Jen Guyuron wanted to find a special way to document her daughter’s first year while showing other pandemic moms they’re not alone.
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — The excitement of having a new baby and sharing the joy with the people you love is something all parents look forward to. But if you’ve had a baby within the past year, you know that experience has looked a little different.
That’s true for Northeast Ohio mom Jen Guyuyron — who hasn’t had the typical new-mom experience she imagined. Her daughter, Gigi, turns 1 next week. Her whole first year of life has been spent in a global pandemic.
“My husband and I joke that the first place that I want to go after the pandemic is Heinen’s,” Guyuron said with a laugh. “I want to take my daughter and stroll her [in] the cart and run into people and have a social hour. I don’t even want groceries, I just want the experience.”
Gigi was born on March 16, 2020, as Ohio adjusted to the new stay-at-home order.
“People weren’t leaving their house, so people weren’t actually meeting my daughter,” she said. “So people started coming to our window right over here to meet her.”
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Guyuyron says that experience is the inspiration behind her brand new children’s book The Baby in the Window.
“I wrote this book because I am a pandemic mom,” Guyuron said. “I had a baby during this time, and I know what it’s like to have her not be able to meet anyone.”
RELATED: One year later: How life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic
The book references all those popular pandemic activities like distanced dinners, baking bread and plenty of hand sanitizer, too. There’s even a place to track first-year memories.
“It was really a love letter to my daughter so that she would have something to reference as she gets older to know what we were living through during this crazy time,” Guyuron said.
A crazy time 3News’ January Keaton can relate to as well. Her daughter Dixie was born in July of last year.
“I didn’t want to take her anywhere,” Keaton told Guyuron. “I didn’t do anything but walk the trails outside of my house in her first, like, three or four months of life because I didn’t want anyone around her.”
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“Absolutely,” Guyuron replied. “I really wrote this book because I wanted to let other parents, you know, who were experiencing similar situations and experiences know that they’re not alone during this time.”
Despite the challenges of pandemic parenthood, Guyuron and Keaton agree they wouldn’t change a thing about the first year with their girls.
“I thought this would be a fun way to kind of show what we went through, but also the happiness that she brought us every day, which is what ultimately has gotten me through this thus far,” Guyuron said.
“Yeah, and having a new baby during such a strange time in history, it makes you appreciate having a new baby I think just a little bit more,” Keaton added.