Kelsey Adams, of Brooklyn, NY, gave birth to her daughter Anaya Soleil on February 21st. Once Kelsey took her baby home from the hospital, life started looking a whole lot different. The coronavirus began its spread throughout New York, and Kelsey and her partner, both freelancers, found themselves in the middle of a pandemic with a newborn and a dried-up income supply. So, prior to travel advisories being put in place, Kelsey and her family made the decision to relocate and quarantine at their family’s property in South Carolina.
On becoming a mother:
“It’s the scariest happiest roller coaster I’ve ever been on. I was dilating outrageously slowly so it was back and forth to the birthing center, to the house, to the birthing center again. After about 20 hours, I was transferred from the birthing center to a hospital. It took about 15-20 minutes to get there and they’re like ‘Oh it’s time to push! Your almost 10 centimeters dilated.’ So, it was still an unmedicated, natural birth but she popped out in a different place than I expected her to.”
On having a newborn during a pandemic:
“It reminds me of The Walking Dead when they had their baby in the show and they’re like out there with the zombies. I know it’s obviously not that extreme, but it almost seems like it’s not real. I didn’t picture this being the beginning of how I’m raising my daughter. I never would have imagined this, I don’t think any of us could, even just a few months ago.”
On making the decision to relocate
“I wasn’t dealing with my anxiety when I was in New York. My anxiety was definitely getting the best of me and that’s why we decided to come out here. Since we’ve been here, I’ve definitely calmed down a bit. I’m trying to get through that 14-day [quarantine] timeline that they have to see if you get sick. But now that I’ve made it this far, I’m feeling a lot better, kind of easing up a bit.”
The bonding with your baby must be pretty extraordinary with what’s happened with isolation – would that be right to say?
“I’m trying to find the words, because it’s just so hard to explain. It’s so much more than what I expected it to be, and I’m pretty sure it would have been, even without the isolation, but with that on top of it has been a huge challenge. The bonding has been incredible, but it’s also been difficult because you know, I’m not used to not being able to just leave the house when I want, you know? And outside of the isolation, for the most part, I feel like I’m strapped to the chair breastfeeding, like that’s my job – milk machine – that’s just my job.”
“The beginning was rough – latching issues, didn’t know what I was doing, and then I ended up getting mastitis. I was super, super engorged that whole first week and a half and then I got mastitis after that. So, I was sick with that for about almost a week and after that, I had to get a lactation consultant to come by the house a few times. We’re much better now, I think I’ve got the hang of it now, she’s got the hang of it. “
Now that you’re a new mom, what is the hardest thing that you’re finding that you have to juggle?
“I really haven’t had much personal time. Like even me wanting to go take a shower, I have to schedule it. Just doing things for myself has been hard. That’s the number one thing every day – having some personal time to kind of woosah and just have my moment. I still haven’t figured out that rhythm, doing things that make me happy, or at least having the time to do things that make me happy outside of raising a human being. I’m assuming it’s kinda like that for all new moms who haven’t figured it out.”
What advice would you give to expecting mothers?
“I feel like a lot of people kind of chime in and they give their two cents of this is the way you have to do this, this is the way you have to do this. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to get too many opinions from too many different sources, so take what works for you, and throw the rest away. That’s what I find has worked best for me throughout my pregnancy and even with her as a newborn, as well.
It’s just really one day at a time, like there’s some days where I feel like I’m holding on by a thread and then I look down at her and everything is OK. You know, she’s breathing, she’s happy, she’s healthy, and now she’s finally smiling. So, there are gonna be those hard days no doubt about it. For me, it was just knowing that these hard times just don’t last forever, as much as it feels like it. And sometimes it can be hard to pull your mind out of that hard place when you’re in the depths of it, but you just have to keep reminding yourself – you’re gonna get out of it, you’re not in it forever, it’s only temporary, and it doesn’t last as long as we might think that it does. For me, I’m a bit of a spiritual person, so it’s meditation, meditation, meditation. Breath through it.”
Connect with Kelsey @koolkelsey to see her new little babe.