Happy COVID Holidays
Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
DECEMBER 23, 2020
We are still in it. For those of you who were newly pregnant back in March, I imagine you thought that by now, we would be past this. I know I did. I remember thinking that we just needed to get past April, and things would go back to normal. Clearly not, and for many who looked forward to introducing your newborn to family and holiday traditions, you are facing another loss in what you had imagined and expected things would be like for baby's first holidays.
Take a look through the CDC guidelines for lowering your risk of COVID-19. I'm sure it's information that you already know, but still is worth repeating, as this is not the time to take unnecessary risks.
I'd suggest you consider ways to make the holidays special, and perhaps still entertain family traditions (in spite of not being together). This is less about making memories for baby, and more about helping you to shift away from feelings of loss and disappointment, toward capturing the joy, hope and excitement of the season.
So often, the magic of the holidays is mixed in with stress. This year, we have permission – and actually, are strongly encouraged – not to rush around trying to squeeze in visits to family, in-laws, and elderly relatives. You don't have to worry about how to keep baby from being passed around from one relative to the next, and trying to explain why you don't feel comfortable with that. Concerns about avoiding colds and flu has escalated to keeping everyone safe from COVID-19.
This year has been a hard one, but… there is one piece of good news I can share with you. If you had a baby in 2020, you may be eligible for new family leave benefits from Massachusetts. This means even if you took 12 weeks of leave already, you may be entitled to another 12 weeks that you can take any time in 2021 before you baby reaches the age of one!
How about celebrating Christmas in July? Hopefully by then, the vaccine will have reached most of the general public, and we can enjoy travel/visits with family without fear or risk, without worry of airport crowds, without having to deal with all the extra effort that comes with travel in the cold weather, traffic, etc.
This is the year to be quiet, stay in your pajamas, or get dressed and take a walk outside, before or after the rain that is forecast for Christmas Day!