Last week, I delivered a baby … in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Like many women expecting new life during this time, my emotions ranged from excitement to anxiety during pregnancy. And similar to other mothers-to-be, nothing is the way I thought it would be.

I gave birth to my third son last Monday. I love surprises—so much so that I asked my husband to plan a “surprise C-section” for our second child (he picked a date, scheduled the surgery, and didn’t tell me until the morning of). I know … weird, right? With this pregnancy, my usual sense of joy about the unknown teetered toward feelings of fear and uncertainty because of COVID-19. I had to face the hard reality that this season would be very different, where all of our comforts, plans, and habits are reconsidered.

One month ago, some hospitals in the nation were not allowing fathers to join for deliveries. During the final month of pregnancy, I worried every day that this policy could change at any moment. Thankfully, my hospital allowed my husband in the delivery room.

When I heard stories of Texas hospitals sending mothers home just 24 hours after delivery, I was concerned about being sent home too soon. I worried—and I still worry—about over-taxed doctors and nurses. I worried that my son would emerge into an environment of cold sterility instead of calm comfort. My medically vulnerable in-laws have not met my newborn son, and I’m unsure when they’ll be able to.

Then there is the uncertainty of how to protect this little life in the weeks ahead. In my day job, I work as the Texas State Director for Human Coalition Action, a pro-life organization that supports pregnant women in crisis. Thousands of women have contacted us since the coronavirus pandemic began, wanting to keep their babies but scared of the repercussions. Some have lost their jobs, others have no support system, and many are worried their babies could be harmed by the virus. To these women, I say: You are strong enough to carry a pregnancy through this crisis. And the pro-life community is here to support you every step of the way.

My family is fortunate that my husband and I both still have our jobs and that we are able to keep our other two sons home from preschool with us. But many, many expectant mothers don’t have the luxury to stay at home, to take full precautions, or to share the work of childcare with a significant other. My own challenges pale in comparison to what others are experiencing. Thousands of pregnant women don’t know where their upcoming meals will come from. They don’t have healthcare. They have lost their jobs. And they are afraid.

I have dedicated my life and my work to advocating for these women. I ask our society to show them compassionate kindness in whatever way we can, even as we focus inward on our own situations and our own families.

To the women carrying a child right now, and to those women who just found out they are pregnant, I need you to know: You aren’t alone. There are support systems waiting to help you, not just during this pregnancy but for years afterward. You are uniquely capable of creating and sustaining life, and that is a good thing.

You are stronger than you think. You don’t have to choose between your child and your future and your health. There is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted from mother to the baby, and the research shows that pregnant women infected with the virus do not have a higher incidence of compromised health or unhealthy babies.

You will get through these challenges, and you can hold your sweet, healthy baby at the end of it. That baby will be filled with love for you, and you will love that baby, and nothing else will matter. God has brought that child to you in His perfect sovereignty and timing.

Over the past few months, the beauty of our human resilience has come to light. I see this resilience every day in the women who make the decision, in spite of all their fears about the future, to cherish the life inside of them. The women who bring new life into this world despite the most harrowing obstacles are heroes, and we should celebrate them.

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Chelsey Youman

Chelsey Youman is Texas State Director and National Legislative Advisor for Human Coalition Action, and lives in the Dallas area.