Both the holidays and having a baby tend to be experiences of excitement. But this year, for many pregnant women and new moms, the Covid-19 pandemic is creating barriers to the joy of the season and the beloved family celebrations we all look forward to.
“We are all going into the holidays emotionally fatigued and carrying the stress of 2020,” explains Catharine McDonald, MS, LPC, a licensed professional counselor in Glastonbury, CT. “There are many abstract losses—holiday traditions, experiences couples and families want to share with their friends and family, and experiences that won’t be.”
These losses can be profound. “Pregnancy outside of a pandemic is a natural time for women to desire to increase their support network and feel connected,” McDonald says. “The loss of that feeling like a safe choice can bring grief and even depression.”
But just because the holiday season looks different this year doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. In fact, creating a road map now for the months ahead can help alleviate the anxiety of the unknown—and make the timeframe as fun as possible.
Here, where therapists who specialize in perinatal mental health suggest starting.
Cassie Shortsleeve is a freelance health and parenting writer, an integrative health coach, a mother, and founder of the new motherhood platform Dear Sunday. Follow along on instagram.