It’s a strange moment to bring a baby into the world.
The pandemic has changed much of what it once meant to be expecting: a partner holding your hand through an ultrasound appointment, crowded baby showers and unsolicited advice from hovering strangers in the supermarket, family flying in to meet a new grandchild in the hospital.
The constant threat of the virus has made our health feel precarious, and pregnant women are at higher risk for severe disease if they become infected. Much of the country is either struggling financially or bracing for economic impact. A Brookings Institution report projected there will be about 300,000 fewer births in 2021, an 8% drop from 2019.
And yet, about a year into the pandemic, many would-be parents say they’ve grown tired of waiting. Some paused fertility treatments in the spring only to realize Covid wasn’t going to disappear in a matter of months. For others, Covid was the push: the sign they needed to slow down and focus on life at home. Or the pandemic brought the silver lining of flexibility—remote work, canceled business travel—that made having a baby possible.
“Everything was kind of home-centered, with work and school,” says Landon Faulkner, whose wife, Kyra Faulkner, is due in February. “In some ways, it seemed even easier.”