Being pregnant during a global pandemic
Covid-19 has affected all of us all in one way or another, some of us even losing loved ones to the awful virus. For me personally I have been extremely lucky and don’t know many people that have been ill with the virus, but that still hasn’t stopped me feeling very anxious during these last 11 months. The threat is always there and that fear was only heightened during my pregnancy.
In my previous blog ‘having a baby during a global pandemic – my story’ I discuss how stressful, lonely and upsetting the whole experience was as my partner was not able to come to any of our scans, hospital appointments or visit me when I was in hospital for a week. We couldn’t attend any antenatal classes (but you could attend virtual classes via Bump and Baby Club) and it looked like a socially distanced baby shower was on the cards too.
Which seemed to be the theme for a lot of us mums in 2020.
Second Pregnancy. I still wanted to experience and enjoy all the milestones as I did with my first
This was my second pregnancy, so some of you may think ‘Oh well, at least you had been through it all before’ and you would be right to have that opinion. But this pregnancy, as with all pregnancies was just as exciting and I wanted to share all the happy memories I’d had with my first so I could tell my daughter all about it when she was older. Why should your first born get all the fuss? I’m the second child in my family and also the middle child of four… My mum never treated us any differently.
Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and the Government was starting to relax the lockdown rules for the UK and I saw my chance of organising a baby shower! My first was a grand affair, planned and organised by my very good friends Sara and Anne and it was held at a local bar/restaurant with 25 of my closest family and friends. It was a glorious, hot sunny day in May and we all had the best time surrounded by beautiful balloons, afternoon tea, themed cupcakes and goody bags for everyone.
I knew I’d never have that style of baby shower this time, but I put my thinking hat on and decided to throw a very small socially distanced baby shower in my garden which is a large space, with lots of summer sun so it was perfect for what I had in mind.
I sent out invitations and made sure to note that if anyone didn’t feel comfortable coming, I would understand. Luckily most of my family and girlfriends turned up throughout the afternoon to help me celebrate my upcoming addition to our family. It was amazing to see them all! I hadn’t seen many of them since before the COVID-19 pandemic and the realisation of how much I missed them hit me big time! Say what you like, but having quality time with your friends is good for your mental health and WOW! Did I need some of that type of therapy… What a tonic for my weary soul that day was! Just what the Dr ordered.
How to organise a socially distanced baby shower during the covid-19 pandemic
If you are pregnant or you have been asked to organise a socially distanced baby shower this year, I thought I’d put together some tips for organising a baby shower during a pandemic:
Check the current regulations for your area first
First and foremost… Make sure you are aware of the national lockdown rules before you start planning. What Tier is your county in? England, Scotland and Wales all seem to have their own regulations so please read up on these before you decide if you will be able to throw a physical or virtual baby shower. Here is the link for the Government Alert Levels for Wales (where I live) but you can easily Google this for your country: https://gov.wales/covid-19-alert-levels.
Socially distanced baby shower
If the lockdown rules allow (which fingers crossed won’t be too long now, if these vaccinations are delivered as quickly as promised) then you can host your socially distanced baby shower in your backyard/garden.
You can create the event on your facebook page (which can be made private in the settings page) and invite your friends and family. You can enter the time, date and address on this page. This provides everyone a platform to write on the newsfeed of the events page, share ideas, start conversations etc. Again, another welcome distraction for many of your friends and family. If you are organising this baby shower for a friend, then you can take them off the events page so that everything is a surprise on the day too.
Sterilise, Sterilise, Sterilise
Before guests arrive it’s best to deep clean your home and garden as much as you can. Again, as stated before if regulations allow you may be allowed a few people in your home so that they can help prepare food, wash up etc so best to sterilise before they arrive. Also, top tip is to ensure you have a hand sanitiser at the front and back door to your home (should people wish to use your bathroom during the baby shower or if access to your garden is only through your home).
Socially distanced garden furniture
Make sure that when placing the chairs outside for your guests, that they are two metres apart (unless there are people in a social bubble or live together, therefore they are able to sit close to one another).
Covid-19 friendly baby shower games
I know games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but you have to admit that they are a great ice breaker in any of these situations so I thought I’d write some outside themed games for you to consider that don’t require guests leaving their seats. You don’t want guests mingling, even if it is outside. Here are some options that may be useful to you;
1. Baby bingo with small prizes (again, cleaned before giving out)
2. Guess the baby in the photo (this is where you ask all guests to send in a photo of themselves before the event and ask everyone to guess who is who)
3. Baby music quiz (where you play songs that have the word ‘baby’ in them and your guests have to guess the band and song title.)
4. Baby themed related charades
5. Mums at the shower share their funniest or most embarrassing parenting moments to the expectant mum (this is always a giggle and you can ask guests before they arrive to think of one so they can be prepared).
Provide food for your guests at the shower safely
Although it is very unlikely that COVID-19 is transmitted through food or food packaging, the Government states that as a matter of good hygiene practice you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Maybe prepare baby themed goodie bags before your guests arrive. These bags can have any favours you wish to give, the paperwork for the baby shower games and you can also place food parcels in these also. You don’t want your guests touching food, cutlery, plates or queuing at the buffet table so this format will stop temptation to stand close to another guest and also stop cross contamination.
Keep the event short
My invitation stated 3 hours. I gave my guests a start and end time, so there was no confusion or embarrassment towards the end of the afternoon. I needed to clean/sanitise the chairs, glasses, cutlery etc and was also conscious of my neighbours and didn’t want to disrespect them as I was unsure how they may feel about it all (although I was not breaking any laws, I am well aware that there are many different views on this topic and wanted to be respectful of those who live close by).
Finally…. Relax and enjoy your day!!
It wasn’t the baby shower I originally wanted, but we do the best we can with what we have and I know that that afternoon in my garden last September was the remedy we all needed, during that very short break in the pandemic. We had fun, we had laughter but most importantly my baby and pregnancy was celebrated. A day of memories were made.
In full lockdown? No problem, virtual baby showers are all the rage this year!
I just wanted to add this in here as at time of writing, the whole of the UK is on Lockdown 3.0, during a very snowy winter so if you are due very soon you may wish to consider organising an online, virtual baby shower via Zoom or any other online facility that provides online virtual meetings. Sure, virtual is nowhere near the same experience but the organising, anticipation and the actual event will be good fun (and we are all looking for a break in our monotonous daily routine at the moment so friends and family will also be glad of the fun distraction from lock down life). Make sure you take photos, screenshots and send balloons, banners and cakes to the mum to be (if you are the organiser that is) so that she has that extra special element to her day. A friend of mine recently organised her sister in-laws surprise baby shower and went all out, it was a raving success by all accounts and the mum to be was just happy that her first pregnancy was celebrated with family and friends.
Take photos, videos and messages of the day!
Our Covid-19 babies are never going to understand 2020-2021 no matter how much we explain (I mean, where would we start??). My advice is take photos, videos etc and blog it, put together a photo album etc so that your son or daughter has something to look back and appreciate how much effort we went into our celebrations during a global pandemic.
Have you had a baby in 2020/2021? Did you have or are you planning a baby shower?
Let me know if you held a baby shower during the pandemic! What did you do for yours? Do you have one planned? Or have had to cancel yours due to the lockdown restrictions. Don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance to hold one ladies, the best part of your pregnancy will be in your arms soon enough… That’s the most important part of it all. The other stuff is just a bonus.
Thanks again for reading. Please share if you think you or your friends could benefit from these ideas and then comment below how it went, as I’d love to know.
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