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#TheMoment: One New Yorker Realized Her First Child Would Be Born During A Pandemic

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This week marks a year since the U.S. went into lockdown because of the coronavirus, and NPR asked listeners to share the moment they realized life would change.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Thousands of you responded, and today we are continuing to share some of the stories. For Candace White of New York City, the story of the pandemic is the story of her first pregnancy.

CANDACE WHITE: They're inseparable. They happened at the same time. So this moment in history will always kind of cloud this very personal moment in my life.

KELLY: Candace says she was happy she could hunker down at home but also sad about the experiences she missed out on.

WHITE: You know, like getting someone to stand up for me and give me their seat on the subway - that didn't happen. You know, having people at work be able to see my pregnancy and ask me questions about it and, you know, get some of that fun attention that new moms like to get - that didn't happen. My baby shower was virtual.

SHAPIRO: Candace also felt afraid. This was early on in the pandemic, and New York City was hit really hard.

WHITE: And that was scary 'cause no one knew how pregnant women were affected. No one knew if we were more at risk, less at risk. Were babies at risk? No one really knew anything at that point. So that was always just kind of hanging over my head, too.

KELLY: Her son was born in September, and even giving birth was shaped by the pandemic.

WHITE: I gave birth in a mask. The first time my baby ever saw me, I was wearing a mask. All the pictures, you know, and videos from that moment, everyone in the room has masks on. No one could visit us at the hospital.

SHAPIRO: Candace's parents were able to quarantine and help her and her husband care for the baby, but her husband's family still hasn't met their grandson. And she couldn't see friends or do mommy-and-me classes. She wasn't able to build the support network that can be so crucial for new mothers.

WHITE: So, like, maternity leave was really lonely. I couldn't even go outside. You know, I was too scared to even go outside with him, not just because it was cold but because of the virus. And no one really - we still don't know, you know, how it affects especially babies. So, yeah, it's been lonely.

KELLY: Through it all, though, Candace says there is one thing that has kept her and her husband going.

WHITE: Welcoming my son was, like, the bright spot of 2020 for us. Like, in such a dark, terrible year, that was the thing that got us through the year because we, like a lot of other people, lost so much to the virus. But he is - he's the blessing.

KELLY: Candace White of New York City, remembering the moment things changed for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF RHYE SONG, "ONE OF THOSE SUMMER DAYS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.