With Michelle Tagge and Nicole Peyton
Michelle Tagge gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Ashlynn, on March 17. Ashlynn was born at home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has led much of the world to institute a shelter-in-place order and social-distancing guidelines in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
For new and expecting moms, the current regulations can potentially put them in extremely difficult situations. Some women fear being forced to give birth without their partner present. For some, giving birth during the pandemic may mean being separated from their newborn for a quarantine period if baby or mom tests positive for the virus. For those planning hospital or birth-center births, doulas are no longer an option as most places are only allowing one support person during the birth. Baby showers have been cancelled, and grandparents are meeting grand babies through glass windows all in an attempt to flatten the curve. Women are being forced to attend ultrasound appointments alone, and even endure miscarriages without their partners present. Many postpartum support services have been halted, though a lot have attempted to go virtual. It seems as though the policies surrounding expecting moms change daily, but it’s fair to say it’s an uncertain time to be undergoing perhaps the most profound, monumental experience of a woman’s life.
While this all sounds scary, Michelle’s story and perspective offer some lightheartedness and positivity toward the current situation. Not to be mistaken for false optimism, Michelle doesn’t sugar coat her experience—she is very candid about the fact that this situation has made her postpartum very difficult—but her story is inspiring and real, and spreads encouragement to expecting and postpartum women everywhere: you can do this, it’s not easy, but you’ll be stronger for it. The BIRTH Project is all about storytelling. This is Michelle’s story. She offers tips and advice for new and expecting moms, and tells the story of her experience as she is currently living out her postpartum under shelter-in-place orders just outside of Chicago, Illinois.