KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
May 8, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
This year, Mother’s Day will look very different. With masks and social distancing, Katy, like the rest of the world, feels the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, life still goes on, and local moms must navigate this altered normal with new babies.
Haley Callarman loves on her newborn, Heather during this uncertain time.
Prayers Answered, Plans Changed
Tamara and Patrick Heredia had prayed for a baby and were thrilled last year to learn that they were expecting not one, but three babies! Their road to parenthood hasn’t been easy as they lost one of the triplets, Robyn, on October 20. Then last December 18, Marcel and Audrey were born.
“The plan was to be able to go to swim class, parks, Gymboree and be social but then that stopped with this pandemic,” says Tamara.
The Heredia family still has not put their daughter Robyn to rest.
“We wanted all of our babies to be part of her service,” explains Tamara. “Marcel and Audrey were in me with her and I wanted them to be with us when she was put to rest. We wanted to wait until they had those two-month vaccines before getting them around crowds so we put the ceremony off. Now we can’t have it safely with the coronavirus.”
Audrey and Marcel Heredia with their Angel Robyn. Photo credit: Mornings With Em.
“They also haven’t been able to meet extended family,” says Tamara.
The Carroll family previously delivered their son Grant stillborn, so expecting their daughter had come with much excitement and fear. Then the coronavirus came and limited loved ones who could meet her.
April Carroll delivered Eleanor on March 17.
Ellie Carroll. Photo credit: Melissa Brewer/Snapped With Love Photography
“We decided that our kids, my mom, my teenage sister and my friend/our photographer would be allowed in the room for the birth,” says April. The Carrolls have Bryant (14,) and Lincoln (8.)
All of their plans changed due to the pandemic. Only April’s husband Frank was allowed in the room during the delivery.
"Even though our birth experience was very different than I planned or expected, it did allow for a very peaceful environment, where I could put 100% of my focus on birthing," says Carroll.
Not being able to introduce Ellie to family and friends has been torture for the Carroll family.
“I think after you lose a baby, everyone looks forward to your “Rainbow” even more,” says Carroll. “The people who live in my house aren’t the only ones who love Ellie. There are so many people who have been looking forward to her arrival and want so badly to hold her and kiss her.”
Some Things are Easier
Some families with new babies are finding this new normal easier than expected.
“In some ways it is easier,” says Haley Callarman who had a little girl, Heather, on April 24. “Since we aren't going anywhere, we don't have to worry about having the baby out in public, or her having to be a tag-along to everyone else's activities.” The Callarmans have three boys; Keith (6), Landon (3), and Blake (2).
With so many working from home, some husbands are able to help more with caring for new babies. Older children who would have been in school are also able to enjoy these early moments with their growing families.
“It is always a challenge recovering from delivery and caring for a newborn at the same time,” explains Callarman. “It has been a blessing having my husband around, especially since he was already working from home due to social distancing restrictions.”
“I would say it’s easier, for the most part, because my other kids are old enough to help and they are pretty self-sufficient,” says Carroll. “We’ve absolutely loved being blessed by spending her first few months of life all together every day!”
Having a new baby around doesn’t mean routines stop for older children even when that routine looks different.
“I was going to let the older kids miss a few days of school when Ellie got home from the hospital,” says Carroll. “They were already home, so that worked out well.”
Just imagine, even for a second, being quarantined with four children under six years of age. However, not having to help young children with virtual school can ease some significant stress.
“Since two of my kids aren't in school yet,” says Callarman. “We haven't had to worry too much about homeschooling. And since we are all at home, our schedule hasn't been as crazy. So far, the baby has slipped right into our lives without too much disruption.”
The Callarman children: Keith, Landon, Blake, and Heather.
“The school schedule is the hardest part. My oldest is in junior high so I don’t have to help him much,” says Carroll. “But my middle child is in 2nd grade and he’s dyslexic, so he requires a lot of help. When the baby is cooperating, I can sit and help as much as he needs, but some days she is so needy and it’s hard to give him the attention he requires for some assignments.”
“My husband is home too, and he is amazing,” says Carroll. “He takes the baby if I want to sleep longer than she does, and he has done all the grocery shopping and most of the cooking. He keeps her when I take a shower and if he’s busy, big brothers are very helpful too.”
Finding Ways for Self-Care
Carroll says her husband’s support keeps the stress under control in their home.
“If Frank can see that I’m overwhelmed, he’ll suggest a family walk after dinner- getting outside almost always helps everyone’s mood,” says Carroll. “Ellie is a really laid-back baby most of the time, so I’m still able to do what I would typically like to do for myself, it’s just that sometimes I’m wearing her in a sling while I do it.”
