My dear son,
I am only about halfway through carrying you, but there is so much I want to share with you already that I couldn’t help but start writing to you.
I can’t tell you I’ve dreamt of you (yet).
My subconscious seems to want to work out the gunk of this tumultuous period, as well as revel in the bizarre. But my conscious thoughts, when I have the time to play, those, my boy, are all yours. There are so many things in this world I want to show you and just as many that I want to tell you. The showing will have to wait till I can get you safely on the outside…and we can play and travel and explore this beautiful world together. I can’t wait to see it through your eyes.
The telling, though…that can start right now.
First and foremost, I want you to know that you are already and always will be so incredibly loved. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to properly describe it to you, and that’s not really the point. This love is well beyond words, and what I really want is for you to feel it. Someday, you may hear the term “covid baby” and even ask me if you are one.
My answer is unequivocally, emphatically, “No!” That is a catchy term that someone coined not really to describe babies conceived during this time, but rather what their parents did with it. Frankly, I find it degrading (despite calling you Covido at times). You are so much more than that. Your daddy and I have wanted you for many years, long before this pandemic forced us all to narrow our circles and spend more time at home.
That said, I can’t say that the COVID-19 pandemic had nothing to do with your creation. In fact, I think it was actually quite helpful in getting you here! You see, I have a tendency to do a lot, go a lot, and not always stop and take care of myself. As the pandemic dragged on and we were forced to spend more time at home, I was able to take a look at myself, my life, and how I lived it, and make some changes that I think ultimately led to me being able to conceive and carry you.
I rested more. I started to cook much more and nourished my body in a way that it probably hasn’t been nourished since your Mimi regularly cooked for me. I listened to the voice deep inside me telling me to slow down and listened to my body—and after several months of that, my body told me I needed even more rest. That, my son, was the first sign that you were already growing inside me. With that knowledge, I gladly allowed for even more rest, knowing that it was no longer just for me.
This time of rest has led to much time for reflection, and I’ve realized that I want you to know about this time from me. While I don’t know when this era in our country’s story will end or what it will finally be called, I know you will read about it in school someday. You can be sure that as you learn about this time, I will gladly answer any questions you have as fully and honestly as possible. For now, here’s what I can tell you.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, I went on a local TV show on which we typically joke and poke fun at recent news stories while also offering professional opinions from different fields. However, this show was different. There was a somber mood as we discussed other parts of the world shutting down due to a viral pandemic and how and when we might be affected.
Little did we know that that would be the last of those shows, at least at this point, because that was the last day of “normal life” for us. By the next morning, my regular Saturday morning yoga class had a size limit, no physical touch, and no use of studio props, as we attempted to be together safely, knowing that a deadly virus was circulating. By the next day, there was a shut down that was to last two weeks, but ended up lasting months.
Fear permeated as we stayed at home, abiding by restrictions meant to keep everyone safe and not overwhelm the healthcare system, knowing that in other areas, even here in the United States, infection and death rates were rising. Worldwide, thousands of people had already died from this disease.
The world was already mourning an enormous loss, and with little known about the virus, we were unable to gather together and comfort each other with presence and touch.
At the estimated time of your conception, early October 2020 (don’t worry—that’s all you’ll ever hear about it from me!), over 200,000 Americans had died from COVID-19. As I sit to write to you now (late February 2020), we have lost almost 500,000 American lives to this disease and almost 2,500,000 lives worldwide.
As the pandemic is ongoing and restrictions continue, it feels impossible to process what this immense loss means and the ultimate toll it will take, not just in deaths, but also in people’s mental health and well-being. In addition to these deaths, many people are experiencing lasting physical health effects. Millions of people have lost their livelihoods and don’t know how they will feed their children. Businesses close every day. Like the mental health toll, the economic toll may not be known for quite some time.
You may think this sounds awful and frightening. It is. However, the pandemic is only one part of what 2020 brought to this country. Several months into the pandemic, a Black man named George Floyd was killed by police officers, and this terrible act reignited a movement toward social and racial justice.
Peaceful protests happened all across the country, even across the world, as many people could no longer turn a blind eye to the killings of black Americans and the systemic racism many prefer to believe does not exist. Unfortunately, there were also riots and looting, and more people were killed.
In addition to the pandemic and protests, 2020 was a record-setting year for wildfires in California. These fires destroyed over 10,000 buildings, killed 31 people, and cost more than 12 billion dollars.
Then we had probably the most contentious election in U.S. history with the nation feeling more divided than ever. Because of the pandemic, voting was different. Mail-in ballots were available for everyone in our state, and we were also able to vote early. I didn’t know it at the time, but you were with me as I went to vote on a Sunday prior to Election Day. We waited outside on a cold October day to ensure my vote was cast and counted.
It took days after the election for all votes to be counted and a winner to be declared. This was followed by objections to the results and what you will likely see referred to as “Insurrection Day,” as people who refused to accept the results of this election forcibly entered the Capitol.
This was followed by even more disaster, as Texas is currently in a state of emergency due to a winter storm that has left thousands of people without power, nearly half of the state’s residents under boil-water advisories, and over 20 people dead.
That, my son, is the extremely abridged version of what this past year has been like. It has been filled with sadness, grief, uncertainty, anger, death, and destruction. It has been a year of fear.
Yet, there is hope.
Despite all of this, there is still beauty, joy, people coming together to help others. In the meditation protocol I teach, practice, and hope to share with you someday, we are taught to notice, feel, and explore opposites. The teachings propose that opposites often arise together, and I have observed this to be true. When this happens, one does not “zap” the other. Rather, the two opposites reveal to us a greater whole that is its own entity.
That, my son, is you. You are the sum of all of these experiences, wholly greater than any of the sadness, grief, destruction, and even joy and beauty I have seen in this past year. You are the combination of the hope and fear that co-arise.
I hope to never tell you not to be afraid. It is more than okay to experience fear. It is a natural, normal, human emotion that often exists to keep us safe. What this time has taught me is that fear should be acknowledged and looked right in the face, as it then reveals to us what is most important.
That, I have found, is love.
What I want you to know the most is that as the whole created by all of these things, you are love embodied.
You, my child, are love.
A photo of you and me: