Motherhood is filled with overwhelm. The life-changing experience of being pregnant is one filled with anticipation, familial-excitement, and one too many late night trips to Baskin Robbins for a 3-scoop, fudge- covered sundae. Normally, this is a time of establishing routines and methods of preparing for your incoming bundle of joy. However, as we all know, 2020 is anything but normal.
Danielle Marking is one of millions of women around the country tasked with the challenge of a ‘pandemic pregnancy’. Like so many others, the 26-year-old from Memphis is forced to adjust to a prenatal-care plan that is remote, isolated, and a bit scary. For a first time mother, this can be an—understandably—enormous amount of overwhelm.
But if there’s one thing mothers are instinctually gifted with, it’s the ability to turn overwhelm into overcome.
Taking a much needed moment off of her feet, Danielle—or Dani, as she is known more affectionately— granted me the honor of getting a first hand account of what it’s like to be expecting during a year that embodies the unexpected.
So, what is it like to be pregnant during a global pandemic?
Sometimes it’s scary. With doctors appointments and whatnot, it’s hard to know who is allowed where and what’s going to happen when the time comes. Everywhere is a bit different than the last place so there’s no real routine.
Do you think about the possibility of being the only person in the birthing room when your baby comes?
I do. It’s a little terrifying. My assumption is that at least one person would be able to come back with me, but you never know with all that is going on. I have a fear that, if they have to isolate the baby for some reason after birth, I may not be aware enough to know what’s going on.
What do you do to quell those thoughts?
I try to think about what’s ahead in the long run and what the end goal of the day is. I know that I’ll be with my child and that, no matter what is going on, I’ve been put in the best position I can to make it work out.
As a soon-to-be single mother, what are you looking forward to learning with your daughter?
I’m excited about the things I’ll be able to tell her, and to watch her grow. This whole scenario is something that—hopefully—she will not have to ever be really aware of. But, it’s something I know will make her special and a fighter from the very start.
What do you think women like you could do for other incoming mothers to make these times easier?
I just think we should keep the encouragement going. If I see a pregnant women in the store or out somewhere, I give them acknowledgment and share the moment with them. It’s a crazy time to be pregnant and we all have to stick in it together, man.
How does your mom feel about being a grandmother soon?
She’s excited! The whole family is. Now, my dad? He is over-the-moon excited to be a grand-pappy.
And, what about you? Where do you currently sit about becoming a mother in a few months?
I’m ready for it. I’m ready to have her here and to let her know that she’s special. Not just to me, but to the universe itself. I’m ready for the challenges and joys that come with it. She’s part of a group of children that have a shared bond we’ll never experience. I’m ready for her to be connected to those around her from day one because of that.
Okay, so it’s 2025: Little Ember Reign Marking is scared about something in her life. What do you say to her to help her overcome?
I would say that she’s strong and always has been a little fighter since she was born. I’d let her know that—like my mom showed me—it takes grit and strength sometimes to beat something, but it’s in our DNA to be able to get over the hurdle and see the victory at the finish line. Does that make sense?
It makes complete sense, Dani.