Patrick Heredia works in construction so he has not been able to work from home like so many.
“I’ve found ways to help the community while giving myself a release,” says Tamara Heredia.
As a seamstress, she has made countless masks for people while continuing to adjust to life as a new mom to twins.
Finding Time for Herself
“I get to have a Thursday night bubble bath complete with a glass of wine and Netflix,” says Tamara Heredia. “Patrick takes care of the babies then and it’s everything!”
Tamara is also finding virtual ways to stay connected.
“Every other Friday I play Dungeons and Dragons with a group of ladies,” says Tamara Heredia. “Yes, we meet virtually but it’s a time to interact with adults and enjoy something I love, that I look forward to.”
Tackling Pandemic Hurdles
Living through a global pandemic with a newborn certainly brings its hurdles to jump.
“The disruption of our daily routine and schedule has been our biggest challenge,” says Callarman. “Since the boys were finally getting old enough to be involved in their own activities, every day looked a little bit different. Now, with everything cancelled and everyone at home full time, everyday looks the same.”
“Not being able to go grocery shopping is such a challenge,” says Tamara Heredia. Yes, Katy families can order groceries and do curbside pick-up, but as supplies vary, this is getting harder to do and ensure that you get what’s on your list.”
“I wish we could go out and meet Patrick for lunch or be able to leave the house and socialize,” says Tamara Heredia.
“The most inconvenient thing is having to be more distant from family than we’d like,” says Carroll. “Most of our family and friends haven’t been able to meet the baby yet, so that’s tough. It’s also a bummer not to be able to hop in the car and go pick something up any time I want.”
What New Moms Miss the Most
“I miss socialization and community!” says Callarman. “I didn't realize how important going to work, church, or even the park and seeing other moms was to me.”
Callarman is the Children’s Choir Director at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church. “I can’t wait to get back into it,” she says.
So many Katy families are craving socialization with family and friends and being a new mom can make this craving even worse. Just the ability to get to socialize and let others meet their newest Katy resident is big.
“I miss having friends over every weekend for dinner,” says Carroll.
The Blessing of Family Togetherness
No one knows how long this virus with affect the world and the Katy community. However, blessings are found through even this challenge time and many new moms give thanks.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend this quality time with the babies,” says Tamara Heredia. “Since I’m home with them and we can’t really go anywhere we don’t have any distractions and I can really focus on their development.”
“I’m so thankful that we’ve had all this time together as a family, to adjust to life with a new family member and develop that bond,” says Carroll. “My husband is an attorney, so he works long hours. Having him be able to be home with us has been amazing.”
Many Katy moms can relate to the joy of slowing down from the usual hustle and bustle of busy lives.
“In some ways, it has forced us to slow down and find entertainment that we can all have fun with,” says Callarman. “I find myself trying to make as many fun and positive memories as possible.”
When Life Returns to “Normal”
“I don’t want my husband to have to go back to the office and I’m going to miss my boys like crazy when school goes back onto campus,” says Callarman.
“Having all this extra help has been a blessing when adjusting to having a new baby at home,” says Carroll. “It’s going to be torture when Frank goes back to the office.”
Embrace the Time
Quarantine life has redefined families’ priorities and schedules.
“Enjoy every moment! These quiet moments are just for you,” says Carroll. “Pray for Baby, sing to Baby, look Baby in the eyes and memorize every little detail. Baby wants to cuddle? You have the time, so stop for a minute and do it. Other things can wait, but your baby will only be small for a little while.”
“No matter what is happening in the world, life still goes on,” says Callarman. “Take advantage and enjoy the time at home with your baby before the chaos of normal life returns.”
The old ways are slowing creeping back into our world. Today, Friday May 8, hair salons are able to reopen with strict guidelines. Restaurants started welcoming dine-in guests (also with guidelines) last week. Life will resume and people will return to work and schools will reopen.
For now, Katy moms celebrate new life by loving on their babies and knowing that while they may be stuck at home, they are not alone.
“I’ve found it important to connect with other moms,” says Tamara Heredia. “I had a strong group I was connected with when I was expecting. We’ve now all had our babies and it’s important to have people going through the same experience. It helps me not feel so isolated even when in quarantine.”
“The monotony of being stuck inside is really starting to wear on us,” says Callarman. “Even though our life was crazy and busy, I can't wait to get back to it. I can't wait for the day when we can finally all be out together again.”
“This is not how I planned my first Mother’s Day,” says Tamara Heredia. “But I know that I am blessed.”