Healing Reflections: "Apart and Together" by Jamie Vue
Apart and Together
Story by: Jamie Vue | Eau Claire, WI
Countdown to Better Days
By October of 2020, I was five months pregnant, and Wisconsin had become the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. I received disheartening news from Mayo Clinic Health System about the no-visitor and guest policy around that time. Up until the halfway mark of my pregnancy, my partner, Jon, attended all my prenatal check-ups. We had experienced many of the magical firsts—the first ultrasound, the sound of a heartbeat, the flutter of movements on the monitor, and finding out the gender of our baby. However exciting those were, they were soon overshadowed by another first—my first prenatal checkup, alone.
At my next in-person appointment, Jon dropped me off at the hospital’s front doors and cautioned me to watch for icy patches. He assured me he would be waiting outside when I was done. I forced a smile and turned to the sight of caution tape sealing off the revolving doors.
I entered the building through the side doors, following the newly reconstructed entryway, which was sectioned into a queue line with rope, forming a walkway to the gatekeepers screening for Covid-19 symptoms. One of the workers waved me over, put a thermometer to my forehead, and asked me a series of symptom-related questions before allowing me through. As usual, I made my way toward the elevators and up to the second floor of the obstetrics and gynecology unit. Though a short walk off the elevators to the waiting room, it felt cumbersome. Each appointment could bring good or bad news. Before, I could lean on Jon in the event of something awful, but now I was sitting alone in the waiting room, staring out into the bleak midwinter.
Pregnancy under ordinary circumstances is challenging enough, and yet in anticipating some of the complications a pandemic might pose, we still went for it. Our decision wasn’t a hasty one, though. It didn’t feel like an irresponsible leap into the unknown. The conversation of starting a family had been a year in the making. When we finally sat down months ago to talk, our decision came down to one question: What would the future hold in a post-covid era? We weighed the pros and cons. And we saw better days ahead. So long as we were careful, that was enough for us.
Fifteen or so minutes passed as I was texting Jon when I was joined by another pregnant woman. She sat down in one of the seats, separating us by six feet. I made eye contact, smiling nervously through my mask. Shortly after, another pregnant woman found a seat across the room. By the look of their bumps, they were both further along. I imagined they felt like me, possibly even more scared at the thought of being without their support person on delivery day. And yet I took comfort in their company. I felt the pandemic’s weight, but I also realized something in that shared space. My fear was not mine alone. We were strangers, bonded by these unusual circumstances and ultimately by the love growing inside each of us. It is the gentlest kind of love that keeps us going, a countdown closer to better days.
Art by: Christine Evans | Chippewa Falls, WI
My name is Christine Evans. I’m currently based in Chippewa Falls WI, but am originally from London, England. I have been passionate about art of all kinds since a young age. I studied at West Harts Collage and the Arts Institute of Bournemouth. I learnt many skills and a broad knowledge of different art mediums. My main art form is digital, but I also enjoy acrylic work, graphic design and sculpting. I’m greatly inspired by Japanese illustration, pop culture and current events.
The biggest part of the story that inspired me was:
'We were strangers, bonded by these unusual circumstances and ultimately by the love growing inside each of us. It is the gentlest kind of love that keeps us going, a countdown closer to better days.'
I wanted to emphasize that even when faced with the pandemic, and to go through pregnancy alone without partners, family and friends. We did so, because of the love and strength we have for our children. The strength and courage and love of a mother is unmatched.
For more information about the Healing Reflections gallery or to get involved with the project, contact Sara Martinek.