is born, you can. If you require visitors to be vaxxed, boosted, recently tested and masked, you do you. If you want your mom to move in for the next six months, I support that.

But it’s one thing to make the rules and quite another to get people to understand them.

To that end, here are some examples of things you are probably saying out loud…and what you actually mean as you say them.

(I know, I know. I am a mind-reader.) 

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What you say: The only people who can see our newborn must have two vaccines, a booster, an updated Tdap and a negative rapid test. Pediatrician’s orders!

What you mean: Pediatrician, schmediatrician. These are my rules.

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What you say: I was really disappointed that we had to cancel the baby shower, too. 

What you mean: If you want to make me collapse in a puddle on the floor, by all means keep talking about an event I’ve looked forward to my whole life. I dare you.

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What you say: We would love for little Aidan to see his Grammy once more before the new baby is born. But we just can’t risk it right now.

What you mean: I know that you went to an indoor lunch with three girlfriends on Tuesday. So…let’s FaceTime? Or not. Whatever.

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What you say: Yep, I suppose the silver lining of this whole “Covid thing” is getting to go home quickly after I have the baby. 

What you mean: Sure, the labor part will suck, but I was really looking forward to the room service. Now I’ll be back home in 24 hours where I am somehow expected to heal from major trauma, breastfeed, lose the baby weight immediately and have dinner on the table while getting no more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time. Awesome.

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What you say: Aw, a “Mommy tested positive but not for Covid” onesie. Hilarious! Thank you! 

What you mean: Ew, ew, ewwwwww. 

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What you say: The bathroom’s that way! 

What you mean: Want to hold the baby? March yourself over to that sink where I have conveniently placed three types of antibacterial soap and wash your hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice. Otherwise, in the words of George McFly, "Hey you, get your damn hands off her!"

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What you say: So sorry—we’re asking all visitors to keep their masks on.

What you mean: If I wore a mask while I was in labor for 35 MOTHERLOVING HOURS, you can wear a mask while you're in my house for 45-minutes. 

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What you say: Yeah even though Omicron is “mild,” we are still taking every precaution.

What you mean: If my partner has “mild” Covid, I will be solo-parenting three kids while still changing bloody bandages from my C-section.

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What you say: Oh hey there, stranger-trying-to-touch-my-baby.

What you mean: BACK. THE EFF. UP.

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What you say: Thanks so much for the package!

What you mean: I’ve been trapped indoors for two weeks with a newborn and a WFH husband. You’re the only other human I’ve spoken to. Please talk to me and tell me everything about the outside world. I beg of you.

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What you say: I’m sorry…did you say that you just got back from a cruise?!

What you mean: Get the $&*@ out my house!

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