I have been trying to figure out how to put into words what it’s been like to navigate being a first-time mother during a pandemic. NOTHING went as “planned”.
I didn’t think my pregnancy would be the way it was. I thought I’d be surrounded by my family and friends. That I would see the people I wanted to see and hug the people I wanted to hug. Covid had other plans. I did not get to spend time with my siblings. I did not get to spend time with my mother. I did not get to spend time with my friends. Instead, I lost my job a few weeks into moving back home and was home until I gave birth to my daughter. My husband worked from home for a few months but had to go back to the office right before it was time for us to deliver our sweet little girl. To top it off, I had some complications post-pregnancy that was scary. Things I didn’t even know could happen to you.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a mom. I thought I’d be so good at it but I was just terribly afraid of doing anything with my child.
Luckily, I had people around me that were able to pull me out of my anxious state. But it was and still is an extremely hard journey. I’m nervous to go places. I’m nervous to see people. Nervous to meet new people I don’t want anyone close to me or my child even though I’m vaccinated.
I feel like I’m learning how to navigate society again, slowly. In social settings, I either have word vomit and cannot stop talking, or I sit silently because my attention span has moved on to something else.
Realizing that I am not who I was prior to this baby has been an eye-opening experience and a harsh reality. I only have a memory of who I was, as I try to understand who I am. One thing I did realize is how important it is to make sure you have a strong support system. Whether you can see them physically or not. I have been so blessed with the best husband, sisters, and best friends that encourage, challenge, and remind me that I am a strong woman. This will be an uphill battle that I’m willing to fight to discover who the new me is.
Being a mother has been the greatest honor of my life, but there is more to me.
Fatou Arnold is a wholesome professional whose core mission is to leave the world a little better than she found it. To date, Fatou has an extensive 10+ year background involving the intricacies of the education, hospitality, real estate, and athletics industries and is renowned for her autism advocacy work that has driven new levels of awareness and equality. She also serves as Executive Director of Manny's Village. Learn more about Fatou's work at www.mannysvillage.org