Raising a Newborn Amid COVID-19

By: Chez Oxendine

Danny McBee, Hannah McBee, and their 16-month-old daughter.

Life moved quickly for Tulsa resident and Cherokee citizen Danny McBee: a new marriage, a career, a child all came one after the other. The trajectory looked to carry him and his burgeoning family right into a home of their own – then a pandemic ripped across the United States, and brought those plans to a halt.

“The volatile situation has made it much harder to justify getting a mortgage and investing as opposed to keeping that money in savings,” McBee said. “My job wasn't as affected by COVID but we did have to cut hours for a while, and the volatile situation with the economy really set us back on being able to buy a house/investment without knowing there's a huge risk we can't pay for it if things get worse.”

Now, McBee works from home as his family’s sole breadwinner, raising a child alongside his wife Hannah in a world with a new normal.

“I'm working from home and will be for the rest of the year. The upside is I get to see my daughter most of the day, but the downside is you get really socially isolated easily,” McBee said. “I see people around my struggling with the isolation and the resulting mental health struggles it causes really frequently.”

The pandemic has shut down much of the visitation between McBee’s close friends and family, he said.

“No one close to me is immunocompromised, but my mother and several other family members have COPD, so we have to be extremely careful. We don't go out as much, and had to cancel a lot of visit/events (my daughter's first birthday party for example,) and we haven't gotten to see family or friends nearly as much,” McBee said. “A few high risk family members have had COVID scares and isolated, but thankfully no one has had any health issues from it, knock on wood.”

McBee’s daughter is 16 months old now. She was less than a year old when COVID-19 first hit United States soil, McBee said.

“It's nerve racking to have a small child during a pandemic, and you really just do your best to protect them,” he said. “For me, I disinfected literally everything we touched before it could come in the house, and took extreme measures to keep us safe and away from potentially sick people. The thought of your small child getting sick leaves you borderline panicking.”

Constant vigilance takes its own toll, too, McBee said.

“You deal with the affects of living on red alert for potential danger in that you're stressed about it constantly, and you're keeping your family from really going out, which makes everyone restless and stir crazy,” McBee said. “You're also worried you could be a victim of the bad economic situation right now too, which makes you worry about finances a lot as well.”

Still, McBee hasn’t suffered financially at least – which is more than he can say for some of his loved ones, he said.

“A lot of my friends and family work in the oil and natural gas industry and the massive waves of layoffs left them unemployed,” McBee said. “We were super fortunate in that my company wasn't as affected by COVID as most others, so my impact hasn't been as big as most of us. If it weren't for COVID we'd already be set up with investments and a much better financial situation though.”

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