Parents of infants face new kinds of firsts

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The first year of any child’s life inevitably brings firsts.

But for parents whose babies are growing up in the midst of a global pandemic, some firsts have yet to happen, while others are entirely new experiences.

Michelle Burris’ fifth child was born in May at Carle in Urbana. Unlike her previous four children’s births, Burris found herself going through labor without some of the people she’d expected to be at her side as in the past.

“My doctor couldn’t be there because she was also pregnant,” Burris said. “So, she couldn’t be there in the hospital for my delivery, so that was extremely difficult as well to have a whole new face because she’s delivered all my babies. It’s just the unknown of everything.”

Burris says her son spent a week in the NICU, and it was especially scary because she and her husband couldn’t be with him together.

And many parents are wondering what happens for babies who are 6-9 months old and haven’t had the same kind of socialization at play as other children might. It’s a question WCIA 3’s Maggie Hockenberry thinks about often with regards to her 7-month-old son, Gibson.

“As you were pitching this idea, Jen, I thought, ‘this is my life,” Hockenberry says. “This is what I’m dealing with, what my mom friends talk about. This is 2020.”

She doesn’t know when her son will experience some typical firsts like a trip to the zoo or a mommy and me class.

“When Gibson was first born, my mom brought down this scrapbook filled with pictures of my first,” she says. “And all of those had happened within the first month or two and that was 27 years ago,” but I feel like some of those very first experiences, I’m still excited to do with my son.”

She wonders how this will all shape his first year.

“Babies know so little when they’re born and they’re supposed to continue to grow and develop,” Hockenberry says. “He continues to grow and develop, there’s no concern about that, but some of that socialization is not in play right now.”

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