Photography by Julia Newman.

How it started:

Chelsea Smith wasn’t particularly concerned when Dallas shut down about three weeks before her baby shower, scheduled for early April. “Everyone was like, ‘It’s fine. We’ll still get together,’” she says. “But that didn’t happen.” They met virtually instead, and a few friends celebrated the mom-to-be with a drive-by shower. “That was super fun because people made me feel special,” Smith says. The Casa Loma neighbor was in the third trimester of pregnancy with her first child when the pandemic hit. Hospital rules prohibited her husband from attending her appointments, and the birth classes the couple planned on attending were canceled. In lieu of taking maternity pictures, the Smiths opted for a porch portrait to document the special time in their lives

How it’s going:

Landry was born May 28 via cesarean section. “I say [I had a C-section] because Landry was sad her dad couldn’t see her in the appointments,” Smith says. Smith’s parents met Landry when the couple brought her home from the hospital, but they didn’t have visitors for the next few months. Neighbors made them meals and dropped them off on the front porch. “Looking back, it seems extreme, but it was just the not knowing,” Smith says. A handful of friends have seen Landry at a distance with masks on, but most people haven’t held her. Smith, who works in sales at long-term care facilities in Texas, is no longer traveling for work. She is doing her job primarily on Zoom. “Being a mom and working full time has its challenging moments, but hearing a baby cry in the background is kind of the norm nowadays,” she says. Her husband, who works in medical device sales, had an extended leave when hospitals halted elective surgeries but is back to work, often wearing a full cleanroom suit. “COVID has been very real because we are in the health care industry,” Smith says. “It’s interesting how quickly you adjust to narrowing your world, quickly realizing what you do and don’t need. We eat meals at home. Going to Target or the grocery store is now a luxury. Our dogs need a ton of exercise, so we go on multiple walks a day. The dogs have been winning out of this whole thing. Landry’s crawling now, and I think they’re excited that she’s a new friend.”

On the bright side:

“To a certain degree, COVID has been a blessing because we had time to adjust,” Smith says. “There was no fear of missing out because no one is doing anything.”

The future:

“The hardest part has been overthinking everything instead of just grabbing the keys and leaving,” Smith says. “Do I have a mask and hand sanitizer? How many people are going to be there? I miss happy hour, getting my nails done. I’d love to take Landry to a music class, the library or a play group.”


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