Pregnancy is an exciting time for moms-to-be, filled with maternity photo shoots, gender-reveal parties and guilt-free eating for two. But when the pandemic hit and the world shut down, it was hard for expectant women not to be consumed by the news. Here’s how three women found their serenity—in family time, reading, prayer and journaling.
TRIPLETS ON THE WAY
Doctors referred to Marshawn Evans Daniels’ pregnancy as “high risk” because she was 40 and carrying triplets, but the author, life coach and business mentor chose to use more positive language. Knowing that there’s life and death in the power of the tongue, Daniels referred to her situation as a “high potential, high yield, high reward” pregnancy. Bringing three baby girls into the world safely required a specific outlook. “Not just hopeful, not just excited, but a strong faith mindset was needed to deal with doctors’ reports, the news and the social unrest happening in the country,” Daniels says.
Some of her social media followers offered unsolicited advice and comments that pushed the seasoned entrepreneur to set boundaries on what she’d share with the public, so that their well-meaning projections didn’t seep into her subconscious. Little did they know that she’d nicknamed her cervix Superwoman and imagined the superhero holding her babies in place without issue. “And because I was doing so well, my doctor wanted me to go to 35 weeks, which for triplets is a long time,” Daniels says. Her faith-over-fear mindset worked: Daniels and her husband, psychotherapist Jack A. Daniels, welcomed three healthy girls into the world in April, at 34 weeks.
When everything shut down, Daniels surrendered to what was out of her control and looked upward . Since she was not supposed to exercise, praying with a community of moms and journaling became all the more important. This worked well, as she was also writing her new book, 100 Days of Believing Bigger: Devotional Journal—a consciousness that sustained her during pregnancy and after the birth of her babies. “Spiritual self-care has always been my oxygen,” says the proud #girlmom.
BLESSING NUMBER TWO
Kahlana Barfield Brown’s life as a fashion obsessive and beauty aficionado normally has her flying to L.A. one minute and Paris the next. Four years ago, pregnant with her daughter Dylan, Brown traveled non-stop until eight months into that pregnancy. But in February, while pregnant with baby Lynnox, she flew with her family from her native Seattle to New York after her grandmother’s funeral—and it was clear things were different. The airport smelled like bleach; hand sanitizer was used while processing identification. “That was the beginning of the pandemic—and the last flight I took,” Brown says. She worried about herself and about whether it was okay for Dylan to go to school. Dwayne Brown, Kahlana’s hubby, wasn’t about to take chances with his family. The Browns were on full lockdown in Brooklyn. He happily ran to the store for everything, including his wife’s ice cream or popsicles. In the beginning, she says, it was fun—“like a slumber party every night,” she recalls. “We did school work with Dylan, had our day together, and then it would be me and my husband. We caught up on everything. We watched three seasons of Ozark and Snowfall. Every night we had something to do—but that quickly ran out.”
The former InStyle editor-at-large was used to burning calories zipping around NYC—so before she went stir-crazy in the house, she and her husband began jogging and climbing stairs at a local park. “It gave me something to look forward to—because I was eating all the snacks,” Brown admits, laughing. “The workout made my body feel better. It made my joints feel better. It was a way to get fresh air every day, and it was something to do other than Zoom calls for work. It was my escape.”
The months of down time also allowed Brown to intensify her beauty regimen, pamper big-sister-to-be Dylan and enjoy “uninterrupted quality time” with her family. While memes circulated about how scary folks looked on Zoom meetings, Brown showed up camera-ready. This was not about doing the most; rather, it did wonders for her mood and created a sense of normalcy. And five months into lockdown, her baby girl, Lynnox, arrived safe and sound in August.
Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli and hubby Umut Hilmi Ozaydinli planned to enjoy five years of marriage before joining the parenthood club. And as if on cue, nine months before reaching that milestone, she became pregnant at the top of 2020. But then COVID-19 showed up to their party, and Brooke stopped traveling for her corporate Instagram gig. While laying low at home, the Naked Beauty podcast host whipped up homemade beauty concoctions—using brown sugar, her favorite oils and shea butter for good moisturizing measure.
In the summer, the former English major decided she was going to read more. Queenie and The Mothers were two of her choices. “I was like, ‘I’m going to read great books by amazing Black women, and put myself into their worlds, and not be overly consumed with the day-to-day reality around me,’” she says. “I’d gotten out of the habit of reading for pleasure.”
Waking up to balloons in her family’s Sag Harbor home on her 31st birthday was another treat. “It’s rare to be with your whole family on your birthday as you get older,” she notes. But because her family was quarantining together, everyone could be there this time. “They cooked me a special dinner, and it was more fun than going out to some fancy restaurant,” she recalls. In September, her family joyfully celebrated another birthday with the arrival of baby boy Maviand helped the couple celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.
This article originally appears in the November/December 2020 issue of ESSENCE