Edition Number 24 - COPING WITH COVID
Hi Everyone,

So…how are you doing? An impossible question for sure. It goes without saying that these are unprecedented, unpredictable, unfathomable times. School closures, massive layoffs, mandatory distancing, and uncertainty all around as we wait and wait and wait. We wait for information, guidance, answers, or perhaps even a Covid-19 test. Thankfully, my immediate family is safe, healthy and together. We have enough toilet paper. We have Netflix. We have each other.

Even in times of supposed shortages (OMG, no quinoa!!) I am trying to find the silver lining and laugh at the myriad of privileged assumptions I have made about my life, my lifestyle, and all the systems that have worked for me -- as well as the invisible workers who fuel these systems and are now suffering greatly.  I have taken so much for granted. This isn’t an observation to feel guilty but, rather, is a note-to-self to wake up with even more empathy and compassion. Sigh. It can be very painful to be awake.  

These days, I find myself oscillating wildly between total freak out “monkey mind” and a softer, neutral one.  I repeat aloud, “I am peaceful, I am peaceful” or “I am well, I am well” even while my monkey mind is grabbing me by the ponytail trying to sink my mood, energy and spirit.   I repeat these affirmations even when I don’t feel peaceful or well or like saying these things at all.  

Truth is, I’m just getting slightly more comfortable with being totally, freaking uncomfortable. I don’t “got this,” I’m not staying calm, and just for today that’s Okay too. I try to make space to have all the feels as I ride this mad, see-saw spectrum and we all venture further into this Unknown.

I don’t know what the greater lesson is amid a novel global pandemic. I don’t know what it will be like to homeschool a preschooler, take care of myself, sustain my business, and deliver a healthy baby into this world, more specifically, into what very well may become an overrun and understaffed hospital. 

I do know the time for reflection and even reinvention is right now.  I suppose the real yet ironic silver lining is just that: having more time. What will I do with it?  What will you do with yours?

I intend to stay emotionally connected to as many people as possible while also practicing diligent physical distancing. I intend to stay social with FaceTime check-ins, “dinner parties” and meetings.

I intend to move my growing body the best I can with the help of apps like Yoga Glo and Open Fit, life savers as gyms close and classes become impossible to attend. I intend to sit in stillness daily, sometimes twice, and the Insight Timer app has been a great tool for me to keep track of my meditation alone, while friends on Instagram are hosting group meditations virtually.

I intend to get outside and watch the sun rise or set, proof that nature has not abandoned us and that we all are here witnessing this change together. And then, of course, I intend to watch every season of the borderline Harlequin romance, Outlander — thank the old gods and the new!—which is a fantastic hole for me to fall into when I’ve binged enough on other news media.

I didn’t set out to write a Corona edition but given this is dominating each of our lives, I wanted to share a healthy edit of what I have found to be positive, prudent, pragmatic. I hope something in here helps, Mamas. As always, reach out with any thoughts and ideas via email, DM or the old school coconut phone.  

With lots of love,
There is no perfect time, place or way to meditate. Please repeat this to yourself! This is no time to judge the way you do it. Below is a quick and light meditation, via the Insight App, to ground yourself. It is suggested for moms but you certainly don’t have to be one in order to benefit from the practice. 

And if you think meditating is impossible that’s Okay!  You can listen while doing dishes, half listen while pacing, or take it to the bathroom with you if that’s the only place you can be alone right now. 10 minutes of sitting per day is akin to putting money in your spiritual bank account. Invest in yourself now: The risk is low, returns are guaranteed and they compound over time. I for one am grateful to “withdraw” from my account whenever I feel afraid (frequently!), confused (yep!) or overwhelmed (often!) in order to make my way back to a calmer center.
Much like everything else the federal government has shared with us, the possibility or actual directive to “shelter-in-place” has several interpretations that vary state by state. As of today, many of us are already living under some version of this, less the scary semantics. By the time you read this, “shelter-in-place” mandates may have been triggered where you live but, for now, here is how CA is defining it via Time.
Perhaps we are witnessing a painful yet essential virus that, in some cosmic way, is wiping out another one. The pandemic isn’t just medical—it’s political. 

We are experiencing, first hand, a crumbling house of cards: America’s current society without any sustainable social net. Women, children and the elderly are most vulnerable as a result of decades of push back against what I consider a true democracy’s Holy Grail: Universal health care; paid sick leave; and access to affordable childcare. 

This is a great essay in The Guardian written by an LA-based writer who had serious flu-like symptoms, contracted pneumonia and was still unable to get a Covid-19 test despite her relative affluence and good health insurance. Her personal journey of self-quarantine led her to think more deeply about the implicit â€ś connection between America’s lack of commitment to collective wellbeing and the social disaster we suffer in times of crisis.”   

In this crisis, the current administration has lied; obfuscated and outright endangered millions of People by failing to act; failing to let optics take a back seat to experts; failing to tell the truth. And as the crisis continues to unfurl we are watching an avalanche of interdependent and underfunded systems fail. 

Beloved restaurants, stores and small practices are closing daily—workers whose work is incompatible with social distancing are being decimated. The gig economy that many single parents rely upon for flexible work hours has failed them abysmally in the absence of any mandated protections reserved only for those classified as “employees.” Caretakers? In a particularly precarious position.

Perhaps the best thing we can do whilst awaiting some kind of “back to normal” is reevaluate our own place and part in this inequitable ecosystem. For me, I am reminded how inextricably linked we are— how we rely upon each other so much—and how I can all do better. Change really does start with me, and will continue my vote. 
Thankfully, Karuna is just young enough that he doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on. I’m also thankful no one is teasing him about the unfortunate way his (beautiful) name rhymes with the de facto F Word of the moment—what ignorant bliss. 

Despite the fact he doesn’t know Monday from Sunday, he will get stir crazy and, like any parent attempting to do their best, I need activity options. I need crafts. Now, I am not a crafter by any stretch of the imagination and need all the help I can get. Here are some creative kits to attempt that thankfully can still be delivered, stat, courtesy of Amazon. Make your own wind chime, paint some rocks, bead a bookmark or a friendship bracelet, knot a quilt and take it back to another quieter, lo-fi time.
I really, really empathize with the mamas who have preteens or teens at home struggling to make sense of how they became part of an episode of Black Mirror. Essential tests deferred; time-tested traditions and hard fought tournaments cancelled; and the impossible ask not to see your friends and socially isolate— but with your parents ?? My moody 15-year-old self would. JUST. DIE.  

If you have a child who is already struggling with anxiety then Covid anxiety is taking you and the family to a whole other level.  The New York Times has a helpful piece to talk about this by breaking down five ways to cope:  

Step 1: Normalize the Feeling - Not all anxiety is “bad.” Anxiety is perfectly healthy, particularly in the presence of a real threat.

Step 2: Offer Perspective -  We can help adolescents keep their worries about the coronavirus right-sized by making sure they don’t “overestimate the dangers or underestimate their ability” to protect themselves from those dangers.

Step 3:  Shift the Spotlight from You and Support Others -  Don’t hoard. Be kind. Have empathy. Talk to teens about sacrifice (usually temporary) and how sacrifice is good for the community. Remind them that, yes, they are all part of a community and that we all benefit when the community takes other people’s needs into consideration. 

Step 4:  Take Breaks and Do Something Else -  It’s important to stay informed but not to the brink of overload.  Encourage media-free times, put down the phones, and do anything else to healthfully distract and change the Corona “channel.”

Step 5: Manage Your Own Anxiety -  Our kids are tuning forks. They know how we feel. Don’t lie to them. While it’s fine to feel anxious, be mindful of the way you allow anxiety to drive your words and behaviors.  Modeling a level-headed response right now, at least in their presence, is crucial. Then go outside to cry, scream and lose your sh*&!
Maybe working out is the first or last thing on your mind. The gym can be a very social place so in isolating times like these you may just forget-about-it and throw in the proverbial towel.  Whether you’re a group class or a DIY kind of person, there are several virtual options to choose from your favorite studios and a host of fitness apps to try too.

Peloton’s offering a free 90 day trial that doesn’t require the purchase of a bike and includes access to non-spinning classes. Stream a Class by Taryn Tooney and try the “practice of self-study through physical conditioning.” Nike Run Club is a great companion to running outside and Aaptiv offers audio-guided workouts when all you have are a pair of earbuds. Daily Burn has a garden-variety menu to choose from while Obe hosts more than 4,000 cardio, strength-training and stretch classes from dozens of top trainers including classes for kids set to Kidz Bop soundtracks. Full list to consider via CNBC below.
There’s been an impressive rise in maternity clothes but not too many for the fourth trimester. You know, that “extra” period we aren’t told much about where unless you’re built like Chrissy Teigen (and I’m not) you basically look pregnant for at least another few months. For me, it was closer to 9.

The last time around, my fourth trimester “style” was pretty much limited to my makeshift mat wear with a sprinkling of anything with 5% Lycra jerry rigged with expandable hair ties lest there be a button or zipper involved. As an aside, J Brand four-way stretch saved me then and now.  

Hatch Collection has always had a functional yet chic maternity line and now they have an equally cool fourth trimester collection. Fluid pieces primarily focus on support for nursing with a relaxed fit (considering most mamas will be homebound) but also include joggers, maxis and jumpers for the more ambitious mama who’s out-and-about. Shop below via Mother .
I never envisioned being weeks away from delivering a baby under a city in crisis and lockdown. Babies are born all the time under duress, war, indeed far worse circumstances than these, but, nonetheless, these circumstances are not typical.

I am scared. I am worried. I am making contingency plans that prepare to be without my doula, without my mother for god knows how long, and include going to a lightly-trafficked hospital across state lines with the guarantee of a private room and the goal that this experience be as calm, safe and sacred as possible.  

The below essay in New York sums up what I imagine many pregnant women are feeling as we grapple to make birthing plans in the face of the unknown.  Irin Carmon describes the uncertainty like this,  

“To try to be prepared without being able to make plans. To have the fate of all of our bodies tied up together, our literal lives depending on each other’s health and sickness. As for the being that is most depending on me, we’re both sheltering inside for now, and all I can really do is try to make the vehicle of her isolation a little more hospitable.”  


All I can do is continue to be a loving shelter for this baby girl while deciding with my OB when might be the optimal time to bring her Earthside via a scheduled C-section. For this, I am luckier than many. I have good health insurance; a healthy husband to support me; a doula who continues to virtually educate and empower my process; and access to more information and choices than many. 

To my pregnant mamas, whatever you choose, know that there are options despite the pandemic. Be sure you’re in a practice that will do its best to honor your birthing choices. Advocate to have the support team you need in the room and if you can’t have them there physically, consider Zooming them in.  If advocating is too much of an energetic commitment then find someone to be that advocate for you— a partner, outspoken friend, or doula. If you are low-risk and your provider is open to a home birth then this might be the safest choice for your circumstances. And if you’re in NYC consider going to NJ like me. DM for me details on why.  

And to everyone trying to conceive, forced to delay IVF or cancel a cycle altogether, my heart goes out to you especially. Dreams deferred and cancelled are just too much to bear alone under any circumstances yet alone in the face of a global pandemic. Stay connected to those who get it. Don’t let anyone discourage or judge your unique pain and path. Our paths to motherhood are diverse, unexpected, and never linear. Keep your faith, discover it perhaps, and know that you are not alone.