Hey Mama, I see you.
Trying to stay positive as your due date nears – packing your ‘go bag’ with anticipation, while anxious thoughts race through your brain. Whether you’re newly pregnant, about to meet your sweet babe or sitting somewhere in the between –
I know this is a scary time for you.
With the onset of COVID-19 in our country, going to the hospital to deliver your baby looks different right now than it normally would – hospitals are limiting who is with you, often only allowing your partner and forbidding any visitors.
(With good reason, of course, for the safety of everyone involved.)
But this can lead to feelings of anxiety and isolation at a time in your life that you pictured looking drastically different.
Maybe you’re grieving close family and friends not being able to meet your baby right away, not being able to hold them and love them in the way you’d imagined. Maybe you’ve waited so long for this pregnancy and now the joy of it all seems robbed and unfair. Maybe you’re scared about the unknown and uncontrollable. Wherever you’re sitting right now – your feelings are valid. There is no rulebook for what our world is going through – for what mothers and fathers and families are experiencing.
And as a newborn photographer, many of my clients have had to cancel Hospital sessions – moments we can’t recreate. Captured memories together that are priceless, timeless. In this space of unknown, with no timeframes in sight, I feel helpless and unable to serve my clients in the ways I normally would. But while I can’t be there with them as planned, I can help prepare them for welcoming their babies earthside – even if I’m behind a screen, from afar.
There are endless blogs and articles online about what to include in your hospital ‘go bag’ – things like personal toiletries, comfy clothes, your own pillows and blankets, lots of snacks! – but what about in the midst of this global pandemic? How can we support mothers to deliver in safe, calm and gentle spaces while chaos exists in the hospitals around them? How can we help keep families connected when no visitors are allowed?
To help Moms prepare for delivery in this unsettling time, I have put together a list of items to help make your baby’s entrance as joyful and stress-free as possible. Save it for later, print it out, share with friends – let’s remind all the Mamas out there that they are strong, brave and supported in this journey!
With family + friends unable to visit, you will probably want to send photos and spend time Facetiming/Skyping when baby arrives. Hospital rooms are notorious for having outlets far away from the bed, so make sure to pack a long charger (I suggest this 10ft one for iPhones) so your devices don’t die during those precious moments!
With no visitors, this could be the perfect time to start filling out your baby’s memory book, journaling about your birth experience or writing baby a letter. This is an unprecedented time in our country’s history and your children may one day ask what it was like being pregnant during it all – preserve your family’s story through storytelling by using a journal, notebook or baby book (like this one!)
Since current safety protocols do not allow for Newborn Hospital Sessions or Photographers, packing a portable tripod like this one can help you snap photos of you and your newest addition! Use it to take family selfies or prop your phone up when video chatting (so your hands are free to hold that precious baby!)
Bringing a portable speaker to the hospital allows you the option of laboring with music or meditations if you so choose. Pop in your earbuds to watch a movie or listen to your fav podcast, while not worrying about the tv sound levels.
Whether it’s specialty oils or lotions that bring peace to your birthing suite (Wildroots Body Care makes my favorite, natural products!) recorded messages or letters from loved ones – or maybe even framed photos of those who can’t be there – I encourage you to fill that room with joy, support + love!
While I am not yet a Mother myself, I have been capturing Hospital Sessions in Minnesota for 8 years and have over 20 years of experience caring for children + newborns. My recommendations come from current + previous clients, along with my own wishes of what I would want in a delivery room during this time. There are, of course, many more items and necessities one may want to pack in their hospital ‘go bag’ – so I have created an Amazon shopping list with the products pictured below (and more!) to help others prepare. If there are must-pack products you don’t see on this list, let me know in the comments below! xoxo Amanda