NEW YORK — Usually when someone has a baby, it’s a joyous and family-filled event. Unfortunately, 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic changed all of that. Despite losing many of those shared experiences, three-quarters of new and expectant parents say their baby is their reason for optimism after a difficult year.
A OnePoll study asked 2,000 expecting and recent parents about how welcoming a baby during the pandemic has made them more optimistic about the future and what lies ahead. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) said even though 2020 was stressful, welcoming a new baby is giving their family hope.
Commissioned by Carter’s, the survey finds 73 percent of new parents said having their new baby completely changed their outlook on life. Seven in 10 people also agreed this new generation of children born during COVID-19 should be associated with optimism and hope rather than stress caused by the virus.
Pregnancy in the COVID era is far from easy
All the optimism isn’t to say parents were completely stress free in 2020. In fact, 53 percent said the most stressful part of their pregnancies was the added stress placed on doctor’s appointments. Actually going to the hospital for delivery followed as a close second (52%).
Another 35 percent of respondents shared maintaining their social distance when sharing their pregnancy news with loved ones was the hardest thing they experienced during this time. The top way respondents shared their good news was via social media (45%), followed by safely telling people in-person (44%).
“Welcoming a new baby is a life-changing experience, and like many other milestone moments this year, it has been markedly more challenging due to the pandemic,” says Jeff Jenkins, Carter’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, in a statement. “While new parents are facing many unknowns, we’ve found they are also more optimistic and hopeful for what is ahead. We are so inspired by the personal journeys to parenthood that families are embarking on – and that is why we are declaring this new class of babies Generation Optimism.”
Is COVID a blessing for family bonding?
Having a baby during the pandemic may have actually been a blessing in disguise for respondents in the long term. More than four in five parents (82%) said quarantine created a special opportunity for them to spend more time with their baby and experience milestones they might have missed otherwise.
The top thing respondents looked forward to when having their bundle of joy was seeing their smile (45%), closely followed by holding them (44%). Four in 10 respondents also shared they looked forward to seeing the joy a baby brings to their entire family (41%) as well as their child’s laughter (42%). In fact, 79 percent of respondents said hearing that giggle can instantly make their day better. Some other baby bests included new baby smell (74%), snuggling with a new baby (84%), and watching them sleep (86%).
“Carter’s is with parents from the start, and although the journey looks different right now, parents of this new generation of babies are finding unique ways to bond with each other,” Jenkins adds. “From baby showers on zoom to embracing online communities of fellow new parents, the optimism demonstrated by ‘pandemic-era’ parents is truly inspirational.”