View this post on Instagram
Like many humans on the planet, these last two years have been stressful and isolating, but they also taught me a lot about myself.
I was recently in a barre class when the instructor, a cheery ex-ballerina mom-of-three pointed out that “two years ago, ladies, we were setting up for lockdown.” She scanned the room, searching for something to add to her memory.
“Doris, you were there,” she said, pointing to a 65-year-old, petite woman in bright, pink yoga pants.
She smiled. “Yes. I remember I had my Lysol wipes, and I was rubbing the crap out of the three-pound dumbbells!”
We all laughed.
I realize now that this “lockdown” moment will be one of those life moments—like remembering where you were when Princess Diana passed or the horrors of 9/11, but it was more than that because it was affecting every one of us.
For me, I felt trapped.
While I lived in a luxurious high-rise on the Hudson River with my husband and then four-year-old daughter, we had no balcony, and the windows only opened an inch for safety reasons. This was fine for our day-to-day. After all, a quick elevator ride and we could be out walking on the waterfront or at the playground, but for a lockdown…not so much.
Our building had thousands of people, and I was afraid to go inside the elevator. I sent my brave husband out to the local grocery store to stock up. He came back with a cart piled high with frozen pizza, boxes of pasta, and canned beans.
I am a holistic health coach and have been deemed “The Queen of Kale” by my clients. And there I was, literally up to my eyeballs in packaged food! At the same time, I was deeply grateful for my husband and his comfort food haul.
I became resourceful—thinking outside the box. For example, did you know that “Staples” sells food? When we couldn’t get fresh fruit anywhere, I was able to secure a large box of Florida citrus from there. I also managed to get some kale from Baldor, a northeast restaurant food distributor that deals with local farms. I got a few moms on a group text, and together, we ordered five pounds of yeast, 20 pounds of flour, and 17 bunches of organic kale!
My inner girl scout leapt out of me. When there was no hand sanitizer or disinfectant, I quickly made my own with thyme oil and rubbing alcohol.
I learned a lot about who I am and what I really need. Most importantly I saw that we can make things happen if we think differently.
We got into a rhythm. My husband John is a life and business coach. He was on the phone nine hours a day, helping his clients rethink next steps. One of his clients—a craft brewing company—had a tasting room, and their entire business was in-person beer tastings. John brainstormed with the owners and figured out that people will be home with their kids, and they will want to drink beer.
He was right. After setting up pickup spots online, they ended up making more money that year than in the five previous years. In addition, they also started global distribution which never would have happened had it not been for the lockdown.
I made a makeshift office for him in our daughter’s room with a fold-up table—he was coaching multi-million-dollar clients inches away from our daughter’s crib!
There was no virtual school for our girl who was in pre-K4. Instead, we watched a ton of TV, mostly PBS. I got the idea to do family fitness classes on YouTube with her, and we had a blast until the doorman called and told me to “stop jumping around—your downstairs neighbor is working from home, and it’s bothering her.”
And then, there was the Challah bread-making. I was losing my mind and my waistline! Trying to keep the little princess quiet so daddy could work and neighbors wouldn’t complain was nearly impossible, but still somehow, we managed. We got close and truly enjoyed being “cooped up” as a family. Nightly dance parties and homemade games saved us.
I noticed during this time that I was getting a lot of emails from women I had never met from all over the globe.
They were responding to a 2016 video that I posted on YouTube (entitled “I had a baby at 43”) about my personal fertility story on how we had a baby when four of NY Magazine’s “Top Fertility Doctors” told me I would “never have a baby with my own egg.”
After spending nearly 30K on IVF that didn’t work, I conceived through more natural means with my own egg and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
It seemed that the lockdown was causing more women to reevaluate what was important to them and figure out how to have the baby they had always dreamed to have.
Many women and couples turned to the Internet for information. I had been working on my book, Poppin’ Past Forty, the path to midlife fertility and saw quickly just how much it was needed.
In-between loads of laundry, homeschooling, and baking, I finished my book and coached women and couples virtually. As the lockdown continued, I received texts from total strangers on WhatsApp sharing that seeing my video gave them the strength to keep going and to push their doctors to do more tests. One sweet woman texted me baby pictures from Costa Rica with a simple message in broken English: “Saw the video, we make baby after no baby five years.”
My heart felt so full.
Finally, we moved to the suburbs of New Jersey and got a car. Our entire life changed after that. John had a dedicated office, and he finally went back to school. We were able to go for walks in the woods nearly every day.
At school, our daughter was masked up for six hours a day, which was utterly heartbreaking. I cried the day I took her to school after the mask mandate was lifted—for almost two years I had never seen these children’s faces. They were all so beautiful, every single one glorious and smiling so bright, happy, and joyous, and surprisingly well-adjusted.
I have a lot more gratitude for the simple little things, like being able to open my door and step outside! We have a lot of wildlife here, and when I see the deer, squirrels, and chipmunks, I say a small thank you to The Creator for getting me through this crazy time.
This Eleanor Roosevelt quote is true: