Pregnant in a Pandemic? These Zoom Sessions May Help Ease Your Fears

woman measuring friend's pregnany belly with toilet paper
(Lausanne Kinder/DVIDS)

Having a baby while your spouse or partner is in the military can bring with it challenges. You may be delivering across the country from your family, with your other children in the room or even without your spouse. But having a baby during a pandemic and while your spouse is in the military brings a whole new twist.

To help address some of the fears and questions military spouses have about delivering a baby during the pandemic, the USO, Motherhood Maternity and Tamron Hall, an award winning journalist with NBC, have combined forces to bring a new livestream series focusing on building community for pregnant service members and military spouses.

The first session of the “Motherhood Jungle” series, held in June, focused on health and wellness tips, and offered advice to alleviate stress through mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Four sessions are planned and will cover topics ranging from wellness in pregnancy to balancing life as a new mom.

During the June event, Army spouse Natalie, who is stationed in Italy and asked that her last name not be used, shared her story. Although her husband took her to the hospital, he was not able to join her for the delivery because of COVID-19 restrictions, and she had to go through labor alone with nurses and doctors -- who were all speaking only Italian. She was alone, scared and couldn’t understand.

“I knew I was strong enough to do it and this is my reward, this tiny little happy human to call mine,” said Natalie.

The second session will focus on creating a personal birth plan and selecting a birth support partner. Military spouses can’t always have their spouse or partner with them, so the panel will also discuss midwives and doulas with an eye towards particularly giving birth during COVID-19.

Hall, who is also a new mom, hosts the four-session series. The two experts for the second session, planned for July 20, are Diana Spalding, a midwife and Senior Education and Newsletter Editor for Motherly, as well as Gili Levitin, HypnoBirthing childbirth educator and a doula.

"Caring for the military family has always been a priority for the USO. Throughout this pandemic, our mission of strengthening service members and their families is more important than ever," Christopher Plamp, senior vice president of USO operations, programs and entertainment said in a statement.

"Through our military virtual programming, we continue to provide support, resources, community, entertainment and more to service members, spouses and families who may be feeling separated and isolated. At the USO, we help military families through some special and critical moments. This series demonstrates we will be by their side during an exciting time as their family grows."

Interested in attending?

The next session will take place on Monday, July 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET using the popular online platform Zoom. Registration is free and open to Department of Defense ID cardholders only, including spouses and service members.

The USO is planning additional conversations in this series. Check their website for dates as they become available.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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