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Strong Like a Mother 

click to enlarge Alison, recovered from swine flu and waiting for Theo, on February 2, 2010
  • Alison, recovered from swine flu and waiting for Theo, on February 2, 2010

When I was pregnant with my now-11-year-old son, we were in the midst of a global health crisis less widespread and deadly than the one we're in now — the H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, pandemic.

I remember, at six months pregnant, walking around the grounds of Shelburne Museum during its annual Haunted Happenings event with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. As we made our way from one building to the next, my daughter excitedly collecting Halloween candy, I began to feel like I was slogging through thick mud.

Wow, I thought. I guess this pregnancy is really taking a toll on my body.

By that evening, my symptoms had worsened, and I ended up driving myself to Urgent Care at the Fanny Allen Campus of the University of Vermont Medical Center, where they hooked me up to an IV to rehydrate me. My test results came back the next day: I had swine flu.

I can't remember exactly what the progression of my illness looked like, though I do know I had to return to Fanny Allen once more for a second IV drip. I also remember being particularly worried about how the virus would affect my pregnancy and the baby growing inside of me.

Luckily, I recovered and delivered a healthy baby boy in early February 2010. But that experience gives me just a little insight into what those who were pregnant or gave birth to babies in the past year might be feeling. Pregnancy and new motherhood brings out our vulnerability in the best of times. Layer that on top of a massive pandemic, and it stands to reason that those raw, vulnerable feelings would likely grow exponentially.

In this installment of Kids VT — our Mom & Baby Issue — we explore different aspects of motherhood. Cat Cutillo spotlights 91-year-old Theresa Tomasi, who has adopted 27 children since the early 1960s. Two of her daughters still live with her on a 50-acre property in Williston that's home to miniature horses, chickens, a pig and even a peacock.

Maria Munroe gives tips for how to maintain both comfort and style during pregnancy. And our very own marketing and events director, Corey Grenier, who's due in August with her first child, shares a humorous essay about navigating the intimidating world of baby gear.

As more people prepare to return to their workplaces post-vaccination, Keegan Albaugh contemplates the steps we can take to be allies to our coworkers who are expecting and new moms in "Pop Culture." And in "Use Your Words," Meredith Coeyman writes about how the experience of becoming a doula during the pandemic forced her to question her beliefs.

Mothering is not an easy job, and the COVID-19 pandemic — and the isolation and worry it's wrought — has made it even more complicated and difficult. It's my hope that this issue of Kids VT makes you feel like we're all in this together.

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Vermont Ballet Theater School

Vermont Ballet Theater School

Essex, VT

VBTS is the largest ballet school in Vermont, home of Vermont's Own Nutcracker and STORM Dance Co., with annual performances at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, two locations and 6 studios we offer the most professional and comprehensive dance training available in the country. Our professional staff is…(more)

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