Ellen Lathrop on becoming a pandemic parent

Tray Ling

Ellen Lathrop didn’t think she’d have her first child during a global pandemic, but that’s what happened. “You have to learn to be adaptable … that’s just part of being a parent, is learning to deal with unforeseen circumstances.” She gave birth to her first child, George William “Billy” Lathrop […]

Ellen Lathrop didn’t think she’d have her first child during a global pandemic, but that’s what happened.

“You have to learn to be adaptable … that’s just part of being a parent, is learning to deal with unforeseen circumstances.”

She gave birth to her first child, George William “Billy” Lathrop IV, on June 8, 2020. At a time when lives all around the world were changing dramatically, hers changed forever, too. One of the hardest parts of having a child during the pandemic is the isolation she’s felt.

“It’s been very isolating,” she said. “Just not being able to see your family and friends. Parenthood – and especially motherhood – is already something that’s very isolating. … It’s physically and emotionally draining.”

Typically when someone has a baby, they have family who can help carry the load, but Ellen said she and her husband, Matt, didn’t have that in the way they were expecting. Family members and friends brought food and gifts, but weren’t able to see, hold, or help with baby.

“We lost a lot of our support network, and that’s not something we were anticipating,” she said.

Parenthood during the pandemic, she said, has been like taking the normal ups and downs, twists and turns of raising a child and “putting it on Level 10 hard mode.”

“I feel sad. I don’t consider myself a sad person, but I feel lonely,” she said. “It’s hard to shake the feeling that I’ve missed out on this really important part of my life, and I’ll never get that back. It’s a feeling of loss, as well.”

But there have been good moments. Billy himself has been a blessing, and the pandemic has allowed Matt to work from home, where he’s been able to spend more time than usual with Billy.

And while Ellen doesn’t see things getting drastically better any time soon, she hasn’t given up hope.

“It’s not complete and utter sadness,” she said. “I see happier days on the horizon.”

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